More on What the Brexit Means to Photonics
Business will mostly go on as usual, apart from the immediate effect of exchange rates. It's the long-term effects that are least clear and the most consequential. But years will pass first, if the exit even happens at all. Other commentators have similar observations, including these thoughts from John Lincoln of the U.K. Photonics Leadership Group.
|John Lincoln (Source: OPN)
||Last month’s OIDA newsletter listed several things to look out for if the Brexit vote actually leads to an actual exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union (see OIDA’s comments also here). We listed several effects, some near-term and some further out:
- Currency exchange rates
- Uncertainty leading to slower investment and demand for capital equipment
- Possible tighter financing for small companies
- Decoupled R&D projects and an unclear “exit dividend” for R&D funding
- Company relocation to the mainland
- Issues around recruitment of photonics talent in the face of visa reform
Meanwhile, however, the European Union faces a continually struggling economy, a refugee crisis, occasional unrest in eastern Europe, and more threats of member countries to exit the union. OIDA estimates that Europe has more photonics companies than the U.S., but the U.S. has more photonics employment. In other words, Europe is more concentrated in smaller companies. But European photonics executives complain that it is possible to form companies, but not to grow them there, due to such issues as restrictive labor laws, a risk-averse investing culture, and lack of close access to important U.S. markets.
This contrasts with a recent interview of John Chambers, executive chairman of Cisco, at a technology conference in Paris on 30 June. Chambers claimed that Israel, India, and France are leading the way to digitize their nations, while the U.S. is getting left behind with no game plan. He further claimed that "the start-up community is going to explode in France" and that the region is likely to produce the next Apple or Facebook.
It's not clear from the news item what Chambers thinks is an appropriate digital plan. The evidence is clear in economic development research that investment in communications infrastructure correlates with economic development (the key good only up to where it’s "good enough." Beyond that it becomes overinvestment, and can even become a speculative bubble like what we experienced around 2000.
|John Chambers (Source: World Economic Forum via Wikimedia Commons)
A robust "digital plan" no doubt requires a wide array of assets, from the wireline and wireless infrastructure to the regulatory and tax environment, a risk-taking culture, and STEM-based workforce development. While the U.S. is strong in several of these areas, it isn't strong in all of them, and any nation can quickly fall behind. For more thoughts on public policy for a technology future, see the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.
DOE's Recent Activity in Optical Interconnects
There are some important funding announcements out of the U.S. Department of Energy in optical communications that we want to share here.
- DOE SBIR/STTR grants on exascale interconnects. DOE announced new SBIR/STTR topics on 18 July, including one related to optical interconnects — a Photonic Memory Controller Module — to help address DOE's future exascale computing needs. The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) will be released on 15 August, with a webinar on 22 August. Letters of Intent are due on 6 September, with the applications due 17 October. The awards will be announced in January with the grants starting in February. These Phase I awards are for $225K, with up to five collaborating institutions.
- ARPA-E ENLITENED grants on data center interconnects. DOE's ARPA-E agency issued a FOA in June to address optical interconnects for improving energy efficiency in data centers, as part of DOE's interest in the nation's energy consumption. The concept papers for proposals were due 25 July. The awards can vary from $250K to $10M, with the total to be awarded approximately $25M. For questions, see here or contact ARPA-E-CO@hq.doe.gov.
- National Strategic Computing Initiative. DOE is the lead agency for the Obama administration's high performance computing (HPC) initiative that aims at meeting government exascale computing needs through co-funding of next-generation computer procurements. Optical technology is a relatively small part of this initiative.
- AIM Photonics. DOE is represented on the oversight of AIM Photonics, the manufacturing institute established last year with government funding from the U.S. Department of Defense. AIM's goal is to address the gap in manufacturing of high-volume integrated photonics—the gap identified as Manufacturing Readiness Levels 4-7 in DOD terminology.
DOE has many more programs related to photonics, from LED lighting and photovoltaics to laser-confinement fusion energy research. The SBIR FOA follows a DOE-sponsored workshop held at OSA in August 2015 that addressed optical components for exascale computing. In May, OIDA released a roadmap report based on the findings from that meeting. The OIDA roadmap report is available to OIDA members here.
Update on the U.S. Export Control Reform Effort
The finalized revised rules for export control reform for Category XII of the U.S. Munitions List and corresponding Commerce Control List continue to move forward to meet the Obama Administration's goal to get them published by the end of Obama's term. The rules control the export and import of military-related items, including optics and photonics for a wide range of applications.
The first drafts were issued in May 2015, followed by a public comment period, second drafts, and a second public comment period. In February, OSA's Chief Scientist Dr. Gregory Quarles testified before the House Small Business Committee regarding the proposed rule's effect on small business. Dr. Quarles is also a member of the Commerce Department SITAC committee. An internal government committee came to agreement over final rules in April. These were shared with the SITAC committee, then sent on 30 June to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to join its backlog for final administrative review.
The OMB-reviewed rule changes would normally be sent to the Congressional House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees for a 60-day notification and review. It is unlikely that Congress will suggest major changes or add new language to the proposed rule changes. Meanwhile, Senator Schumer D-NY sent a letter to top administration officials encouraging them to finalize the rules to implement them before the end of the Obama term.
