The Optical Society Applauds Passage of The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act

6 January 2017

The Optical Society Applauds Passage of
The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act

WASHINGTON —The Optical Society (OSA) issued the following statement on the passage and signing of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, which promotes investment in research and development innovations that will better allow U.S. companies to compete in the international marketplace. In addition, the bill includes a provision calling for increased partnership among federal science agencies, academia and industry to advance optics and photonics technologies.

"The AIM Photonics center in Rochester is already becoming a game-changer in the field of optics and photonics research and development. And in order for this institute and other future photonics development endeavors to spur innovation, job creation and economic growth, we will need to tap into the resources and funding our top scientific agencies provide,” said Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY). “Incorporating the photonics and optics industry in this bill is a critical step in the right direction to keep our domestic workforce and industry globally competitive with other nations in science and technology."

In an effort to promote the continued development of the optics and photonics industry, the bill encourages federal agencies to share information on optics and photonics-related programs, partner with the private sector and academia to leverage knowledge and resources, and ensure a highly trained optics and photonics workforce through Federal and private sector sponsored internships and improved educational facilities and programs in at colleges and universities. In addition to the promotion of optics and photonics, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act aims to reduce administrative and regulatory burdens on federally funded researchers, provide grants to increase diversity and inclusion in STEM-related fields and increase educational outreach efforts to K-8 students.

“The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act recognizes the important role optics and photonics play in increasing the global competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing and development,” said Elizabeth Rogan, CEO of The Optical Society. “Increasing cooperation between academics who develop the latest optics and photonics innovation, manufacturers who implement the innovations into breakthrough products and the federal government providing vital funding and support for scientific research is essential to the support of U.S.-based companies.”

The bill received broad bi-partisan support and was passed by a unanimous consent in both the House and Senate. The Optical Society would like to thank Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Gary Peters (D-MI), John Thune (R-SD), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Reps. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for their unwavering support of the bill and the optics and photonics industry.

About The Optical Society
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. The Optical Society is a founding sponsor of the National Photonics Initiative. For more information, visit

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