Funding Opportunity Announced
Through a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) made on Nov. 6, the U.S. Department of Defense is calling for concept papers for the establishment of an Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation (IP-IMI).
The IP-IMI will be the largest federal investment to date under the Obama administration’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) at $110M. The IP-NMI does not include optics, optical systems or optical manufacturing. It does not include lasers at the manufacturing scale, optical materials or new systems for manufacturing critical DoD optical components. It is narrowly focused upon “domestic integrated photonics chip fabrication foundry access, integrated design tools, automated packaging, assembly and test, and workforce development.”
The FOA was made through the Air Force Research Laboratory, following President Barack Obama’s announcement of his administration’s intent to form the IP-IMI, the sixth such institute under the NNMI. The FOA reaffirms that commitment, with DoD investing $110 million, intended to be somehow matched or exceeded in investment from industry, academia and/or state and local government through the winning proposal.
A proposer’s day has been scheduled for Nov. 19 in Arlington, Va.
New York Proposals
A National Institute for Manufacturing and Innovation in Photonics has been one of the main goals of the National Photonics Initiative (NPI). Numerous lobbying efforts and a national fly-in have supported the NPI. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY 25) has been an enthusiastic advocate for a photonics institute led and located in Rochester, N.Y.
In Rochester, an NMI effort led by the University of Rochester has been under way for two years. The university has been working with key stakeholders across the U.S. to form a consortium to partner on an application. It is rumored that The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at SUNY Albany (CNSE) is also working on an application. Sources at the University of Rochester say that they have been engaged in brokered discussions with CNSE.
Other New York research interests might include names like Cornell University, RIT, Columbia University, Clarkson, University at Buffalo and others. Industrial partners may include such names as Corning, GE, IBM, Global Foundries and Sematech.
Applications are due on Dec. 19.
Recent New York Efforts
The last NMI award announcement was for an institute for power electronics.
CNSE led a consortium that applied for the Power Electronics NMI in late 2013. That Institute was awarded to a consortium based in North Carolina. Undeterred, Gov. Andrew Cuomo later announced a New York State Power Electronics Institute under the CNSE umbrella, promising to create 500 jobs. The announcement was made in the same building where CNSE announced its Department of Energy Photovoltaics Consortium on July 17, 2013, promising to create 100 jobs.
The competition for leadership in Optics, Photonics and Imaging seems to be paying off for New York State.