Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster meeting stresses value of optics to US economy

Rochester, NY-For its annual meeting, the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster (RRPC) co-hosted an event at the Rochester Museum & Science Center focusing on the economic importance of optics and photonics to Rochester and the state of New York.

Sep 5th, 2013

Rochester, NY--For its annual meeting, the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster (RRPC) co-hosted an event at the Rochester Museum & Science Center focusing on the economic importance of optics and photonics to Rochester and the state of New York. As part of this effort, the RRPC is very involved in the the National Photonics Initiative (NPI) to raise awareness about photonics and unite academia, industry, and government experts to identify and advance areas of photonics critical to maintaining US competitiveness.

Related article:National initiative aims to drive critical photonics technologies in US

In her opening remarks, US Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) said, “Rochester’s optics, photonics, and imaging industries have been vital pieces of our local economy. Our federal government has long played a vital role in supporting the research, development, and commercialization of new fields, and even in these tough economic times I believe we must maintain this commitment to these industries that are so vital to the economic future of our region and our country.”

During the last 10 years, Rep. Slaughter has secured over $680 million in federal appropriations for the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics, as well as funding for projects by local companies like Exelis and Lumetrics. She has helped attract new companies to Eastman Business Park to ensure the park remains an engine of economic growth for the region, and is currently leading efforts to attract an Institute for Manufacturing Innovation in optics to the Rochester area.

More than 60 optics, photonics, and imaging companies are located within a 20 mile radius of Rochester, and local institutions such as the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics provide research and job training programs.

A panel discussion on the importance of Rochester's involvement in the newly-launched NPI followed Slaughter's remarks. The panelists were: Steve Anderson, industry and market strategist for SPIE; Tom Hausken, senior advisor for the OSA; Jennifer Clark, director of the Center for Urban Innovation in the Ivan Allen College at the Georgia Institute of Technology; Steve Fantone, founder and CEO of Optikos Corporation; and Duncan Moore vice provost for entrepreneurship and professor of optics at the University of Rochester.

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