ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The University of Rochester was awarded $1 million and was selected as a finalist for a major science competition for its laser research.

The National Science Foundation chose UR as a finalist in order to develop its proposal to supercharge laser tech research in the Rochester area. The university can also compete for up to $160 million in federal investment toward the research.

UR’s proposal is named “A Rochester Innovation Engine for Advancing the Science, Technology, and Engineering of Lasers and Laser Applications Research.” The project, according to the university, is to advance the technology of lasers for manufacturing, biomedical, and scientific uses.

The investment was announced Thursday by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Congressman Joe Morelle, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who all said that funding projects like this will not only bring jobs to the Rochester area but make the region a leader in technology.

“Majority Leader Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and I have long said that Rochester’s unique expertise and world-class academic institutions, like the University of Rochester, put us in a strong position to lead the nation in high-tech innovation,” said Congressman Morelle. “This award is further proof of the extraordinary work our community is doing and the limitless potential Rochester holds.”

“The University of Rochester is a national leader in cutting-edge laser research,” added Sen. Gillibrand. “This funding will help the university continue to make important scientific advancements and bring good-paying jobs to the Rochester region. I’m proud to have worked to pass the CHIPS and Science Bill to help secure this funding and I wish U of R luck in the next round of the competition.”

The investment comes from the NSF’s Regional Innovation Engines Program, with investments going towards institutions that conduct research and development into economic or societal solutions. This investment, according to NSF, will transform Rochester into the nation’s hub for laser research and development.

“This would revolutionize Rochester’s tech workforce, creating new programs from technical education at our community colleges for manufacturing careers to helping train the next generation of our nation’s top scientific minds, all while helping attract new employers and creating good-paying jobs,” Schumer said.

The university’s project will also create new opportunities for college-based technical education, establish laser facilities for startup companies, and define solutions for challenges in laser technology.

Latest in Science: