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DOD To Award More Than $100M to Establish an Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute

October 08, 2014

In celebration of National Manufacturing Day, the Obama Administration announced it will release a new competition to award more than $100 million to launch a new Institute for Manufacturing Innovation (IMI) focused on Integrated Photonics. The proposed Integrated Photonics Institute will assist in developing an end-to-end photonics ‘ecosystem’ in the U.S. and support research and development efforts across the country on domestic foundry access, integrated design tools, automated packaging, assembly and test, and workforce development in the research area related to photonics. Administered by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the formal request for proposal (RFP) should be released in early November.

The Department of Defense (DOD) will require a 1:1 match in private funds by the awardee – an over $200 million commitment from federal and private resources – making it the largest investment in an Institute for Manufacturing Innovation to date, according to the White House Fact Sheet. The Obama administration cites the complexity of this technology, its importance to national security, and its revolutionary potential as the reasons for this large federal funding commitment. The RFP will confirm eligibility requirements and proposal due dates. For more information about the project, AFRL released a notice of intent and will host an offerors day on November 18 in Rosslyn, VA. Read the notice of intent…

The Integrated Photonics Institute will be the sixth IMI to be launched under the Obama Administration and the fourth administered by the DOD. The four active institutes include:

  • Additive Manufacturing Institute (America Makes);
  • Lightweight and Modern Metals Institute;
  • Digital Manufacturing and Design Institute ; and,
  • Power Electronics Institute – administered by the Department of Energy (DOE).

The DOE also is in the acquisition stage for an Advanced Composites Institute. These public-private institutes are expected to bring together industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies, and the states to accelerate innovation by investing in industrially relevant manufacturing technologies with broad applications to:

  • Bridge the gap between basic research and product development;
  • Provide shared assets to help companies (especially small- and medium-sized manufacturers) access capabilities and equipment; and,
  • Cultivate a 21st century workforce with the skills necessary to support advanced manufacturing skills.
dept of defense, manufacturing, federal agency