OIDA expects the final rules to be published in the Federal Register this fall. OSA's public policy staff continue to closely follow and contribute to this process. For questions, please contact Laura Kolton at email@example.com.
National Photonics Initiative Releases Two New White Papers and Hosts Webinar
In late June, the National Photonics Initiative (NPI) released two new white papers.
A Coordinated Strategy for Manufacturing High Power Lasers. The white paper makes recommendations calling for the establishment of a directed energy program office that will serve to coordinate US manufacturing of high power lasers.
A Brighter Future: Eliminating Cancer Through Adoption of New and Enhanced Technologies and a Transformed IT Health Systems. The white paper and cancer technology road map identifies the most promising existing and new technologies for increases and concerted private and public investment to achieve the goals of the National Cancer Moonshot. The NPI also held a webinar in late June that is available to watch on the NPI website: "Achieving the Goals of the National Cancer Moonshot through Adoption of New and Enhanced Technologies and a Transformed IT Health System." This webinar focused on the recommendations of the above mentioned white paper
- Tom Baer, Chairman, National Photonics Initiative Cancer Moonshot Task Force
- Lauren Leiman, Senior Director for External Partnerships, Cancer Moonshot Task Force, Office of the Vice President
- Carolyn (Bo) Aldige, President and Founder, Prevent Cancer Foundation
- Shandi Barney, Vice President and Sector Lead, Radiation Therapy, Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed)
- James Mulshine, MD, Acting Dean, Graduate College, Rush University
- Joelle Fathi, Program Director, Swedish Tobacco Related Disease and Lung Cancer Screening Program, Swedish Cancer Institute
- Jerry SH Lee, PhD, Deputy Director for Cancer Research and Technology Cancer Moonshot Task Force, Office of the Vice President
Congressman Mica Visits the Florida Photonics Cluster Meeting
On 2 June, Congressman John Mica (R-FL) spoke at the Florida Photonics Cluster meeting at BEAM Company in Orlando, Florida. This was a great opportunity for Congressman Mica to connect with members of the photonics community in his district. He was also given information about the National Photonics Initiative during his visit.
Are you interested in inviting your member of Congress to speak to your local chapter/cluster or to visit your company for a tour of your facility? Contact the OSA Public Policy team (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will work with you on the process.
Welcome New Industry Members
OIDA Funding Accelerator Speed Meetings: SBIR/STTR
The OIDA Funding Accelerator Speed Meetings: SBIR/STTR focusing on optics and photonics funding, will be held in Washington, DC on 17 November 2016. This event will give U.S. companies with less than 500 employees an opportunity to meet one-on-one with program officers from multiple U.S. federal agencies, all in one place, in one day — minimizing your time investment and increasing your chances for new government funding.
This OSA event will give you an insider perspective on what agencies are looking to fund; as well as provide you with up-to-date information on each agency's SBIR/STTR funding process, and how you can enhance your probability of success. In addition, the event will help government agencies better understand what OSA Industry Development Associates Members can offer and how the optics and photonics technologies can help them meet their goals. For more information and to secure your company's reservation, please e-mail OSA Director of Corporate Membership, Andrew Dougherty at email@example.com to RSVP.
Registration is Now Open for OIDA's Executive Forum and the Laser Applications Conference (LAC)
The Laser Applications Conference (LAC) is a new industry conference on Laser Applications at the OSA Lasers Congress. The event takes place 30 October-3 November 2016 in Boston, MA, US. The conference will also include an OIDA Executive Forum on 3 November. The OIDA Executive Forum provides attendees with an exclusive opportunity to hear insider perspectives in an uncensored environment, while participating in high-level networking. Admission is included with your Laser Congress/Laser Applications Conference registration.
The LAC will focus on two main topic areas; Materials Processing and High Intensity Lasers for Applications. Materials Processing will include advanced applications for industrial use. High Intensity Lasers for Applications will include applications in defense, scientific research, and energy markets. One of the themes of this meeting will be to initiate discussions on what engineering and production advances are needed to translate promising technological advances into marketable products. Learn more about the conference and exhibition and how to attend.
Dr. Kathrin Berkner Selected as "Top Female Research Leader of the Year"
Dr. Kathrin Berkner, former Director of R&D for Ricoh Innovations Corporation, who recently joined Apple, was selected as "Top Female Research Leader of the Year" for 2016-2017 by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP)! Learn more.
PR Update: Share Your News with Us
Public relations is an important part of every successful exhibition strategy. As you look ahead to your Fall exhibition plan — consider what new products will you announce, new sales initiatives or even new hires. How will you share the news of these achievements? Share your news with OSA Industry Development Associates News page at no charge. This site is accessible to the general public, including members of the media and industry analysts. Press releases can be posted directly using a simple submission form. Members of the OSA PR team are also available for consultation on press release writing, media relations and social media.
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|OSA Industry Development Associates Committee
Thank you to the volunteers who oversee the programs and services available to the Industry Community.
| • Alex Fong,
Gooch & Housego, Chair
• Jean-Michel Pelaprat,
Figulus, Past Chair
• Henrik Skov
• Simin Cai,
|• John Dexheimer,
• James Fisher,
• Fred Leonberger,
• Claudio Mazzali,
| • Mike Mielke,
• Martin Seifert,
• Costel Subran,
• Christoph Harder,
Harder and Partner,