WASHINGTON, May 18 -- Increased, balanced federally funded research and development is critical to the nation's future, representatives of the OSA and SPIE (Optical Society of America; International Society for Optical Engineering) told Congress last week.
The delegates joined more than 200 scientists, engineers and business leaders who visited Capitol Hill as part of the tenth annual Congressional Visits Days, sponsored by the Science-Engineering-Technology Work Group (SETWG), an information network comprising professional, scientific and engineering societies, higher education associations, institutions of higher learning and trade associations.
OSA and SPIE discussed with Congress members the importance of investments in science, engineering and technology to homeland security, defense, education and innovation and their significance to optics and photonics.
Highlights of the two-day event included remarks by leading science administrators in the federal government, including Kathie Olsen, associate director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy; and Hratch G. Semerjian, acting director of the National Institute for Standards & Technology; David Goldston, chief of staff for the House Science Committee; and Bill Bonvillian, legislative director in the office of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT).
According to OSA, more than 50 percent of all industrial innovation and growth in the US since World War II can be attributed to advances pioneered through scientific research, and publicly funded R&D was the foundation for today’s scientific and technological progress. Examples of scientific and technological advances that can be traced to federally funded science, engineering and technology include global environmental monitoring, lasers, liquid crystal displays and the Internet. Science, engineering and technology are vital for the safety and security of our citizens and crucial for ensuring our economic well-being, OSA and SPIE said.
Elizabeth A. Rogan, OSA executive director, said, "Innovation is a phenomenally important part of the US economy, and federal R&D funding of the programs that support this innovation is the only way for these advancements to occur. OSA’s and SPIE’s efforts during Congressional Visits Days drove home that message and provided many members of Congress with insights into the importance of optics and photonics as part of that innovation and the new technologies enabled because of it."
For more information, visit: www.osa.org