U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., announced July 22 that the Department of Defense has chosen Rochester as the location for a new photonics institute, a move that could bring thousands of jobs to the area, he stated.
Rochester had been one of three finalists in a competition President Barack Obama announced in 2012. Locations in Florida and California were also in the running.
The deal will come with $110 million in federal funds, and an additional $250 million in state funding pledged by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo and Vice President Joe Biden are expected to make an official announcement regarding the city’s selection Monday in Rochester.
According to reports, photonics uses light, or photons, in lasers, telecommunications and other technology. Federal officials expect photonics manufacturing to improve Internet speed, medical technology, and radar and battlefield imaging used by the Department of Defense.
U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport, spearheaded the effort to bring local academic and industry leaders together to compete for the photonics plant.
“For more than three years, I’ve been leading our region’s effort to convince the Obama Administration to create a photonics manufacturing institute and build it in Rochester,” Slaughter said in a statement.”With remarkable research universities, robust manufacturing capability, and the most talented workforce in the country, the Rochester region is truly the nation’s leader when it comes to photonics. Three years of tireless work is nearing the finish line, but I won’t be celebrating until an official announcement is made by the Department of Defense. I’ve been proud to work with many partners on this exciting opportunity, and am especially grateful for the support of the University of Rochester, RIT, Majority Leader Joe Morelle, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. I look forward to sharing more details with the community in the days ahead.”
The Rochester area is currently home to an estimated 100 companies already focused on optics and photonics.
The Research Foundation for the State University of New York, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Rochester, and State University of New York Polytechnic Institute were part of the consortium which applied for the institute to be headquartered in New York.