For Immediate Release - August 13, 2015

Massachusetts Wins First U.S. Integrated Photonics Institute

MIT and Quinsigamond Community College will be collaborating partners in manufacturing innovation

Boston – Thursday, August 13, 2015 – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration is pleased to announce that Massachusetts will be a partner in the country’s first Integrated Photonics Institute in Manufacturing Innovation.

The photonics institute is a national, $600 million public-private partnership awarded through the federal National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) competition. New York’s SUNY Polytechnic Institute will lead the NNMI project nationally.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Quinsigamond Community College (QCC), with support from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, are collaborating partners in the photonics innovation institute. MIT will lead the application of new photonics technology to leading-edge clusters such as health care technology, robotics, cyber security, and advanced manufacturing. Quinsigamond will be the center’s national community college leader in training middle-skill workers in applied photonics. This is the Commonwealth’s first successful NNMI proposal.

“This partnership is key to developing the revolutionary technologies that will underpin the next wave of advanced manufacturing in Massachusetts, and ensure the competitiveness of our manufacturing sector as a whole,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are harnessing education and innovation to build a platform for economic growth across Massachusetts. I look forward to seeing the continued great work from our Commonwealth’s innovation and education communities, and participating in this national center with our neighbors in New York.”

“I am excited about Massachusetts’s role in this innovative partnership, and I am thrilled that Quinsigamond Community College will be a national leader in translating cutting-edge photonics research to workforce development,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Through this innovative partnership, we are using our state’s leadership in advanced research to transform our manufacturing sector, and train an advanced manufacturing workforce.”

“The NNMI program is an important investment in translating applied research into tomorrow’s industrial base,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “We will continue to compete for these federal awards, because a vibrant advanced manufacturing sector is a key component to our state’s continued economic vitality.”

“We are proud that Quinsigamond Community College will be the center’s national community college leader in training middle-skill workers in these new technologies,” said Education Secretary Jim Peyser. “This public-private partnership will highlight some of the best innovation and technological advances that higher education in Massachusetts has to offer.”

“Manufacturing is a key driver of employment in Massachusetts, and we are working to do all we can to support its growth,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ronald Walker II. “The key to job creation and economic development in the Commonwealth is collaboration. We hear from manufacturers around the state, as we try to address a skills gap, that creating partnerships is vital to ensuring a pipeline of skilled workers.”

“This is great news on a number of fronts,” MIT Provost Martin Schmidt said. “Photonics holds the key to advances in computing, and its pursuit will engage and energize research and economic activity from Rochester, New York, to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and beyond. MIT faculty are excited to contribute to this effort.”

Quinsigamond Community College will be a key partner in the workforce development aspect of this partnership. The college is the center’s national community college lead for a curriculum to train workers in photonics-based technologies. The training infrastructure will be located in Southbridge, building on that region’s longstanding photonics cluster. MIT will help shape the partnership with expertise centered on technical innovation, workforce development and continuing education training efforts.

“Quinsigamond Community College is thrilled to be a national partner and lead the Community College Network,” said Dr. Gail Carberry, President of QCC. “The Network, led by Dr. Dale Allen, QCC Vice President for Community Engagement, will support the creation of industry recognized modules for accelerated, stackable certificates in pathways to 1-, 2-, 4-, or 6-year certificates or degrees. We will lead this national network to provide training and technical assistance related to the project, as well as share the curricula nationally. Our work will revitalize local economies and help restore the advanced manufacturing bases of our local communities, and our country, to prosperity.”

The National Network for Manufacturing Institutes (NNMI) is a rolling series of federally sponsored advanced manufacturing competitions. NNMI competitions seek to spur research into cutting-edge technologies that can be applied to advanced manufacturing processes. Bidders in the competitions frequently form teams of universities across different states, with regional nodes supporting the lead bidder. The federal awards, which come from the Department of Defense, are leveraged several times over through a series of state and industry matches.

As part of the national $600 million public-private partnership in photonics, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development will work closely with MIT to ensure that current and future investments by the Commonwealth support and leverage the federal investment in this cluster, and that the expertise of this innovation center is made available to industries throughout the state.

This five-year award is part of the Baker-Polito administration’s ongoing commitment to advancing manufacturing in Massachusetts. The administration’s fiscal year 2016 capital budget makes up to $15 million available for NNMI matching funds.