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Latest Public Policy News

Public Policy Spotlight

Smith Announces Intent to Introduce National Quantum Initiative Act
12 June 2018

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology announced that it is preparing to introduce the National Quantum Initiative Act of 2018 to support a coordinated Federal program to accelerate quantum research and development. The legislation will be formally introduced by Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) as early as next week and considered by the House Science Committee the week of 25 June.

Read the Committee press release.

The National Quantum Initiative Act will:

  • Bring a whole of government approach to moving QIS to the next level of research and development
  • Establish a National Quantum Coordination Office within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to oversee interagency coordination, provide strategic planning support, serve as a central point of contact for stakeholders, conduct outreach, and promote commercialization of federal research by the private sector
  • Support basic QIS research and standards development at the National Institute for Standards and Technology, support Energy Department basic research and establish Energy Department national research centers, and support National Science Foundation basic research and academic multidisciplinary quantum research and education centers
  • Encourage U.S. high-tech companies, which are investing heavily in quantum research, and a wave of quantum technology start-ups, to contribute their knowledge and resources to a national effort
  • Address fundamental research gaps, create a stronger workforce pipeline, and take the lead in developing quantum standards and measures for global use and thereby give U.S. companies and workers an enduring competitive advantage

Download a one-pager on the bill.

Read press releases from SPIE and from the National Photonics Initiative.


Other Policy News

Comments on DS-260 Application for Immigrant Visa and DS-160 Application for Nonimmigrant Visa
24 May 2018 

SPIE joined 55 other scientific organizations in comments to the State Department via the federal register for two notices published 30 March 2018 expanding the vetting for all immigrant and nonimmigrant applicants. Last May similar increased vetting procedures were proposed but affected a more limited number of applicants. The 30 March notices would expand those vetted to 710,000 immigrants and 14 million non-immigrants annually. The comments supported by SPIE focus on the potential impact the proposal would have on scientific exchange and collaboration. Read the comments

CFIUS Outbound Technology Review Removed from Proposed Legislation during Committee Consideration
U.S. interagency emerging and foundational technology review added
22 May 2018

Today both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives considered the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) in their respective committees of jurisdiction, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and House Financial Services Committee.

As originally introduced by Senator Cornyn and Representative Pittenger, FIRRMA would have added authority to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFUIS) to conduct an outbound technology review for any type of arrangement with a foreign person, such as a joint venture. Many companies and industry representatives, including SPIE, expressed strong concerns with this proposed new layer of review outside of the current process for export controls.

As a result of this input and negotiation, both committees removed this outbound technology provision during markup today, and instead establish an “emerging” and “foundational” technology review as part of the current export control process. Though there are some differences between the House and Senate bills, the basic concept is the same.

The emerging and foundational technology review would begin with an interagency process, including the Department of Commerce, Defense, Energy, and State, to identify the list of technologies considered emerging and foundational. The Department of Commerce would retain primary authority over deciding the level of control imposed on the technology identified in this new review process. However, Congress prescribes some minimum control levels in the bill, requiring a license for items identified as “emerging” or “foundational” to any “country subject to an embargo, including an arms embargo, imposed by the United States.” This notably includes China, as they are an arms embargoed country.

Both Senate and House amendments call for different kinds of reports following enactment. The Senate amendment calls on the Department of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence to review within 180 days on “key national security technology capability advantages, competitions, and gaps between the United States and ‘‘near peer’’ nations” in conjunction with the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA).

While the House amendment calls for a review within 180 days on whether 744.21 of U.S. regulations should be expanded to all arms embargoed countries. Currently, this section only affects China, Venezuela and Russia. Also, the language calls for the review of unlicensed items on the Commerce Control List going to countries with an arms embargo.

SPIE will continue to track this legislation as it moves through Congress and advocate for SPIE member companies.

NIST Seeks Public Input to Help Increase Return on Investment from Federal Research
2 May 2018 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register on May 1, 2018 to gather information about the current state of Federal technology transfer and the public’s ability to engage with Federal laboratories and access federally funded R&D through collaborations, licensing, and other mechanisms. The announcement includes four public forums that NIST will hold on May 17 in San Jose, California; May 21 in Denver, Colorado; May 31 in Chicago, Illinois; and June 14 in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Registration is now open for these public forums.

The approximately $150 billion invested annually in Federal research and development (R&D) funding plays a crucial supporting role in U.S. economic growth and national security. To ensure that investment reaps the largest commercial, economic, and national security returns possible, NIST and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) are co-leading the Lab-to-Market cross agency priority (CAP) goal in the recently released President’s Management Agenda. To carry out these efforts, NIST has launched the Return on Investment (ROI) Initiative to streamline and accelerate the transfer of technology from Federal Laboratories and federally-funded R&D at universities.

Through the RFI and the public forums, NIST is seeking broad input from Federal R&D, intellectual property, and technology transfer stakeholders in the public and private sectors to identify critically-needed improvements to Federal technology transfer efforts.  Read More

Photonics21 publishes vision paper on how photonics will power growth and innovation
31 December 2017

Photonics21 presented their vision of the European photonics community in the document, "Europe's Age of Light! How photonics will power growth and innovation." The paper reports on outcomes from eight strategic workshops conducted in the European photonics community, each addressing a challenge facing Europe and the greater global community. The vision outlines how photonics technologies hope to solve these issues by 2030.  Read More

National Photonics Initiative and the National Academies Promote Study to Rally US Research in High-Intensity Ultrafast Lasers
23 December 2017 - Updated

A report published by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) outlines the steps the United States must take to regain global leadership in intense ultrafast laser technologies. SPIE congratulates the committee on its work and participated in the briefing sponsored by the National Photonics Initiative (NPI) on its findings on 14 December in Washington DC.  Read the SPIE press release

NPI also released a statement in support of the NAS report, “Opportunities in Intense Ultrafast Lasers: Reaching for the Brightest Light” in preparation for the 14 December briefing.  Read the NPI statement

Watch the recording of the briefing including comments from SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs.

Read past issues of the Public Policy News.

Supporting the National Photonics Initiative

Click for more information on the National Photonics Initiative