Washington, DC--The Optical Society (OSA) applauded the U.S. Congress's passage of H.R. 2112, the minibus appropriations bill for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD); Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration; and Commerce, Justice and Science. Signed into law by President Obama, the legislation provides the National Science Foundation (NSF) with an FY 2012 budget of $7.03 billion, an increase of $173.23 million from FY 2011, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) with $750.8 million, $727,000 above FY 2011.
"Sustaining federal research dollars over the long term is necessary for advancing innovation and ensuring America's economic prosperity in the future," said OSA CEO Elizabeth Rogan. "Investments in science and technology have long fueled our economic growth and the optics and photonics industry in particular will be a leading source of high-quality manufacturing jobs for America in the future. OSA applauds the commitment to innovation reflected in this budget package and thanks Congress for their efforts. "
Last month, OSA--along with 70 other organizations--signed a letter authored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) urging Congress's Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to avoid cuts to R&D funding in its spending plan. Similarly, in May more than 25 OSA members met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to remind legislators of the critical nature of R&D funding and the impact that decreases in funding have on America's ability to make important science and technology advances.
Included in NSF's FY 2012 appropriations are $5.72 billion for research and related activities (R&RA) programs and $167.06 million for major research equipment and facilities construction (MREFC) funding, both of which are increases over 2011's spending levels. These programs are responsible for the research that led to numerous technologies now commonplace in daily life such as fiber optics, Doppler radar, bar-code scanning, and the Internet.