Member News - August 2020

Industry Member News

03 August, 2020

Read about Startups and Small Businesses, How to Get Involved in the Quantum Conversation, Special Events, New Reports and Other Noteworthy News, Opinions & Opportunities

OSA Corporate Member Newsletter

In this Issue:

OSA COVID-19 Message

OSA is focused on keeping our global community safe, informed and connected during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. We remain committed to providing the support our members and customers expect from us and maintaining business operations to deliver new and ongoing programs, products, meetings and services virtually. As we continue to adapt to the new reality, alongside you, OSA is prepared to be a resource to you. Learn more.


Startups and Small Businesses

There is a lot of concern that small businesses are the most vulnerable in this time of pandemic and economic recession. Small businesses supply a wide range of specialty products and much of the innovation in the industry, but can be heavily concentrated in a few customers, and without the financial options that larger companies have. And yet, there are large corporations that are extremely exposed in the current situation; for example, United Airlines saw revenue fall 90% in Q2 2020, and is losing US$ 40 million each day. Fortunately, few companies in our sector are as exposed as those in the travel and hospitality sectors.

Optics and photonics companies may be interested to compare themselves with those in other sectors. A weekly U.S. Census Bureau survey of small businesses indicates that supply chain disruptions persisted through June. The chart below shows affirmative responses to the question whether the small business had supply chain disruptions in the previous week. The good news is that the disruptions declined from nearly half of companies surveyed in April to 1/3 of companies surveyed at the end of June. This is averaged across all U.S. small businesses, however; the globalized optics and photonics sector may have greater disruptions than shown here.

Source: OIDA, from U.S. Census Bureau Small Business Pulse Survey data (2020).

The next figure represents the outlook of the small business survey respondents regarding the return of business to the level of the previous year. The mood seems cautiously optimistic, with half or more expecting business to return within 6 months, if it changed at all. The expectations became slightly less optimistic since mid-May, but note again that the survey is averaged across all U.S. small businesses.

Source: OIDA, from U.S. Census Bureau Small Business Pulse Survey data (2020).

Small businesses are vital to our industry, and that's why OSA is featuring the Luminate Finals 2020 at OSA's Frontiers in Optics (FiO) annual meeting on 14 September 2020. Luminate is a startup accelerator funded by New York state, aimed at optics and photonics startups that agree to locate in the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York (near Rochester). It is the largest business accelerator for optics and photonics startups. The program at FiO will include a judged pitch panel and US$ 100,000 upon program acceptance, and a chance to win up to US$ 2 million in follow-on funding. Tune in to this online program to see the company pitches and what Luminate is doing to accelerate startup companies.

Also stay tuned to sign up for OIDA's annual "speed dating" SBIR event. This program matches small businesses and U.S. government agencies offering Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants in fast-paced one-on-one meetings. For more information, contact Sakshi Sethi at


How to Get Involved in the Quantum Conversation

OIDA is helping organize several conversations around quantum photonics over the coming months that offer opportunities for diverse voices to participate. Meetings that might have required travel will be conducted online, allowing wider participation, to the benefit of everyone involved.

  • OIDA Quantum Photonics Roadmap Roundtables, at OSA's Frontiers in Optics (FiO) annual meeting, 15-16 September 2020. These are two online discussions to review the requirements on optical components for applications of quantum technology. The first roundtable will focus on quantum communication, particularly quantum key distribution and quantum computer networking. The second will focus on quantum sensors, such as optical clocks, gravimeters, and magnetometers. The aim of the event is to assess and revise, if necessary, the requirements described in the document published this year, OIDA Quantum Photonics Roadmap—Every Photon Counts. The event will feature experts invited to offer their perspectives, and attendees will also be encouraged to participate in the interactive discussion. Registration is free but please RSVP for this program within the registration portal for the annual meeting, here. OSA's annual meeting will also feature the inaugural Quantum 2.0 conference (here)
  • OIDA Quantum Photonics Roadmap Roundtable—at Photonics Days Berlin-Brandenburg, 7 October 2020, organized by the OptTecBB local photonics cluster. This online roundtable will continue the discussion of the requirements on optical components for applications of quantum technology, considering a wide range of applications, while focusing on specific optical components such as lasers, detectors, and integrated photonics. The aim of the event is to assess and revise, if necessary, the requirements described in the document published this year, OIDA Quantum Photonics Roadmap—Every Photon Counts. The event will feature experts invited to offer their perspectives, and attendees will also be encouraged to participate in the interactive discussion. The event will be in English and registration is free. For more information, see here.

