IEEE-USA TX Delegation Call on Congress to Support Investments in Research and Development

​​​​An IEEE-USA delegation from Texas traveled to Washington, D.C. to express the importance of research and development activities to the nation’s economic growth, competitiveness and national security.

The IEEE-USA TX delegation which included the current president of IEEE-USA Karen Pederson, president-elect Sandra Robinson, and current chair of the R&D policy committee Brendan Godfrey, joined with more than 150 scientists, engineers and business leaders who made visits on Capitol Hill as part of the Twentieth “Congressional Visits Day”, an annual event by the Science-Engineering-Technology Work Group on April 25 and 26.

“It’s demonstrably true that the United States owes a great deal of its remarkable economic success, to its people’s audacious spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as basic scientific research, which stood as a key enabler for the American industrial might and its lead in technological innovation.”

Mina J Hanna,
Senior Application Consultant, Synopsys Inc.

The visit came only a week before Congress released the FY17 spending bill which includes funding levels for key federal science agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense Office of Science and Technology, the National Institutes of Health and NASA. All of which received increased funding above the FY16 level.

While visiting congressional offices, the IEEE-USA TX delegation discussed the importance of the nation’s broad portfolio of federal investments in science, engineering and technology to promoting our country’s prosperity and innovation. Most importantly, they provided a constituent perspective on the local and national impact of these programs and their significance to the Austin, Houston and Dallas metropolitan areas. Moreover, they spoke about the IEEE-USA legislative priorities that include taking active measures to strengthen America’s K-12 STEM education programs and improving America’s patenting and copyright system to keep it accessible to entrepreneurs and small businesses in the U.S.

More than 50 percent of all industrial innovation and growth in the United States since World War II can be attributed to advances pioneered through scientific research, with publicly funded R&D constituting the vital foundation for today’s scientific and technological progress. Achievements from federally funded science, engineering and technology include global environmental monitoring, lasers, liquid crystal displays, the Internet, among many other scientific and technical advances.

The federal government supports a unique research and education enterprise that fuels the American economy. This enterprise provides the underpinning of high-technology industries and expands the frontiers of knowledge in every field of science. Much of this research is carried out at academic institutions in Texas including The University of Texas system, Texas A&M, Rice University and The University of Houston and many other institutions across the country, ensuring knowledge transfer to future generations of scientists, engineers, mathematicians, physicians and teachers. Additionally, technology transfer from academic research adds billions of dollars to the economy each year and supports tens of thousands of jobs.

Supporting the innovative scientific enterprise of the United States has consistently enjoyed bipartisan support. CVD was a valuable opportunity for the IEEE-USA delegation to reiterate the paramount importance of our lawmakers continuing their support for federally funded fundamental research despite tight fiscal constraints and the current tumultuous political climate. “It’s demonstrably true that the United States owes a great deal of its remarkable economic success, to its people’s audacious spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as basic scientific research which stood as a key enabler for the American industrial might and its lead in technological innovation.” said Mina J Hanna, a member of the delegation. He added “I am very pleased to see Congress making science a priority in the FY17 appropriations bill and I look forward for a similar prioritization in the FY18 bill.”

During the visit, U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (CO) and Gary Peters (MI) were awarded the George E. Brown Award for outstanding leadership in support of Federal R&D. They were recognized for their outstanding efforts to advance and promote science, engineering and technology on Capitol Hill.

The Science-Engineering-Technology Work Group is an information network comprising professional, scientific and engineering societies, institutions of higher learning, and trade associations. The sponsors represent more than one million researchers and professions in science and engineering. The Work Group is concerned about the future vitality of the U.S. science, mathematics, and engineering enterprise.

This article does not reflect the official views, opinions or positions of IEEE-USA

Media Contact: 
Mina J Hanna
Phone: 713.906.7295
Email: minajean.stanford@gmail.com

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