Scientific Society Announces International Coalition to Advance Optics and Photonics Initiatives

28 March 2017
Top Scientific Society Announces International Coalition to Advance Global Optics and
Photonics Initiatives
OSA launches International Photonics Advocacy Coalition during a workshop among EU scientists and policy leaders    
BRUSSELS – The Optical Society (OSA), a leading international scientific society, today announced the formation of the International Photonics Advocacy Coalition (IPAC), a global initiative that brings together experts from industry, academia and government to educate policymakers and influencers about photonics technologies; collaborate and coordinate among industry, government and academia to advance knowledge of photonics technologies; and advocate for funding for optics and photonics initiatives. IPAC was launched in conjunction with a workshop hosted by OSA in Brussels, Belgium that brought together scientific and policy leaders from the European Union (EU) to discuss the development of technologies to measure and monitor the global environment.
“Optics and photonics contributes significantly to the global economy, enabling much of our modern-day world,” said Tom Baer, IPAC chair and past-president of The Optical Society. “As a global organization, The Optical Society is uniquely positioned to lead this international effort that serves to unite the optics and photonics community around public policy platforms that transcend borders, offer opportunities for collaboration and benefit the industry worldwide.”
Optics and photonics – the science and application of light – enables industries from communications to manufacturing, diagnostics to aerospace. As an entry point for international, collaborative photonics work, IPAC will focus on global environmental measurement and monitoring, an area of significant importance with great potential for global unity and advocacy. International efforts – including the Paris Agreement – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water quality, pollutants, biohazards and industrial waste are all pressing environmental issues that require monitoring and measuring technologies. IPAC will focus on encouraging international public and private investment and collaboration on the development of optics and photonics technology providing the basis for measuring and monitoring key environmental variables impacting quality of life.
Allister I. Ferguson FRSE FIEEE, University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom said during the meeting, “Precise and comprehensive sensing technologies are needed for countries to make more informed policy and economic decisions. Advancing technologies that strengthen and support global climate monitoring systems is critical to the new, low-carbon economy.”
Beyond global environmental measurement and monitoring, IPAC will also work to integrate optical sciences and technologies into global quantum science and technology initiatives in an effort to will advance this new area more efficiently and productively. Recent discoveries in the new area of quantum information science has inspired a global quantum revolution as countries realize the potential to translate such discoveries into valuable, real-world technologies including improved security and privacy in the digital communications systems; enhanced navigation in demanding environments; advanced sensors for geological resource exploration; and superior computational capabilities for complex simulations and modeling of new pharmaceutical drugs and solar-energy-harvesting materials.
“The translation of research science into the development of technologies that improve our understanding of the world in which we live is what drives the global optics and photonics community,” added Baer. “As a coordinated, global initiative, IPAC will elevate opportunities for technology solutions broadly and highlight the importance of strategic private and public investments in photonics research and development.”
Aside from the meeting in Brussels, IPAC will host additional workshops in Asia (31 July 2017) and North America (date TBD) that will serve to bring together academia and industry as well as the policy community to present ideas for recommendations in support of global environmental measurement and monitoring. Perspectives presented during these meetings will be captured a white paper for distribution to international policy leaders.
About The Optical Society (OSA)
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit
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