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Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics


CAPE was established on 1 October 2004, as a way in which the University of Cambridge could address global issues involving open innovation, in partnership with companies of international importance. Founded upon the University’s world-leading facilities and expertise in electronics and photonics, CAPE is housed within the University’s Electrical Engineering Division although its activities involve many academic researchers beyond Cambridge University Engineering Department.

Operating under the original CAPE Strategic Partnership Agreement (CPA), it formed a new model of joint university-industry research that was leading edge, vertically integrated and commercially relevant. Through joint governance and joint sponsored research, the CAPE Partnership has developed a research portfolio at the cutting edge of contemporary technology. Strategic placement of the CAPE Partners in the supply chain creates relationships without conflict of interest.

CAPE started its second phase on 1 April 2011 with a new CAPE Partnership Agreement, endorsed by ALPS Electric Co. Limited, Disney Research, Dow Corning Corporation and Jaguar Land Rover. Beijing Aerospace Times Optical-Electronic Co. Technology Ltd. (ATOE) joined the CAPE Partnership on 1 October 2013, following internal re-organisation, this partner was renamed the Beijing Institute of Aerospace Control Devices trading as BIACD. CRRC Zhuzhou Institute joined CAPE in October 2015 and Huawei Technologies Ltd became a CAPE Partner in April 2017. In April 2021, we welcomed GSK Consumer Healthcare as our newest CAPE Partner. As well as the CAPE Partners, Carl Zeiss Microscopy Ltd was a CAPE Associate in the field of electronic imaging.

The CAPE research portfolio during the first CAPE phase amounted to £7.5 million, with a further £14.1 million invested during the second phase. CAPE was also instrumental in the University being able to attract further funding of over £14 million from other sponsors and industry partners, which together with the initial £12 million support from the University for building infrastructure gives an overall investment of £47.6 million.

CAPE and our CPA are constantly evolving to adapt to internal and external environmental needs, with the aim of enhancing academic research and creating benefit for business. There are currently four CAPE Partners each with global business interests: BIACD, CRRC Zhuzhou Institute, Huawei Technologies and GSK Consumer Healthcare.