Photonics Attraction Fund

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New York State has dedicated $30 million for a Photonics Attraction Fund (PAF) to encourage companies to setup or expand their manufacturing operations for integrated photonics technologies in the Greater Rochester area. The PAF program was established in 2018 as part of the $250 million commitment by NYS to the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics), which is a Rochester-based Manufacturing USA institute sponsored by the Department of Defense.

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New York State is restoring its legacy as a leader in technology and innovation by making locally-driven investments in frontier technologies. In Greater Rochester – also known as the Finger Lakes region – the Finger Lakes Forward strategic plan for economic growth focuses on the region’s strong industry cluster of optics, photonics and imaging (OPI) that helped attract AIM Photonics.

To establish AIM Photonics, New York has committed $250 million to build a new Testing, Assembly and Packaging (TAP) facility at the Eastman Business Park (EBP) in Rochester, equip it with state of the art tools, create photonic wafers at the SUNY Poly Nanofab in Albany, and to operate AIM for five-years. With these investments, the State has set the stage for AIM Photonics to be the cornerstone of an expanded OPI industry in the Finger Lakes.

Building on the progress to date, the State is taking the next step in its strategic approach to fuel the growth of the photonics cluster economy with the $30 million Photonics Attraction Fund. This State funding will leverage investments in AIM Photonics to bring the businesses and the jobs of tomorrow to the Finger Lakes region.

The PAF is complimented by Luminate NY – a $10 million commitment by NYS to establish the world’s largest OPI accelerator, which conducts an annual competition to invest $100,000 to $1 million in companies that commercialize next-gen OPI technologies in Rochester. Learn more at

Funding for the PAF and Luminate is part of the Upstate Revitalization Initiative and overseen by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council.

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Eligible applicants include businesses that manufacture products using integrated photonics technologies or provide services to the integrated photonic industry:

  • Manufacturer of photonics integrated circuits (PIC);
  • Manufacturer of systems that include PICs; or
  • Company that provides services to the PIC industry.

Applicants must commit to establishing or expanding their manufacturing operations in the greater Rochester area (Finger Lakes region of NYS) and must demonstrate the adequacy of its resources, experience, and past performance.

Eligible entities can apply for incentive grants that can assist with construction, expansion and rehabilitation of facilities; acquisition of machinery and equipment; working capital; and/or the training of full-time permanent employees. Grant awards will typically require agreed-upon employment levels to be maintained for at least five years and operation in the greater Rochester area.

Project applications will be evaluated based on private investment and employment impact, among other potential economic benefits to AIM and the region’s OPI industry. PAF grants will typically total no more than 20% of eligible project costs, with priority given to projects bringing higher levels of private funding and higher quality and levels of employment.

Companies receiving a PAF grant must have a formal relationship with AIM Photonics, which could include an AIM membership and/or an agreement to utilize the TAP facility or another AIM resource.

Project applications and funding will be administered by Empire State Development. All projects will also be reviewed for approval by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, NYS Photonics Board of Officers, and AIM Photonics leadership to ensure compliance with the Department of Defense requirements for the institute.

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How to Apply

Consolidated Funding Application

Contact Information
For more information and to initiate an application, contact the ESD Finger Lakes Regional Office.