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Policy Programs Events

OSA Public Policy Programs & Events

An important goal within OSA is to maintain a presence in the public policy arena. In order to achieve this goal, OSA has set up a variety of public policy programs designed increase awareness of the importance of the optics and photonics field, particularly as it relates to scientific R&D, education and energy. If you are interested in participating in any of these events or programs, please contact a member of the OSA government relations team.

Capitol Hill Visits

OSA provides several opportunities for members to visit directly with their senators and representatives. Legislators rely upon the expressed views of their constituents, the information of experts, and their own opinions to make important decisions. As a constituent and a scientist or engineer, you can make a difference in funding levels for research & development, energy or science education.

Congressional Fellowships

OSA co-sponsors two Congressional Fellowships - one with the Materials Research Society and one with SPIE. Fellows spend one year in Washington, D.C. working as a special legislative assistant on the staff of a member of Congress or Congressional committee, beginning each year in September. The fellowships are designed to provide a unique way for scientists and engineers to become involved in the policymaking process on Capitol Hill. Applications are due in January of each year.

OSA Advocate of Optics Recognition

Every year, the OSA Public Policy Council chooses to recognize an outstanding public official, either domestically or abroad, who demonstrates leadership and efforts in support of the advancement of the science of light.

OSA members are invited to send in nominations for OSA's Advocate of Optics program. The selected candidate is evaluated on his/her enthusiasm for science and science policy, level of familiarity with optics and photonics, level of interaction with OSA or OSA members in the past year, and record of consistent support of science, optics and photonics. The recipient is chosen by a subcommittee of OSA's Public Policy Council (one or more recipients may be chosen in any year).

OSA Public Policy Council

The OSA Public Policy Council is a standing leadership committee of The Optical Society, tasked with strengthening member involvement in OSA public policy activities, monitoring science policy issues and legislation in the U.S. Congress, coordinating with other societies to promote the importance of R&D funding and other science policy issues, and building a presence on Capitol Hill, among others.

Coalition Partners

OSA partners with several other scientific, university and business organizations to achieve our common goal of advancing scientific research, education and innovation. These coalitions allow us to pool our resources, creating a stronger influence on policy makers, industry leaders and interested parties. Coalition activities include urging policy makers to strengthen investments in science research, education and innovation; staging annual Congressional Visit Days and; providing outreach and education materials for members of the public.

CapitolJoin the Optics Legislative Network - OSA's grassroots email list. Sign up today.

Note: Non-OSA members can sign up for the OLN by emailing


Stay up-to-date on the latest U.S. science and technology policy news by reading OSA's Washington Updates.