Industry

Industry Advocacy

Optica encourages its members to stay informed and get involved in of science policy.

     

As the leading association in optics and photonics, Optica advocates for its members and the community within Optica's global policy and affairs effort. 


Several public policy issues consistently rise to the top of Optica member priorities:

Increased funding for optics and photonics R&D, training and education.

Public funding of fundamental and other pre-competitive research in optics and photonics is essential for the development of new products and solutions, and for a continued supply of a trained workforce for the industry.  However, public funding of optics and photonics R&D is continually threatened by tight budgets and priorities that shift funding toward other R&D topics.  And, optics and photonics companies are facing a shortage of workers trained in optics and STEM subjects across all levels, from optical technicians to PhDs.

Commerce-friendly trade and export regulation.

Optics and photonics companies participate in global supply chains, and many optics and photonics companies are themselves spread across continents.  Fair and sensible trade policies and export regulations strike the balance between national interests and the benefits and realities of global free trade.  Trade policies should include the protection of intellectual property, to nurture a thriving marketplace.

Support for SMEs.

Support is especially important for small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) that lack the resources and financing to invest in large scale projects.  SMEs also face disproportionately higher costs to comply with certain policies, such as export regulations, and have a smaller voice in the policymaking process.

Support for the manufacturing ecosystem. 

OIDA supports initiatives aimed at filling gaps in the manufacture of innovative optics and photonics products.  The capital investment for some advanced technologies are prohibitive for small businesses, particularly during product development when manufacturing volumes are small.  Examples of pilot lines and multi-user services that help bridge these gaps include PIXAPP and JePPIX in Europe, and AIM Photonics Institute and BRIDG in the U.S.

Infrastructure funding that accelerates the adoption of innovative optics and photonics technologies. 

Many promising technologies are market-ready but lack a well-financed “champion” to launch the market.  Government policies and procurements from large customers can launch technologies by creating demand for products with unified technical specifications.  Past examples have included Telcordia qualification requirements for telecom products, U.S. milspec standards, and mandates for safety features in automobiles.  Future opportunities could fiber optic sensors for security and monitoring in smart structures, and optics-based environmental monitors, to name just two examples.


Optica and its members also advocate for other policies, such as: adoption of fair and transparent travel and work visa policies, assuring sustainable access to strategic optical materials, and reform of R&D tax policies.   

Optica builds relationships with policymakers and keep policymakers informed about the importance and value of optics and photonics in their communities.  We engage with members and work to build coalitions on specific topics that are brought to our attention.  Optica's volunteers and professional staff provide testimony to lawmakers, and serve on advisory committees.  Optica helps fund engineers and scientists in policymaking positions through the annual awards of U.S. Congressional Fellowships.  It recognizes policymakers through Optica's annual Advocate of Optics recognition.  And, Optica disseminates information to members about key policy issues and events and relevant grant opportunities. 

Optica also supports the advocacy conducted through its memberships and partnerships with coalitions such as the International Day of Light, World Science Day, U.S. Science and Engineering Festival, the U.S. National Photonics Initiative, Photonics21, and the International Photonics Advocacy Coalition (IPAC).  And, Optica provides advocacy support to other national photonics trade associations, local and regional photonics industry clusters, and Optica chapters and sections. 


How to get involved

Effective science and technology policy requires input from our members and community.  Optica offers many advocacy opportunities to advance public policy from the local to the national and international levels.  Getting involved is easy and can range from sending emails to U.S. policymakers to visiting Washington DC or your country’s science ministry. 

One of the most valuable ways is to meet face to face with policymakers and their staff.  This involves sharing stories of job creation and other benefits to the community, and ways that public policies affect optics and photonics companies.  Optica can help members to set up visits between members and policymakers on relevant issues and solutions, or to invite policymakers to make site visits to company facilities.

Connect and Take Action Stay Informed

Priority Registration to Congressional Visits Day in Washington, D.C.

Policy makers rely on outside experts to keep them informed on important issues. As prominent district constituents, industry members act as effective advocates on the hill.

Educate elected officials about the importance of optics and photonics, especially as it relates to increased R&D funding.

Global Policy & Affairs Updates

Keep track of game-changing developments with our regularly updated news briefs, tracking important science policy issues that affect optics and photonics markets.

Assistance in Organizing Company Facility Visits by In-District Congressional Representatives

Plan ahead and show your local policymakers your value!

The opportunity to engage with your technology is often new for policymakers and district staff, creating a very impressionable experience and strong connections for future work.

If you are interested in scheduling a visit with your federal legislator(s) in your state, please contact the Optica Global Policy & Affairs team at publicaffairs@optica.org.

As a resource, the National Photonics Initiative, which Optica is a cofounding sponsor, has a helpful district visits toolkit

Public Affairs News

Know when to take action with grassroots e-mail notifications of imminent science policy issues.

Alerts inform Optics Legislative Network (OLN) members of upcoming Hill visit opportunities, when to contact their legislators about important issues, and recaps of science policy happenings in Washington, D.C.

Sign up through your Optica membership account under participation or you can email publicaffairs@optica.org.

Take Action Center

As key drivers of the local economy, input from companies is a highly valued and unique perspective for policymakers. Use the Take Action Center to:

  • Enter your zip code and find your representatives.
  • Collectively contact decision makers for higher impact.
  • Learn about policy issues and legislation affecting the STEM community

National Photonics Initiative

In 2012, the US National Research Council released a report calling for a National Photonics Initiative (NPI) -- a partnership between government, academia and industry to focus attention and funding on photonics research and development.

Heeding the call, Optica and four society partners brought together more than 100 experts to assemble recommendations to help guide US funding and investment in five key photonics-driven fields. New opportunities in these fields offer the potential for great societal impact in the next few decades.

Sign-up for NPI updates on R&D funding news.

For more information on Optica's global policy and affairs’s efforts and how to get involved, please contact publicaffairs@optica.org.