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April 2012 Public Policy News

April 26, 2012: SPIE Volunteers urge Congress to support export control overhaul and sustainable funding for R&D, STEM education: Volunteers sponsored by SPIE were in Washington, D.C. recently to thank Congressional representatives for recent appropriations actions and to urge support for sustainable funding of federal R&D programs vital to economic growth. They also urged overhaul of U.S. export controls to foster American job creation, and prioritization of spending to support STEM education (in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Eleven SPIE volunteers were among more than 250 scientists, engineers, and business leaders visiting Capitol Hill 24-25 April during the 17th annual Congressional Visits Day (CVD) event sponsored by the Science-Engineering-Technology (SET) Working Group. Read the full press release here.

17 April 2012: SPIE sponsors panel on photonics and job creation, in conjunction with US House of Representatives: Case studies from photonics innovators who have made it through the R&D "valley of death" to bring new sensing products to market highlighted a briefing presented last week by SPIE in conjunction with the House Research & Development Caucus. Opened by Reps. Rush Holt (D-New Jersey) and Judy Biggert (R-Illinois), the caucus heard presentations from William Yang, CEO of BaySpec Inc, Timothy Day, CEO of Daylight Solutions, and Alan Kersey, Vice President of CiDRA. "Today's speakers exemplified the entrepreneurial spirit that permeates the rapidly growing field of optical sensing and monitoring," said panel moderator Robert Lieberman, President of Intelligent Optical Systems. "From medicine to defense, and from the sea floor to outer space, photonic devices are providing the images and information that enable computers and people to better understand our world. The rapid progress in this field is resulting in a profusion of new technologies, and new jobs." Read more about the event here.

April 10, 2012: SPIE publishes public policy position papers for 2012: In advance of this year's upcoming Congressional Visits Day, SPIE has published its position papers on public policy topics of importance to the society. This year's papers cover funding for STEM education, export reform, and the need for long-term R&D investment. They are available for download by clicking here.

April 1, 2012: Congress holds hearings on 2013 NASA budget request: Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chairwoman of the Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice & Science chaired a hearing regarding President Obama's budget request for NASA in 2013. In the hearing, she stressed to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden the financial constraints that Congress finds itself under, and also urged him to keep work on the James Webb Space Telescope on schedule. Currently, there is not enough funding in the budget to accommodate all of the current and future programs and projects in the agency's portolio. Under the Obama Administration's FY 2013 budget request, total agency funding would be cut by 0.3 percent, yet observers think that NASA will require at least another $2-$3 billion dollars more than requested to carry out its existing missions safely and effectively. Concerns over NASA's budget were echoed in hearings in the House of Representatives.

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