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National Photonics Initiative

The US National Photonics Initiative (NPI), launched in May 2013, seeks to raise awareness of photonics and its impacts, and to coordinate collaboration between industry, government and academia, with the aim of guiding US photonics funding and strengthening the sector.

The NPI is led by the American Physical Society (APS), the IEEE Photonics Society, the Laser Institute of America (LIA), The Optical Society (OSA) and SPIE, the International Society of Optics and Photonics.

The launch of the initiative coincided with the release of a white paper aimed at policymakers and the general public, "Lighting the Path to a Competitive, Secure Future",  which assesses the needs of five photonics-related fields, including communications, and makes recommendations to the US government on policy and investment. Key recommendations include:

  • Drive funding and investment in the five areas of photonics critical to maintaining US competitiveness and national security;
  • Develop federal programs that encourage greater collaboration between US industry, academia, and government labs;
  • Increase investment in education and job training programs to reduce the shortage of technically skilled workers;
  • Expand federal investments supporting university and industry collaboration to develop new manufacturing methods that incorporate photonics; and
  • Team with US industry to review international trade practices impeding free and fair trade.