FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Optical Society
OSA Applauds Science Funding Levels in FY 2012 U.S. Federal Budget
Spending measure passed by Congress increases funding for National Science Foundation and National Institute of Standards in Technology
WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 – The Optical Society (OSA) today praised the U.S. Congress for the passage of H.R. 2112, the minibus appropriations bill for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD); Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration; and Commerce, Justice and Science. The legislation, signed into law by the President this morning, provides the National Science Foundation (NSF) with an FY 2012 budget of $7.03 billion, an increase of $173.23 million from FY 2011, and the National Institute of Standards with $750.8 million, $727,000 above FY 2011.
"Sustaining federal research dollars over the long term is necessary for advancing innovation and ensuring America's economic prosperity in the future,” said OSA CEO Elizabeth Rogan. "Investments in science and technology have long fueled our economic growth and the optics and photonics industry in particular will be a leading source of high-quality manufacturing jobs for America in the future. OSA applauds the commitment to innovation reflected in this budget package and thanks Congress for their efforts.”
OSA has been an advocate for federal investments in research and development (R&D) programs at U.S. science agencies, including the NSF, NIST, and the Department of Energy's Office of Science. Last month, OSA – along with 70 other organizations – signed a letter authored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) urging Congress's Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to avoid cuts to R&D funding in its spending plan. Similarly, in May more than 25 OSA members met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to remind legislators of the critical nature of R&D funding and the impact that decreases in funding have on America's ability to make important science and technology advances.
Included in NSF's FY 2012 appropriations are $5.72 billion for research and related activities (R&RA) programs and $167.06 million for major research equipment and facilities construction (MREFC) funding, both of which are increases over 2011's spending levels. These programs are responsible for the research that led to numerous technologies now commonplace in daily life such as fiber optics, Doppler radar, bar code scanning and the Internet.
Uniting more than 130,000 professionals from 175 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.