Peter Atherton

Program Director


Peter Atherton joined the U.S. National Science Foundation as an SBIR/STTR program director in 2013 with a broad background in the physical sciences and extensive experience in technology development and commercialization. Before joining NSF, Peter was the original CEO, and most recently chief technology officer, of MIKOH Corporation Ltd., a publicly traded company that he founded in Sydney, Australia. While at MIKOH, he was instrumental in developing and commercializing technologies in a range of fields, including diffractive optics, laser-based marking, radio frequency identification and internet-based personal authentication. Prior to MIKOH, Peter spent approximately seven years at the Overseas Telecommunications Commission in Australia, where he managed optical fiber communications research and development, including approximately 14 months at BT's Martlesham Heath R&D laboratories in the U.K. While at OTC, his research group made world-leading advances in high-speed optical communications technologies, some of which were commercialized via spinoff companies. He also managed the externally contracted development and commercialization of several optical fiber and optoelectronic technologies and was instrumental in establishing a commercialization center for specialized optical fibers at the University of Sydney. He moved to the U.S. in 1998 to further develop the company's technologies and markets. Peter holds a doctorate in physics (quantum optics) and a Bachelor of Engineering (mechanical) from the University of Queensland in Australia.