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Monday, July 27, 2015

Vice President Biden Announces New Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Innovation Hub in Rochester, New York

From the White House press office.

The sixth of nine new manufacturing institutes brings $610 million in public-private investment to next-generation photonics manufacturing, fostering American manufacturing innovation to transform digital communications and high-performance computing

Vice President Biden will announce today that the Research Foundation for the State University of New York (RF SUNY) will lead a new Manufacturing Innovation Institute to secure U.S. leadership in manufacturing integrated photonics. These emerging technologies have the potential to transform many industries—from creating “needleless” tests for medical conditions like diabetes, to increasing the carrying capacity of broadband communications ten times over.

The Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Integrated Photonics is the sixth of nine such public-private partnerships to boost advanced manufacturing, foster American innovation, and attract and create jobs that strengthen the middle class. After a decade of decline in the 2000s, when 40 percent of all large factories closed their doors, American manufacturing is adding jobs at its fastest rate in decades, with nearly 900,000 new manufacturing jobs created since February 2010. Manufacturing production is up by almost a third since the recession and the number of factories across the United States is growing for the first time since the 1990s. Today’s new action is the kind of investment we need to build on this progress, creating the foundation for American manufacturing leadership for years to come.

The Department of Defense is awarding the new Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Integrated Photonics to a consortium of 124 companies, nonprofits, and universities led by RF SUNY. With a total investment of over $610 million—$110 million in federal funds, and more than $500 million in non-federal contributions—the  announcement marks the largest public-private commitment to date for a  manufacturing institute launched in the United States.  

Headquartered in Rochester, NY, the long-time home of optical technology pioneer Eastman Kodak, the new Department of Defense led manufacturing institute will help spark new growth in manufacturing building on the area’s legacy of leading optical and photonics technology capabilities—and position the United States for continued leadership in this critical technology area. Already, member companies are demonstrating what is possible atop such foundations - including Harris Corporation, Sydor Optics, and Optimax which have all recently opened or expanded operations in the region, bringing dynamism to the region’s intrepid photonics cluster. By attracting hundreds of millions of dollars of new investment in photonics, and convening leading photonics capabilities from across the nation in Rochester, the institute will accelerate the growth of this industry in the upstate New York area.

The new photonics institute is the sixth of nine announced as part of the National Network of Manufacturing Institutes (NNMI).  From the very first manufacturing institute, pioneering novel 3D printing technologies in Youngstown, OH to the most recently awarded institute pushing the boundaries on advanced materials in Knoxville, TN—each institute is part of a growing network dedicated to securing U.S. leadership in the emerging technologies required to win the next generation of advanced manufacturing. 

Bridging the gap between applied research and product development, each institute brings together companies, universities, other academic and training institutions, and Federal agencies to co-invest in key emerging technology areas that can encourage investment and production in the U.S.  This latest institute, a new public private partnership led by RF SUNY, will bridge advanced research and commercial product development, yielding critical defense and telecommunications advances—while also investing in education and workforce development to train and position the next generation of manufacturers in integrated photonics.

Just as integrated electronic circuits allowed for advanced processing in computers and cellphones, integrated photonic components can pack even more processing power into a single chip, creating new possibilities for computing and telecommunications.  An emerging technology for carrying light-waves, integrated photonics has the potential to revolutionize entire industries—from increasing the carrying capacity of broadband communications ten-fold, to creating needle-free tests for common conditions like diabetes, and to improving imaging capabilities in defense operations.

Vice President Biden is also calling on Congress to make a clear choice: We can make critical bipartisan investments to strengthen manufacturing across the United States, laying a strong foundation for good jobs and economic growth—or we can pull back, letting other countries and their workers take the lead. The President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget would strengthen America’s leadership in advanced manufacturing, providing the resources to grow the NNMI to 16 institutes by the end of 2016 (with a goal of up to 45 institutes over a decade). In contrast, the House and Senate funding bills would entrench harmful "sequester" levels of funding, putting critical investments in advanced manufacturing, workforce development and training, and innovation at risk.

Watch the Vice President’s remarks at 11:00 AM ET here:

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