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OSA, Scientists, Engineers Meet with Lawmakers

Optical Society (OSA) members met Wednesday with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss science policy issues including increased federal investments in R&D and proposed funding levels for fiscal 2013.

The members joined more than 250 scientists, engineers and graduate students as part of the annual Congressional Visits Day (CVD), sponsored by the Science-Engineering-Technology Working Group, to raise visibility and support for science, technology, engineering and mathematics initiatives. CVD educates legislators about the importance of R&D funding and the impact it has on the economy and innovation.

OSA participants met with policymakers and the staffs of about 20 Capitol Hill offices to emphasize the importance of sustained federal investments in science and technology programs at agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the Department of Defense. Members shared personal anecdotes and current research projects, and drew attention to the relationship between federal R&D funding and job creation at their local institutions.

“From handheld displays to solar panels and ever-faster Internet connections, optics and photonics drives economic growth and improves lives,” said OSA CEO Elizabeth Rogan. “OSA members that participate in CVD help reinforce the important message to Congress that sustained R&D funding is vital to lay the foundation that our industry needs to innovate, produce and market the next generation of advanced technology products and services.”

“By engaging our lawmakers face to face and sharing our experiences in the field of optics and photonics, we are able to illustrate the impact of investing in science and technology,” said Adam Zysk of Diagnostic Photonics, OSA’s Public Policy Committee chairman. “Specific examples of federally-funded scientific innovation, explained in terms that an average Hill staffer understands, are powerful tools for demonstrating our successes and relating our vision of the future.”

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