Rochester Photonics Hub

Rochester will be the site of a new integrated photonics manufacturing innovation hub for the United States. Read WXXI News' coverage of this major economic development initiative and what it means for you and the region.

Hundreds of jobs are coming to the Rochester area as a result of the recent push into Photonics, which involves the use of light in robotics, medical imaging, national security and other fields. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo was among the officials making the announcement today at the Eastman Business Park, telling the crowd that two companies, Photonica and Avogy will be coming to Canal Ponds and the Eastman Business Park.

The Finger Lakes Region has received one of the top three awards in the competition for state economic development money, part of the Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

That means the Finger Lakes region, including Rochester, will receive $500 million over five years. The announcement was made in Albany by Governor Andrew Cuomo and other officials.

Local leaders have been focusing on certain industry clusters for the plan they put together for the money, including optics, photonics & imaging; agriculture and food production; and next generation manufacturing.

RIT Studies Photonics Workforce Development

Dec 7, 2015
University of Rochester

Researchers at RIT are using a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to learn how to better prepare students for jobs in the photonics and optics industry.

Post-doctoral researcher Anne Leak said the team is interviewing more than a hundred technicians, engineers, supervisors and human resource personnel to find out what skills are used on the job at small to mid-sized photonics companies in Rochester.        

Governor Cuomo has announced appointments to a seven-member board to help coordinate the state's investment in the National Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Integrated Photonics.

Cuomo says the institute will help secure the nation's leadership in emerging technology research and manufacturing.

The Governor appoints the Chairman and two additional members; SUNY Poly Institute gets 2 appointees and RIT and the University of Rochester each appoint one member.


Bob Duffy, who is  president and CEO of the Rochester Business Alliance, will now have another title. He has been named Chairman of the AIM Photonics Leadership Council, which is tasked with establishing the strategic and technical direction for the $600 million photonics institute that was announced in July.

As chairman, Duffy will be involved in working with industry and government officials as well as strategic planning and management.


Plans are moving ahead with the effort to establish a photonics operation in the Rochester area after Governor Andrew Cuomo  announced a plan on where the various parts of that project would be located.

Cuomo  was brought into the discussions after a public squabble last month over whether the headquarters for the operation should be located at the Sibley Building, or Legacy Tower, the former Bausch and Lomb Building. 

University of Rochester

After wrangling over where the new headquarters for a new photonics institute will go, the announcement was made by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday  that it will be at Legacy Tower, which is the former Bausch and Lomb building.

There was a public squabble last month over whether that headquarters should be located at the Sibley Building, or Legacy Tower, and eventually, University of Rochester President Joel Seligman and SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros issuing a joint statement indicating they would be working together on coordinating the photonics efforts.

We should find out soon where the headquarters for a new Photonics Institute in Rochester will be located. 

That word Wednesday from Governor, when WXXI News asked him during his stop at the Upstate Latino Summit if there was any resolution to the debate.

There was some controversy last month over whether the headquarters for the new institute should be located at the Sibley Building or at Legacy Tower, the former Bausch and Lomb Building. 

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

"Well, for some of us it's been an interesting week."

Danny Wegman's opening remarks at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Counsel were met by laughter from those in attendance.

There has been a very public debate playing out over the last couple days, through statements and press releases by business owners, local leaders, and elected officials. Everyone is weighing in on where the photonics institute should be headquartered.


The ongoing saga about where a headquarters for the new photonics institute will be located continued on Tuesday. In one of the latest statements, there seems to some efforts at conciliation.

That statement was issued jointly by the SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros and University of Rochester President Joel Seligman. It says the two leaders share an unwavering commitment to establishing the headquarters for the photonics initiative in Downtown Rochester.