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National Photonics Initiative Applauds Senate Commerce Committee Approval of Quantum Legislation
(Washington, D.C.) - The National Photonics Initiative (NPI)—a broad-based collaborative alliance among industry, academia, and government to raise awareness of optics, photonics and quantum science and technology—is praising a bipartisan vote in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to advance S. 3143, The National Quantum Initiative Act. The Committee unanimously voted to report the NQI Act, with important changes suggested by the NPI to enhance the bill’s effectiveness, to the chamber floor. The Senate Committee action follows bipartisan approval of similar legislation in the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in June.
Ed White, Chair of the NPI Steering Committee and Vice President Test, Assembly, and Packaging for AIM Photonics, said the Senate Commerce Committee vote indicates a strong commitment from Congress to advance quantum research. “As other countries across the world invest in quantum, it is critical that the U.S. keep pace with those investments. The strong bipartisan support for the National Quantum Initiative Act in both the House and Senate makes clear that policymakers are committed to keeping the U.S. at the forefront of quantum research and development. We will continue working with lawmakers and the Administration to see this important legislation signed into law.”
The NQI Act will establish a comprehensive, coordinated national policy to encourage quantum research and technology and develop a workforce capable of transforming that work into real world applications. Following a letter from the NPI and NQI stakeholders urging key changes to the legislation, lawmakers added a quantum computing and communications access program which will provide U.S. researchers and users across academia and industry access to such systems and simulation. The Committee also removed a requirement to find spending offsets before providing new funds for this important research and development. Legislators further improved the bill by identifying basic research at the National Science Foundation, in particular, as central to the initiative’s implementation. And lastly, the bill now includes language that will create competitive grants to be awarded to universities and non-profits in support of quantum research centers.
The NPI has been working with Congress since 2017 to develop a comprehensive national quantum policy. With the guidance of Dr. Christopher Monroe, professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and Dr. Michael Raymer, professor of physics at the University of Oregon, both founding stakeholders, the NPI unveiled the National Quantum Initiative (NQI) Action Plan in April. The objectives of the NQI Action Plan include producing a world-leading industrial quantum technology workforce, advancing quantum research and technology, and developing quantum software and intellectual property.
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 www.lightourfuture.org.