OSA Members Meet with Legislators to Discuss R&D Funding


Lyndsay Meyer
The Optical Society

OSA Members Meet with Legislators to Discuss R&D Funding

OSA Members Meet with Legislators to Discuss R&D Funding

WASHINGTON, June 4 – Members of the Optical Society (OSA) are on Capitol Hill today calling on their elected officials to support continued federal investments in scientific research and development (R&D) for fiscal year (FY) 2010.  More than 30 participants are meeting one-on-one with U.S. senators and representatives and their staff as part of the 2009 Capitol Hill Day event co-sponsored by OSA, the American Physical Society (APS), IEEE-USA and the Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (OIDA).

“As Congress faces tough decisions on what programs to fund and what to cut, it is important for OSA to join with the scientific community to shed light on the importance of sustainable federal funding for R&D,” said Elizabeth Rogan, OSA CEO.  “Our members are in a unique position to share the many solutions that occurred as a result of R&D research.  Innovation has always been a driver of the economy and now, more than ever, today’s scientists need the support of Congress to ensure they can carry out their innovative work.”

Congress is currently meeting to discuss the 12 appropriations bills for all government agencies for FY 2010.  Last month, President Obama unveiled his FY 2010 budget request to Congress.  Included in the request are budgets for three key science agencies – the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science – that were authorized by the America COMPETES Act in 2007 to double their budgets over the course of 10 years (2006 - 2016).  Obama’s FY 2010 request, along with the economic stimulus bill passed in February, keeps these agencies on track to achieve this doubling.  Capitol Hill Day participants will be urging members of Congress to pass budgets for these agencies at or above the President’s request.  Additionally, participants will be asking Congress to reverse the decline in the budgets for the basic and applied research accounts at the Department of Defense.  The President’s budget request for the basic and applied areas are down 2.4 percent and 17 percent, respectively, from the FY 2009 appropriated level.

Participants are visiting nearly 50 offices on Capitol Hill. The event is being held in conjunction with the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics/International Quantum Electronics Conference.

About OSA
Uniting more than 70,000 professionals from 134 countries, the Optical Society (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit www.osa.org .