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Latest Public Policy News

Public Policy Spotlight

Panel at the White House summit on quantum information science

US Quantum R&D Strategy Unfolding Across the Government
27 September 2018

At a 24 September summit, the White House released an initial national strategy for advancing quantum information science, while the Department of Energy and National Science Foundation awarded $249 million in QIS grants. A Senate hearing the next day considered DOE’s role in a National Quantum Initiative.  Read More

New SPIE CEO Kent Rochford, along with other members of the National Photonics Initiative, attended the summit. Of note, was the "Science First" strategy announced by the agencies. "The National Quantum Initiative Act, that was passed by the House of Representatives in September, called for focus on both research and technology advancements. Funding the science is a great start. It is also critically important for the future of the U.S. economy to see more resources put into the technology and engineering development that’s needed to create the quantum industry ecosystem," said Rochford.

There was robust discussion on the security and international cooperation aspects. "I advocated for clear policy guidance on international engagement and dual-use controls – I think clarity and narrowly defined controls that take into account the effect controls will have on growth are critical to launching this industry," said Rochford. "There’s an opportunity to do this in a way that removes unnecessary barriers, and I worked to make that case."

At the summit, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), where Rochford was associate director for Laboratory Programs prior to joining SPIE, announced it's collaboration with SRI International to lead a consortium focused on quantum science and engineering. SRI International is a nonprofit, independent R&D center headquartered in Menlo Park, California. Rochford noted, "the consortium will provide an excellent forum for companies in this nascent industry to come together and discuss pre-competitive issues and develop roadmaps. I’ve offered SPIE’s help to provide outreach. We’re discussing possibilities at Photonics West, and we’ll work to ensure that our members are aware of upcoming opportunities."


Other Policy News

Quantum Technologies Flagship Kicks Off with First 20 Projects
The Quantum Technologies Flagship, a €1 billion initiative, was launched today at a high-level event in Vienna hosted by the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
18 October 2018

The Flagship will fund over 5,000 of Europe's leading quantum technologies researchers over the next ten years and aims to place Europe at the forefront of the second quantum revolution. Its long term vision is to develop in Europe a so-called quantum web, where quantum computers, simulators and sensors are interconnected via quantum communication networks. This will help kick-starting a competitive European quantum industry making research results available as commercial applications and disruptive technologies. The Flagship will initially fund 20 projects with a total of €132 million via the Horizon 2020 programme, and from 2021 onwards it is expected to fund a further 130 projects. Its total budget is expected to reach €1 billion, providing funding for the entire quantum value chain in Europe, from basic research to industrialisation, and bringing together researchers and the quantum technologies industry.  Read More

New U.S. Law Addresses Control of Emerging Technologies
Legislation could affect the future trade and growth of emerging photonic technologies.
11 October 2018

The current political and security climate has spurred interest in maintaining control of emerging technologies developed in the United States. How this is accomplished was a point of contention recently, as legislation titled the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) moved through the U.S. congress and was passed into law.  Read More

National Photonics Initiative praises bipartisan approval of NQI Act in House of Representatives
13 September 2018

The National Photonics Initiative (NPI) —a broad-based collaborative alliance among industry, academia, and government to raise awareness of optics, photonics and quantum science and technology—applauded bipartisan passage of the National Quantum Initiative Act in the House of Representatives today. The NQI Act, H.R. 6227, was unanimously approved by voice vote.

Read the full press release from the National Photonics Initiative.

Growing US-China trade war impacts optics and photonics technologies
The US Trade Representative has announced a process for US companies to request permission to continue importing targeted items on a duty-free basis.
7 September 2018

The US administration officially made good on the threat to impose tariffs on Chinese goods on 6 July 2018 as a 25% tariff on a first round of products totaling $34 billion in value came into effect. This constituted the boldest move yet in a growing trade war between the US and China, largely spurred by what is seen by the US as unfair practices. China immediately retaliated with their own list of tariffs on $34 billion of US goods.  Read More

EU research funders announce plan to implement aggressive open access requirements
7 September 2018

National research funding agencies from 11 European countries announced the launch of "Plan S," an initiative that will require all publications resulting from projects they support to be published in “compliant” open access journals or platforms starting in 2020. The group implementing the plan, known as "cOAlition S," includes leading funders such as UK Research and Innovation and the French National Research Agency.   Read More

OSTP Director nominee Kelvin Droegemeier receives bipartisan backing at Senate hearing
23 August 2018

University of Oklahoma meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier received broad, bipartisan praise from senators at a hearing on his nomination to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Droegemeier repeatedly stressed that science must be free from political influence and outlined his views on growing global R&D competition, particularly from China.  Read More

Read Droegemeier's opening statement from the hearing.

National Photonics Initiative applauds Senate Commerce Committee approval of quantum legislation
1 August 2018

The National Photonics Initiative is praising a bipartisan vote in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to advance S. 3143, The National Quantum Initiative Act. The Committee unanimously voted to report the NQI Act, with important changes suggested by the NPI to enhance the bill’s effectiveness, to the chamber floor. The Senate Committee action follows bipartisan approval of similar legislation in the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in June.

Read the full press release from the National Photonics Initiative.

Trump picks Meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier to lead White House Science Office
1 August 2018

President Trump’s choice of meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has received widespread acclaim. Droegemeier has longstanding ties to the National Science Foundation and has contributed extensively to science policy at the national and state levels.   Read More

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