SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, announced the establishment of the [email protected] Chair for Diversity in Photonic Sciences with ICFO, the Barcelona-based Institute of Photonic Sciences, a center devoted to the development of research, post-graduate training, and knowledge and technology transfer in fields where optics and photonics play a decisive role. A sum of $500,000 in funding from SPIE is being matched by €500,000 from the existing ICFO endowment. The combined fund will support the appointment of a chair at ICFO whose remit will be to leverage the center's activities to further enhance its promotion of diversity, starting with its multiple programs supporting the education and careers of young women from diverse backgrounds who have an interest in photonics.
The ambition for the [email protected] chair program goes beyond gender diversity and aims to support a diverse range of ambitious students and researchers in photonic sciences who would otherwise not have such opportunities. Newly supported opportunities will include the [email protected] Chair María Yzuel Fellowship Award Internships; the [email protected] Chair Travel Fellowship; and the [email protected] Chair Research Fellowship.
"This exciting partnership with ICFO beautifully complements our own commitment to enhancing equity, diversity, and inclusion across the optics and photonics community," said SPIE President John Greivenkamp. "We are delighted to support an education program which will focus on active promotion of a tolerant, welcoming work environment that meets the academic and research needs of a diverse population."
"We are extremely proud of this long-lasting alliance with SPIE," said ICFO Director Lluis Torner. "Its visionary endowment program will afford the possibility to launch a unique [email protected] Chair for Diversity in Photonic Sciences, a topic both organizations consider to be of paramount importance to enhance innovation, creativity, and excellence across the board. I would like to thank SPIE for its outstanding support and our Board of Trustees for making the program possible, and I want to congratulate the Chair and Vice-Chairs, Rob Sewell, Silvia Carrasco, and Laia Miralles, for their appointment."
The SPIE Endowment Matching Program, established in 2019, is a $2.5 million, five-year, educational-funding initiative designed to increase international capacity in the teaching and research of optics and photonics. SPIE supports optics and photonics education and the future of the industry by contributing up to $500,000 per award to college and university programs with optics and photonics degrees, or with other disciplines allied to the SPIE mission. The initial SPIE contribution to the University of Arizona named a new endowed faculty chair, the SPIE Chair in Optical Sciences. Three more agreements announced earlier this year established the SPIE-Glebov Family Optics and Photonics Graduate Scholarship Fund and the Soileau Family-SPIE Optics and Photonics Undergraduate Scholarship Fund, both at the University of Central Florida's (UCF) College of Optics and Photonics (CREOL), and the Baur-SPIE Endowed Chair in Optics and Photonics at JILA.