COBRA was founded in 1994. In 1996, the institute was recognized as a leading research school by the KNAW (Koninklijke Nederlandse Academie van Wetenschappen), as part of their recognition program for research schools. Since 1998, COBRA has been granted the title of “top onderzoeksschool”, a research school of excellence, by the Dutch ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The total initial funding of the program was 35 million Euro (See interview with Prof. Dr. Em. Djan Khoe). The funding was awarded as part of the NRC-Photonics research grant (“Dieptestrategie” 1998). Already around this time COBRA was a world leader in the field of photonics.

At COBRA, research groups from the disciplines of physics and electrical engineering from the Eindhoven University of Technology, in the Netherlands, come together, combining their efforts in education and research. The activities range from basic research in physics on novel materials and devices to research on communication systems and system applications.