  • OIDA Webinar: Quantum Photonics Roadmap. Did you miss our webinar on the quantum photonics roadmap on 8 July 2020? It presented highlights from the roadmap and the context to understand it, and an update on government funding of quantum research. You can watch the recording here.

David Lang, OSA Senior Director of Government Affairs at OIDA Webinar on Quantum Photonics Roadmap.

OIDA published the roadmap in 2020 in collaboration with Corning Incorporated. OIDA members can download the report at Non-members can now download the report at


What Will the Pandemic do to University Research?

OIDA has reported on the effect of the pandemic on the optics and photonics industry in previous issues of the OIDA newsletter, but what about the effect on optics and photonics research in universities? It won’t be good, for sure, but optics and photonics may fare better than other fields, similar to the prognosis for the optics and photonics industry overall. But performance will vary from place to place, with many institutions and programs vulnerable to budget cuts.

In brighter news, the United Kingdom has plans to increase government spending on R&D to GBP 22 billion per year by 2024-2025. It aims for overall R&D investment from the U.K. economy to be at 2.4% of GDP by 2027, from 1.7% today. A report released 1 July 2020 (here) provides detail on the path to that end.

In the European Union, an early proposal for the Horizon Europe R&D program aimed for funding of €120 billion, spread over 2021-2017. That target was cut to €94 billion in 2018, and to €86 billion in the most recent position from the President of the European Council. When adjusted for inflation, that would be flat with the previous program, Horizon 2020.

In the U.S., funding for university research has been declining as a share of GDP for many years, to a level below U.K. and many other countries with major R&D economies (see figure and here). This year's budget from President Trump aimed for cuts of 8.4% to federal military and non-military R&D (here). The associated legislation is moving slowly through Congress, with only two months to reach a deadline of 1 October for the start of the new fiscal year. On the other hand, emergency legislation in response to the pandemic added US$ 14.5 billion in funds to research agencies so far this fiscal year. Meanwhile, the outcome of the upcoming presidential election will be important to budgets in fiscal year 2022 and beyond, as well as for visa regulations for students and researchers and many other issues that overlap our community.

Government funding for university R&D as a share of GDP, 2017 (ITIF).

What of the financial condition of the universities? There were over 1 million international students studying in the U.S. before the pandemic, with that enrollment thrown into disarray by the crisis and changing visa policies. Now, there is talk of cuts of 10% to 20% or more as universities tighten budgets. While elite private universities will feel some pain, they will survive the current academic year and recover in the aftermath. Publicly-funded state universities will also survive, but may have to make hard choices as out-of-state and international enrollment declines and government tax revenues fall. Some universities may choose to favor programs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) that offer opportunities for outside R&D funding and jobs for graduates. Caught in the middle are mid-tier private schools, particularly smaller liberal arts schools that have high tuition and high costs but no taxpayer support.

In the U.K. too, a recent government report (here) found that the pandemic has created a substantial financial risk to its universities, in part due to declining international student enrollment. It found that 13 universities with about 5% of the students will not remain financially viable without a government rescue and debt restructuring. Some campuses may have to merge or even close.

University programs in optics and photonics, and government funding for them, may be in a better position than other fields. But everyone will have to justify their funding, and budget decisions will not necessarily track with past performance or the promise of future payoffs. It's in all of our interests to support continued funding of research and education in optics and photonics.

For more information on OSA's public policy advocacy efforts, see here, or contact David Lang, Senior Director of Government Relations, here.


Welcome New OIDA Members








Announcing the OIDA Virtual Technology Showcase—a Unique Technology Presentation, Discussion & Networking Event

Looking for information about the latest technologies? Join us online 11:00 — 13:00 EDT Tuesday 18 August — Thursday 20 August and get an in-depth look as OIDA member companies present and explain their cutting-edge technologies. One hour of presentations will be followed by an hour of networking and discussion.

Tuesday, 18 August

Wednesday, 19 August

Thursday, 20 August

Take a look at the full schedule, participating companies and speakers — register now to participate in one or all of the sessions and networking events. There's no travel, no jetlag, just plenty of information!


Luminate Finals 2020 Event to be Held at FiO

This year, the Luminate Finals 2020 will be presented as part of FiO + LS. Luminate is the only international startup accelerator focused solely on next-generation optics, photonics and imaging (OPI). Luminate brings visionary entrepreneurs from around the globe together with OPI pioneers and qualified investors to speed innovation and time to market. It's also providing early-stage companies with the capital necessary to further develop their technologies. FiO + LS is honored to host the 2020 virtual presentation of the annual competition, as 10 start-ups compete for opportunities to win up to US$ 2 million in follow-on funding.

