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National Photonics Initiative Commends Senate Commerce Leaders on Introduction of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act

Bill includes a provision that calls for increased collaboration in optics and photonics
Washington, DC – June 24, 2016 – The National Photonics Initiative (NPI), an alliance of top scientific societies uniting industry and academia to raise awareness of photonics, today applauded Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD), Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI) for introducing S. 3084, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act – a bill to invest in innovation and improve United States competitiveness through research and development. The bill includes a provision that calls on federal science agencies, industry, and academia to seek partnerships to advance optics and photonics technologies and capabilities.
“On behalf of the NPI, I thank Sens. Thune, Nelson, Gardner and Peters for introducing a bipartisan bill that celebrates and supports our nation’s commitment to competitiveness,” said Alan Willner, chairman of the NPI Steering Committee. “Our community is delighted and excited to see the senators recognize the important role of optics and photonics in US commercialization, innovation and technology transfer. We welcome the opportunity to work with the Committee to pass and enact this vital legislation.”
US industry, academia and government recognize the fundamental role that optics and photonics — the science and application of light — plays in national security, economic competitiveness, and personal and environmental health. Future defense and commercial opportunities arising from the development of photonics technologies include the growth of the Internet, next generation high performance computing, nuclear threat identification, cancer detection and breakthroughs in neuroscience, offering the potential for even greater societal impact within the next few decades. The bill seeks to encourage partnerships between academia and industry to promote improvement in the education of optics and photonics technicians at the secondary school level, undergraduate, and two-year college.
“Our nation’s ability to realize the full potential of optics and photonics depends on the preparedness of the American workforce in the physical sciences and engineering,” said Matt Weed, NPI Education Task Force chair. “Providing opportunities for both young and experienced Americans to become students of optics and photonics is the only way to ensure that next-generation technology is developed in the United States.”
Mark-up of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act is scheduled for Wednesday, June 29.

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