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Science Policy Issues

Science Policy Issues:  OSA Policy Issue Statements

Statement of Support for Increased Investment in Alternative Energy and Energy Conservation

OSA advocates increased research and development in alternative and efficient energy generation and in energy conservation.  OSA supports government funding and incentives that spur innovation in optics and photonics that enable new energy technologies.   Such technologies are necessary to meet the world’s energy needs, while protecting the environment, strengthening energy security, and driving economic development.

Statement of Support for Increased R&D Funding, Particularly in Optics and Photonics

OSA supports policy statements related to increasing R&D funding, since a robust scientific enterprise benefits economic development and well-being.  More specifically, OSA supports increased funding of science, math, engineering, technology, and basic and applied research and development across all levels of government, with particular emphasis on optics and photonics research and development.  OSA also supports programs that provide funding to small businesses for carrying out technology research and development such as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

Statement of Support for Increased Investment in STEM Education

OSA supports increased federal funding in K-16 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.  OSA recognizes that the future of science rests with today’s children and is thus concerned about student science and math achievement.  OSA is further concerned that future workforce needs will not be met if workers will lack the necessary science and math skills. 

Statement of Support for the Recognition of the Human Rights of Scientists and Engineers

OSA supports the civil liberties and human rights of all scientists and engineers and declares its support for the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To achieve its full potential and to benefit all mankind, scientific progress needs governments to respect basic human rights in order to allow the exchange of scientific information unless otherwise restricted, and to avoid interference with the human rights of scientists and engineers as they carry out their professional work.   See full statement.

Statement of Support for Policies that Strengthen and Highlight the Role of Optics and Photonics in Society

OSA supports and encourages legislation that strengthens the role of optics and photonics in society and that raises awareness of this field among policymakers.

Statement on the Importance of Basing Educational Curricula on Accepted Science

OSA supports the teaching of science in all grades of the educational system with a rigorous adherence to the scientific method where hypotheses are proven by the use of experimental evidence and/or mathematical proof.  Absence of such a rigorous method leads to unsubstantiated statements and claims reflecting individual biases and opinions rather than scientifically proven truths.

Statement of Concern over Delays on the Issuing of Visas for Travel to the U.S.

OSA endorses statements to the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security, imploring them to fix visa backlogs and expedite visa processes for those intending to travel to the United States.   

Statement on U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) and Limitations on Editing of Papers from Select Countries

OSA supports the free exchange of scientific information.  OSA therefore opposes OFAC Transaction Regulations that limit the editing of scientific materials from countries where trade is prohibited. 

Statement of Support for National and International Initiatives in Optics and Photonics

OSA supports the National Academies’ 2012 report on Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for our Nation.  A key recommendation from the report is the creation of a National Photonics Initiative (NPI), which brings together industry, academia and government to advocate for optics and photonics in the US federal government.  OSA is committed to working with other societies to lead this effort. OSA also supports the International Photonics Advocacy Coalition (IPAC) effort to unite the optics and photonics community around public policy platforms that transcend borders, offer opportunities for collaboration and benefit the industry worldwide.

Statement on Open Access to Content Funded by Government or Other Funders

OSA’s mission is to promote the generation, application, and archiving of knowledge in optics and photonics and to disseminate this knowledge worldwide.  To this end, OSA is committed to working with governments and funders around the globe to develop and support sustainable Open Access publishing models.   Such models will enable OSA to maintain the long-term financial viability of the Society and its high-quality peer-reviewed journals, and to ensure continued archiving of its 100+ year old corpus of content.

Statement of Concern over the Lack of Availability of Critical Elemental Materials

OSA recognizes the important role that elemental resources play in modern optics and photonics research, engineering, and manufacturing.  For example, limited supplies of rare earth elements, high purity metals, and liquid helium have led to market disruptions and imbalances.  Industrial practice and governmental policies must be mindful of these needs as they directly impact technological progress across many vital areas.  OSA advocates for consistent access to elemental resources and encourages conservation, sustainable practices, and an open marketplace.

Statement of Support for Increased Investment in Environmental Monitoring

OSA encourages public and private sector investment in optics and photonics technologies that foster global efforts to enhance environmental monitoring and data collection to measure the impact and understand the causes of worldwide changes to the environment and climate. Advancing technologies that strengthen and support global environmental monitoring and sensing systems is critical for assessing the human impact on the environment and for providing accurate data necessary to reduce industrial and natural pollutants and biohazards that affect air, water, and land quality.


Statement of Support for Undergraduate Access to Research Experiences

OSA recommends all colleges and universities provide and facilitate access to research or other experiences for undergraduate STEM majors to enable informed career and post-baccalaureate education choices to help ensure their readiness for the 21st century workplace.


Talking Points on Federal Travel Restrictions for Scientific and Technical Conferences

OSA expresses concern over restrictions on federal employees attending scientific and technical conferences.  Under the current guidelines, as outlined in OMB Memorandum M-12-12 and subsequently OMB Memorandum M-17-08, these practices are having an impact on the nation’s scientists and engineers, future innovation, and America’s ability to compete globally in science and technology.  See full talking points.


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