OSA asks Congress for more R&D investment

April 20, 2006 Washington, DC -- Members of the Optical Society of America (OSA) traveled to Washington, D.C. on March 28 and 29 to meet with Congressional representatives. The members' goal was to emphasize the need for increased and balanced federal investment in research and development for optics and photonics technologies. The group told Congress that federally funded research for such technologies is critical to securing the nation's economic future.

April 20, 2006 Washington, DC -- Members of the Optical Society of America (OSA) traveled to Washington, D.C. on March 28 and 29 to meet with Congressional representatives. The members' goal was to emphasize the need for increased and balanced federal investment in research and development for optics and photonics technologies. The group told Congress that federally funded research for such technologies is critical to securing the nation's economic future.

OSA members joined with nearly 300 scientists, engineers, and business leaders who made visits on Capitol Hill as part of the eleventh annual "Congressional Visits Days," an event sponsored by the Science-Engineering-Technology Work Group. Society member participants included Robert P. Breault, Peter Delfyett, F. J. Duarte, Alexandre Y. Fong, Wayne Knox, Silvia Mioc, and Carolyn Russell.

While visiting Congressional offices, these individuals discussed the importance of the nation's broad portfolio of investments in science, engineering, and technology, while promoting such investments' role in national security, prosperity, and U.S. leadership and innovation. The OSA members' main intent was to provide a constituent perspective on the local and national impact of such programs and their significance to optics and photonics. Specifically, members asked for increased investments at the Department of Defense, Department of Energy Office of Science, and the National Science Foundation, as well as reiterating the need for continued funding of math and science education.

According to the OSA, more than 50 percent of all industrial innovation and growth in the U.S. since World War II can be attributed to advances pioneered through scientific research, with publicly funded R&D the vital foundation for today's scientific and technological progress. Examples of scientific and technological advances that can be traced back to federally funded science, engineering, and technology, according to the group, include global environmental monitoring, lasers, liquid crystal displays, and the Internet. The group contends that science, engineering, and technology will "play an important role in the fight against terrorism; it is also crucial for ensuring economic well-being."

"Members of OSA participated in Congressional Visits Day to emphasize the important role that optics and photonics play in innovation," comments Elizabeth Rogan, OSA's executive director. "U.S. funding of basic research in our field is an investment that fuels the economy in the forms of new technologies, products, services and jobs. The OSA members who participated in CVD drove this message home in their visits and will help to keep funding of research and development a top priority for these legislators."


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