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SPIE 'pleased' with Obama budget support for photonics R&D

13 February 2012

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- SPIE leaders said they are pleased to see increased support for U.S. scientific research and technology development in photonics-driven areas such as clean energy, space exploration, manufacturing, and national security in the proposed 2013 budget announced today by President Barack Obama.

"We are very pleased to see that the President's proposed budget includes increased investment in research and development, support for facilitating innovation and technology transfer for healthcare and industry, and emphasis on increasing advanced manufacturing," said Robert Lieberman, chair of the SPIE committee on Engineering, Science, and Technology (ESTeP).

Citing examples such as the lasers used in manufacturing and the optical fibers that carry the financial, security, commercial, and social information on which our society depends, Lieberman noted that "the photonics industry underpins the growth of American jobs and wealth."

The budget's tax code reforms aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship and technology-driven business growth would help the photonics industry to create even more jobs, he said.

SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs also praised the inclusion of funding increases for science, engineering, technology, and mathematics (STEM) education.

"Inventions such as the laser -- key to the fabrication of billions of processor and memory chips, building as well as powering the networks providing data to our smartphones, powering light-based treatments that diagnose or cure cancer, manufacturing lighter, safer, and more efficient automobiles -- are behind so much of what we take for granted in modern life," Arthurs said. "Each has arisen as a result of well-educated curiosity. Increased support for STEM education from the earliest years through advanced degrees is vital to continued leadership in innovation. Some speak of an investment in human capital; we speak of the future of our children and grandchildren."

"The priority the President attaches to R&D and STEM education, as reflected in his 2013 budget, is justified by the historic truth that investments in innovation and education today will more than pay for themselves tomorrow," said John Holdren, Obama's science and technology advisor and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

All told, the President's 2013 budget proposes $140.8 billion for federal R&D, an increase of $2.0 billion or 1.4 percent over the 2012 enacted level, according to figures from OSTP. Funding for scientific research would total $64.0 billion, up $2.0 billion or 3.3 percent, and non-defense R&D would rise 5 percent to $64.9 billion. The increases are offset in part by reductions in Department of Defense weapons-systems development as programs mature and transition to the production phase.

The President's 2013 science and technology budget:

  • Sustains the growth of funding for the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology laboratories, providing a total of $13.1 billion, an increase of 4.4 percent above 2012 funding levels
  • Promotes clean energy by providing $350 million for transformational energy R&D in DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy; $2.3 billion for DOE's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy office, with a focus on clean vehicle technologies; and $2.6 billion for the U.S. Global Change Research Program to understand, predict, mitigate, and adapt to the global changes that have resulted primarily from global over-dependence on fossil fuels
  • Supports job growth by providing $2.2 billion for advanced manufacturing R&D to focus on innovative manufacturing processes, advanced industrial materials, and robotics, and by encouraging greater federal collaboration with universities and industry
  • Provides $3.0 billion for STEM education.

Additional details can be found on fact sheets and other fiscal year 2013 budget resources at http://www.whitehouse.gov/ostp/rdbudgets.

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 180,000 constituents from 168 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. SPIE provided over $2.5 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2011. The SPIE Digital Library includes over 325,000 items from Proceedings of SPIE, SPIE Journals, and SPIE eBooks.


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