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The fiscal year 2014 funding levels proposed this week by US President Barack Obama for science-related agencies would fund federal research and development (R&D) programs at levels consistent with, or slightly above, spending levels from fiscal years 2012 and 2013 (see the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Overview). The proposed budget includes: $7.6 billion (USD) for the US National Science Foundation (NSF); $754 million for the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); $5 billion for the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science; and $2.9 billion for the US Department of Defence’s (DOD) Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The budget also includes requests for new science and technology programs, including $1 billion for the US National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) and $100 million for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. (See the article “Optical Society Applauds US President’s Brain Mapping Initiative” on Novus Light Technologies Today.)

The Optical Society’s (OSA) chief executive officer Elizabeth Rogan testified last month before the US House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies to call for sustained federal investments in R&D funding for the fiscal year 2014 NSF and NIST budgets. In addition, as part of the annual Congressional Visits Day, OSA members visited Capitol Hill (Washington, DC) last month to speak with lawmakers about science and engineering policy issues and the related economic benefits. (See the article “OSA CEO Testifies on Capitol Hill on Sustained R&D Funding” on Novus Light Technologies Today.)

Rogan released the following statement:

“OSA has long been an advocate for sustained federal investments in R&D programs at US science agencies, including the NSF, NIST and the DOE’s Office of Science. Sustained R&D funding is vital to lay the foundation that our industry needs to innovate, produce and market the next generation of cutting-edge technology products and services. Investments in science and technology fuel economic growth and the optics and photonics industry, in particular, is a leading source of high-quality advanced manufacturing jobs.

“In addition to advocating for funding, OSA, along with a number of other professional scientific societies, is actively supporting the engagement of US government, industry and academia in the design and oversight of R&D and related programs through the creation of a US National Photonics Initiative (NPI). The NPI, serving as an umbrella organisation, could help direct resources to where they are most needed. This important initiative came as a recommendation from the landmark report issued by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on the current state of optical sciences and goals for the future: Optics & Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation.”

Rogan added: “We applaud the administration for supporting investments in R&D and urge the same of the US Congress.”

Labels: US,government,funding,RD,optics,photonics

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