National Photonics Initiative commends Congress for bipartisan efforts to pass America COMPETES Act

Bill includes a provision that calls for increased collaboration in optics and photonics

16 December 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Photonics Initiative (NPI), an alliance of top scientific societies uniting industry and academia to raise awareness of photonics, today applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing by unanimous consent S. 3084, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (America COMPETES) — 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. Earlier in the month, the U.S. Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent; it now awaits President Obama’s signature.

In response to passage of America COMPETES, Alan Willner, chairman of the NPI Steering Committee, thanked the bipartisan team of House and Senate supporters behind the bill – Senate sponsors and co-sponsors Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), Gary Peters (D-Michigan), John Thune (R-South Dakota), and Bill Nelson (D-Florida), and House champions Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) — and made the following comments:

"Our community is thrilled to see optics and photonics recognized in America COMPETES as essential to our nation’s leadership in global markets, economic growth, and job creation. New opportunities arising from photonics offer the potential for even greater societal impact in the next few decades. American COMPETES charges U.S. industry, academia, and the federal government to work in partnership to invest in critical optics and photonics research and technologies that will enhance innovation in private and public sector laboratories, promote the nation’s continued competitiveness in sectors across the global economy, and sustain a well-trained workforce into future generations. On behalf of the National Photonics Initiative, I thank the bipartisan team of House and Senate leaders for their dedication to pursuing this critical piece of legislation. The photonics community looks forward to collaborating with the government to fulfill the promise of America COMPETES.”

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

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