OSA Encourages Optics and Photonics Community Feedback on U.S. Manufacturing Institutes


Lyndsay Meyer
The Optical Society

OSA Encourages Optics and Photonics Community Feedback on U.S. Manufacturing Institutes

U.S. Department of Defense releases ‘Request for Information’ on public-private manufacturing program

WASHINGTON, June 2, 2014—The Optical Society (OSA) today called on the optics and photonics community to participate in the just-announced “Request for Information (RFI)” from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) related to the Obama administration’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). The RFI seeks public feedback on the creation of two new Innovative Manufacturing Institutes (IMIs). The RFI both identifies the DOD’s parameters for developing the institutes and also lists technologies the DOD suggests incorporating into the IMIs. Photonics is one of six technology focus areas competing for inclusion in the IMIs.

“Today’s announcement is a critical opportunity for the optics and photonics community,” said OSA CEO Elizabeth Rogan. “This is our chance to make the case for photonics-based manufacturing in the U.S. We know how beneficial our industry is to advanced manufacturing technology and it’s up to us to demonstrate that through participation in this RFI.”

According to the DOD, the IMIs will be “regionally centered Public Private Partnerships enabling the scale-up of advanced manufacturing technologies and processes with the goal of successful transition of existing science and technology into the marketplace for both Defense and commercial applications.  Each Institute will be led by a not-for-profit organization and focus on one technology area. The Department is requesting responses which will assist in the selection of a technology focus area from those currently under consideration, based upon evidence of national security requirement, economic benefit, technical opportunity, relevance to industry, business case for sustainability and workforce challenge.” 

Each RFI response must include answers to 18 general questions, in addition to specific questions for each technology focus area. For the photonics focus area, the 17 additional questions cover topics from packaging and reliability to the creation of a photonics foundry. Areas of focus covered include biophotonics, defense, photonic integrated circuits, optical materials and others.

OSA is joining several other societies in the RFI effort through its founding partner role in the National Photonics Initiative (NPI).The NPI will conduct outreach activities to encourage participation, including hosting a webinar Friday, June 6, from 2 – 3 p.m. EDT for those interested in learning more about the RFI response process.  The group will also conduct an overview session at next week’s Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO: 2014) in San Jose, California, USA. The NPI is being led by a coalition of scientific societies, including the American Physical Society (APS), the IEEE Photonics Society, the Laser Institute of America (LIA), SPIE and OSA.

Responses to the RFI are due July 14. The full request is available on the Federal Business Opportunities website.

About OSA
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional society for scientists, engineers, achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership programs, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of professionals in optics and photonics. For more information, visit www.osa.org.