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Inaugural Industry Achievement Award Recipient Announced

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Recognizing Excellence: Celebrating the Recipient of the IEEE Photonics Society Industry Achievement Award

The IEEE Photonics Society, professional home for an international network of scientists and engineers who represent the laser, optoelectronics and photonics community, is proud to announce the recipient of their inaugural Industry Achievement Award. This prestigious recognition aims to honor entrepreneurial leaders in the photonics industry for their innovation, leadership, and sustained success in commercializing new systems, devices, applications and markets. 

Dr. Simon Poole, AO, Co-Founder of Cylite and Director of The Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF), has been chosen as the 2023 recipient, “For outstanding contributions to the translation of photonic ideas into successful commercial products and demonstration of entrepreneurial leadership in introducing innovative solutions to the market.”

“I am incredibly honored to be the inaugural recipient of the IEEE Photonics Society Industry Achievement Award,” stated Dr. Simon Poole, AO, when informed of the achievement. “Turning ideas into commercially-successful products requires hard work, intellectual brilliance, and commitment from multidisciplinary teams of people over many years. I would therefore like to dedicate this award to everyone who has been a part of this fantastic journey.”

Poole (AO, FAA, FTSE, FIEAust, FIEEE) is an engineer, scientist, and entrepreneur with 40 years experience in Photonics research, academia, and industry. His contributions to the field also span across the commercialisation of advanced technology on an international scale. Poole has been involved in start-ups the majority of this career, and is renowned both for his contributions to the technological advancement of photonics as well as the companies he has founded.

He was a member of the team that invented the Erbium-Doped Fibre Amplifier (EDFA) at the University of Southampton, UK, in 1987. Poole then moved to Australia in 1988 founding the Optical Fibre Technology Centre at the University of Sydney and, subsequently, the Australian Photonics Cooperative Research Centre. These achievements later garnered his elevation to IEEE Fellow, in 2001.  

Since leaving academia in 1995, he has founded a number of successful Photonics manufacturing companies (Indx, JDSUniphase Australia, Engana, Finisar Australia, and, currently, Cylite Pty Ltd), which have, between them, generated over $1B in export revenues and employed over 1,000 people in Australia.

Poole earned his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), from the University of Southampton, for the Fabrication and Characterisation of Specialty Optical Fibres (1987). 

He has received many awards for his work in commercializing Photonics in Australia, including the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation (2018), Charles Todd Medal (2016), ATSE Clunies Ross Award (2013), NSW Entrepreneur of the Year (2011), and University of Sydney Innovation Heroes Award (2010). In 2018, Poole was made an Officer in The Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to science in the field of photonics research and development, as well as the telecommunications industry.

“The IEEE Photonics Society is thrilled to be recognizing Dr. Simon Poole as the inaugural recipient of the Society’s new Industry Achievement Award. Simon’s many achievements in photonics technology innovation, successful commercialization and entrepreneurship over a multi-decade career make him truly deserving of this honor,” shared Dr. Dalma Novak, VP of Engineering at Octane Wireless and Past Chair of the IEEE Photonics Society’s Industry Engagement Committee. “He is also an inspiring role model and advocate for younger members of our community, who may be interested in commercializing their research.”

Poole will receive public recognition for this award during the IEEE Photonics Conference, 12-16 November 2023 in Orlando, Florida, USA.  

To know more about this award, click here.