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SPIE Position Statements

Export Controls
Companies producing or buying products subject to export controls are greatly impacted by regulatory decisions and the Wassenaar Arrangement. Equally, research universities are impacted by controls via deemed export. Clear guidelines, that limit scope to the most sensitive technologies, are key to ensuring that companies and universities are not overburdened with controls. Export controls should also be written to allow for the continued growth of optic and photonic technology and research.

Federal Travel Restrictions for Scientific and Technical Conferences
Scientific and technical conferences are uniquely important to the growth of and development of technological innovation and to the individual scientist. This has been true since the beginning of scientific discoveries. It is important that the U.S. does not fall behind due to its lack of participation, and that U.S. scientists can continue to contribute their expertise with the broader international scientific community.

SBIR/STTR Authorization and Funding
The SBIR and STTR programs were established to utilize R&D funding to stimulate innovation among small businesses with commercialization in mind, as well as meet the research and development needs of the federal government. Many optics and photonic companies depend on this funding source to spur their growth and development.

Research & Development Funding and Authorization
Research and Development (R&D) funding and authorization is key to the continued growth of scientific discovery and innovation. SPIE supports authorization that demonstrates a path forward to robust investment in the sciences, as well as funding in actual dollars through the annual appropriation bills. This includes funding of both the National Manufacturing Institutes and the applied science, that assist in making sure the U.S. takes advantage of U.S. basic science research through development and commercialization.

Global Research & Development Funding
SPIE support robust global investment in Research and Development (R&D) to drive innovation and build economic prosperity. Establishing national and regional photonics platforms and public-private partnerships are important for the global optics and photonics community.

Visa/Green Card Options for Foreign Students
Upon graduation, many foreign-born students studying at U.S. institutions are forced back to their home countries due to a lack of proper work authorization. Students educated in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields are a benefit to the U.S. economy an innovation, and should be provided a secure and clear path to receiving work authorization if they desire to stay and work in the U.S.

International Mobility of Scientists
SPIE supports policies that allow for the international mobility of scientists. Sharing knowledge and talent through collaboration has been core to scientific breakthroughs for over a century and will continue to be a vital element to innovation across the sciences.
Countries instituting policies that prevent, restrict or discourage the movement of researchers, whether in temporary business activities or employment, may put themselves at a disadvantage while hindering scientific progress.

Latest comment on Length of Stay for International Students

Undergraduate Research Support
SPIE calls upon colleges and universities to provide or facilitate access to research experiences for all undergraduates studying in relevant STEM fields.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education
SPIE supports continued investment in STEM education. Prioritizing education programs that promote diversity and efficient use of resources is critical to the future competitiveness and economic prosperity in the U.S.

Position Papers


About the National Photonics Initiative

Education and Workforce

Laboratory for Laser Engineers

The National Quantum Initiative

Research and Development Funding


Export Controls and its Impact on U.S. Innovation