OSA CEO Testifies on Capitol Hill about Importance of Sustained R&D Funding

Lyndsay Meyer
The Optical Society

OSA CEO Testifies on Capitol Hill about Importance of Sustained R&D Funding

WASHINGTON, March 21, 2013—Testifying on Capitol Hill today, the Optical Society’s (OSA) CEO Elizabeth Rogan called for sustained federal investments in research and development (R&D) funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Rogan testified before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies which has jurisdiction over NIST and NSF’s budgets.
“NIST and NSF are two agencies critical to strengthening the optics and photonics industry. Both make significant investments in the field and we’re already seeing the benefits of these programs,” said Rogan in her testimony.
Rogan’s testimony focused on the importance of sustained federal investments in science – and optics and photonics in particular – supporting research that drives manufacturing innovation, improved communication technologies, increased solar energy efficiency, and much more. She also referred to the National Academy of Sciences’ landmark report discussing the current state of optical sciences and goals for the future – Optics & Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation. One of the key recommendations of the report is to engage U.S. industry, government and academia in the design and oversight of R&D and related programs that include federal as well as industry funding. OSA and other professional scientific societies are working to move the recommendations of the report forward, including the ultimate goal of establishing a National Photonics Initiative or NPI. 
“Science and engineering research, whether conducted in the private sector, at a university or within a federal agency or laboratory, requires long-term predictability and a sustained, coordinated effort to produce positive results,” said Rogan in her testimony. “The research being done in the field of optics and photonics makes possible everything from life-saving medical imaging devices and solar energy to high-speed Internet connections, computer chips and LEDs, to laser cutting for manufacturing.  In short, optics and photonics are essential to solving problems, enabling innovation, facilitating economic growth and improving lives.”
The subcommittee hearing was focused on the fiscal year 2014 budget, and is designed to allow representatives from relevant organizations to share their insights. Rogan’s full testimony is available on the OSA website. More information about the hearing and the appropriations process is available on the Appropriations Committee’s website.

About OSA

Uniting more than 180,000 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.