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Emily Pappas

National Photonics Initiative Welcomes President’s Commitment to Modernizing Infrastructure, Workforce Development

Highlights transformative nature of optics and photonics capabilities

WASHINGTON, DC – January 31, 2018 – The National Photonics Initiative (NPI), an alliance of top scientific societies uniting industry, academia and government to raise awareness of optics and photonics – the science and application of light, released the following statement on behalf of NPI Steering Committee Chair Ed White in response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address:

"The NPI welcomed remarks by President Trump that stressed the importance of modernizing America’s aging infrastructure, strengthening our nation’s workforce and investing in improved defense capabilities. As representatives of foundational optics and photonics technologies that will help advance 21st Century economies and infrastructure, including but not limited to transportation, healthcare and telecommunications, the NPI will work with Congress to ensure infrastructure-related legislation leverages optics and photonics capabilities to make roads, bridges, communication and computers smarter and more secure. The NPI will also work to call attention to the direct school-to-job pipeline including the importance of technical and vocational training programs to meet current and future workforce needs presented by the growing field of optics and photonics-enabled technology. Finally, the NPI will work with the President and Congress as they seek greater investment in the nation’s defenses, to ensure that optics and photonics capabilities are leveraged to keep our service men and woman safer in times of conflict.

“While the President’s speech highlighted several areas where the NPI can work with the administration and Congress to advance a common agenda, we were disappointed not to hear many of our priorities mentioned. Investments in research and development, science and technology will help propel our nation and its economy – these investments must continue to be prioritized by the administration and congressional leaders. The NPI will continue to engage with the administration and Congress to build support for continued funding of policies and programs important to the optics and photonics community and the future of this great nation."

About the NPI: The National Photonics Initiative (NPI) is a collaborative alliance among industry, academia and government to raise awareness of photonics and the impact of photonics on our everyday lives; increase cooperation and coordination among US industry, government and academia to advance photonics-driven fields; and drive US funding and investment in areas of photonics critical to maintaining US economic competitiveness and national security. The initiative is being led by top scientific societies including the American Physical Society (APS), the IEEE Photonics Society, the Laser Institute of America (LIA), The Optical Society (OSA) and SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics. For more information visit