Policy Issue Positions
Optica's Public Policy Council and Board of Directors approve policy issue positions. Policy issue positions along with Optica's Mission and Core Values guide Optica's advocacy efforts. Optica's advocacy efforts are not limited to these topics but these position statements allow Optica to take quick actions on certain areas.
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Note: The 24 February 2022 Ukraine statement is located at this link and the 15 March 2022 Ukraine statement is located at this link.
Support for Increased Investment in Alternative Energy and Energy Conservation
Optica advocates increased research and development in alternative and efficient energy generation and in energy conservation. Optica supports government funding and incentives that spur innovation in optics and photonics that enable new energy technologies. Such technologies are necessary to meet the world’s energy needs, while protecting the environment, strengthening energy security and driving economic development.
Support for Increased R&D Funding, Particularly in Optics and Photonics
Optica supports policy statements related to increasing R&D funding, since a robust scientific enterprise benefits economic development and well-being. More specifically, Optica supports increased funding of science, math, engineering, technology and basic and applied research and development across all levels of government, with particular emphasis on optics and photonics research and development. Optica also supports programs that provide funding to small businesses for carrying out technology research and development such as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
Support for Increased Investment in STEM Education
Optica supports increased federal funding in K-16 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Optica recognizes that the future of science rests with today’s children and is thus concerned about student science and math achievement. Optica is further concerned that future workforce needs will not be met if workers will lack the necessary science and math skills.
Support for the Recognition of the Human Rights of Scientists and Engineers
Optica supports the civil liberties and human rights of all scientists and engineers and declares its support for the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To achieve its full potential and to benefit all mankind, scientific progress needs governments to respect basic human rights in order to allow the exchange of scientific information unless otherwise restricted, and to avoid interference with the human rights of scientists and engineers as they carry out their professional work. See full statement.
Support for Policies that Strengthen and Highlight the Role of Optics and Photonics in Society
Optica supports and encourages legislation that strengthens the role of optics and photonics in society and that raises awareness of this field among policymakers.
Importance of Basing Educational Curricula on Accepted Science
Optica supports the teaching of science in all grades of the educational system with a rigorous adherence to the scientific method where hypotheses are proven by the use of experimental evidence and/or mathematical proof. Absence of such a rigorous method leads to unsubstantiated statements and claims reflecting individual biases and opinions rather than scientifically proven truths.
Concern over Delays on the Issuing of Visas for Travel to the U.S.
Optica endorses statements to the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security, imploring them to fix visa backlogs and expedite visa processes for those intending to travel to the United States.
U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) and Limitations on Editing of Papers from Select Countries
Optica supports the free exchange of scientific information. Optica therefore opposes OFAC Transaction Regulations that limit the editing of scientific materials from countries where trade is prohibited.
Support for National and International Initiatives in Optics and Photonics
Optica supports the National Academies’ 2012 report on Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for our Nation. A key recommendation from the report is the creation of a National Photonics Initiative (NPI), which brings together industry, academia and government to advocate for optics and photonics in the U.S. federal government. Optica is committed to working with other societies to lead this effort. Optica also supports the International Photonics Advocacy Coalition (IPAC) effort to unite the optics and photonics community around public policy platforms that transcend borders, offer opportunities for collaboration and benefit the industry worldwide.
Open Access to Content Funded by Government or Other Funders
Optica’s mission is to promote the generation, application and archiving of knowledge in optics and photonics and to disseminate this knowledge worldwide. To this end, Optica is committed to working with governments and funders around the globe to develop and support sustainable Open Access publishing models. Such models will enable Optica to maintain the long-term financial viability of the Society and its high-quality peer-reviewed journals, and to ensure continued archiving of its 100+ year old corpus of content.
Concern over the Lack of Availability of Critical Elemental Materials
Optica recognizes the important role that elemental resources play in modern optics and photonics research, engineering and manufacturing. For example, limited supplies of rare earth elements, high purity metals and liquid helium have led to market disruptions and imbalances. Industrial practice and governmental policies must be mindful of these needs as they directly impact technological progress across many vital areas. Optica advocates for consistent access to elemental resources and encourages conservation, sustainable practices and an open marketplace.
Support for Increased Investment in Environmental Monitoring
Optica encourages public and private sector investment in optics and photonics technologies that foster global efforts to enhance environmental monitoring and data collection to measure the impact and understand the causes of worldwide changes to the environment and climate. Advancing technologies that strengthen and support global environmental monitoring and sensing systems is critical for assessing the human impact on the environment and for providing accurate data necessary to reduce industrial and natural pollutants and biohazards that affect air, water and land quality.
Support for Undergraduate Access to Research Experiences
Optica recommends all colleges and universities provide and facilitate access to research or other experiences for undergraduate STEM majors to enable informed career and post-baccalaureate education choices to help ensure their readiness for the 21st century workplace.