Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce University of Rochester Awarded Nearly $500,000 Manufacturing Technology Grant

May 8, 2014

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced a $497,852 grant for the University of Rochester’s New York Photonics Manufacturing Initiative from the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This Initiative will strengthen the nation’s optics, photonics and imaging manufacturers to become more globally competitive. In November, Senator Gillibrand sent a letter to NIST requesting the University of Rochester’s swift approval for the grant.

 “Virtually every electronic device essential to 21st century life relies on optics and photonics, and no region in the U.S. is better suited to capitalize on this than Rochester,” said Schumer. “This investment reinforces Rochester’s pre-eminent position as the nation’s optics and photonics hub, with over 50 companies employing 19,000 people all in a 20 mile radius of downtown Rochester.  This federal funding will position Rochester’s top research, academic and business institutions, as well as infrastructure like Eastman Business Park, to keep the U.S., and Rochester in particular, at the forefront of this dynamic industry.”

“Research and development is critical to compete in the 21st century global economy,” said Senator Gillibrand. “New York State has long been a national leader in optics, photonics and imaging research and manufacturing, and the University of Rochester is continuing to carry on that legacy in developing a critical roadmap to make the U.S. more competitive in these industries, which will help create new jobs right here at home.”

“The roadmap will address critical gaps to increase our nation’s competitiveness in photonics manufacturing,” said Robert L. Clark, senior vice president for research at the University of Rochester and dean of the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “Senator Gillibrand and Senator Schumer fully understands the importance of bringing photonics manufacturing back to the U.S. and I want to thank her for her leadership and persistent efforts in support of this initiative. We are excited to be able to lead this effort in partnership with industry and other key stakeholders.”

The federal funding provided by this grant will allow for increased technology development and improvement of manufacturing capabilities. Optics and photonics manufacturing are used across  the medical, energy, defense and communications fields, which are integral parts of our everyday lives.

The University of Rochester is one of 19 universities and non-profit organizations to receive the NIST advanced manufacturing technology planning grant. The program’s goal is to develop technology roadmaps that strengthen U.S. manufacturing and innovation across industries. The projects generated from these awards span a variety of industries and technologies, from flexible-electronics manufacturing and biomanufacturing to forming and joining technologies.

Senator Gillibrand’s full letter to the National Institute of Standards and Technology Director Dr. Patrick Gallagher is attached.