Free registration for the Luminate event includes four days of science and applications programming for FiO and the OSA Quantum 2.0 Conference, both of which will be presented concurrently.


New! Two OIDA Quantum Roadmap Roundtables at FiO

You are invited to attend two online quantum discussions at the OSA Frontiers in Optics Conference. These two OIDA roundtables will review the requirements for optical components for applications of quantum technology.

Registration includes a week's worth of FiO programming and the OSA Quantum 2.0 Conference, which will also take place at FiO.

Learn more about quantum photonics and navigate the path ahead with the OIDA Quantum Photonics Roadmap report. The report is available to OIDA Members at and to non-members at OIDA's recent webinar on quantum is also now available for on-demand viewing here.


Virtual Laser Applications Conference at the OSA Laser Congress—Registration is Now Open

There is no cost to participate as an attendee. (Contributing authors (oral talks and posters) pay a US$ 100 presentation fee.) The Laser Congress will be held as scheduled in an all-virtual, web conference format. Technical sessions will be presented live from the Eastern Daylight Time Zone (EDT) with a recorded archive available later for on-demand viewing. You must register in advance to receive the web link to access virtual session rooms.

The Laser Applications Conference (LAC) is an all invited speaker format for industry in Laser Applications at the OSA Laser Congress. This 3-day meeting focuses on two main topic areas — Materials Processing and Applications for High Power Lasers. At LAC, you'll be immersed in an innovative learning environment that introduces new, groundbreaking information, offers insightful knowledge, showcases cutting-edge products and engages your active participation in important debates and discussions.

This is a unique opportunity to learn from leaders in Applied Industrial R&D.

View the LAC invited speakers and plenary speaker Jan Kleinert, Research Director at Electro-Scientific Industries (ESI), a division of MKS, and member of the Office of Chief Technology Officers at MKS. Register today.


RSVP for Virtual OIDA Member Benefit Orientation

RSVP for OIDA's member benefit overview orientation. This is an opportunity to learn more about key membership benefits you and your company should be taking advantage of and explore how to maximize performance and grow your business.

Whether you have been an active member for years and need a quick refresh or are transitioning to the new OIDA membership model — this orientation is a must-attend! Please feel free to share this with your colleagues. When you join OIDA, everyone at your organization becomes a member.


OSA Applied Industrial Optics Webinar Series — Now Available On-Demand

This year's AIO meeting was transitioned to an AIO Webinar Series, comprised of three, 60-minute programs—one for each day the meeting was scheduled. These webinars are now available for on-demand viewing at no cost.

Mark your calendar to attend AIO in person next year 26-28 July 2021 at OSA headquarters in Washington, DC, USA.


New Digital Programming Now Available On-Demand

OIDA management and OIDA members have produced a series of webinars that are available at no charge. We encourage you to browse our growing list of upcoming events and view on-demand webinar recordings as they become available. And there is much more! Check out the OSA We Are On webpage for more high quality webinars on career development from the OSA Foundation and the OSA Career Lab.


Invitation to Join the OIDA Optics and Photonics Industry LinkedIn Group

Join 3,500+ of your colleagues in our OIDA Optics & Photonics Industry Network LinkedIn Group. This one-of-a-kind Forum for Industry lets you participate in discussions about cutting-edge issues. Extend your professional network. Exchange information about problems, ideas and solutions. Collaborate with experts in your field. Now is the perfect time to build a relationship with fellow optics and photonics professionals!


Link Now...


Questions or Suggestions about OIDA Member Benefits?

We are committed to ensuring the value of your OSA Industry Development Associates Membership, so please email OIDA if you have any suggestions for new programs or comments on your membership.

Forward this message to your colleagues.

Not yet a member? Learn more about the benefits of membership.


OIDA (OSA Industry Development Associates) Council
Thank you to the volunteers who oversee the programs and services available to the Industry Community.

  • Simin Cai,
    Go!Foton, Chair
  • Claudio Mazzali,
    Corning Research &
    Development Corp, Past Chair
  • John Dexheimer,
    LightWave Advisors, Inc.
  • Turan Erdogan,
    Plymouth Grating
    Laboratory, Inc.
  • Amy Eskilson,
    Inrad Optics
  • Christoph S. Harder,
  • Anjul Loiacono,
    Thorlabs Inc.
  • Rick Plympton,
    Optimax Systems, Inc.
  • Debbie Wilson,
    Lumentum Operations Inc.