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SPIE Education Outreach Grants Program

As part of its education outreach mission, SPIE provides support for optics and photonics related education outreach projects. The award process is competitive; applications are judged on their potential to impact students and increase optics awareness. Some proposals may receive partial funding.

The key criterion in evaluation and ranking applications is the potential to impact students and to increase optics and photonics awareness.

Applications will be judged on:

  • potential to impact a large audience
  • raise awareness and interest in optics and photonics
  • clarity and structure of the project
  • clear timeline and budget

Qualifying not-for-profit organizations such as universities, optics centers, science centers, primary and secondary schools, youth clubs, industry associations and international optical societies are eligible for project support. STEM activities should have an optics or photonics component.

SPIE's outreach grants cannot be used for:

  • food and beverage costs exceeding 10% of the requested budget
  • alcoholic beverages
  • travel to conferences
  • activities that benefit an individual
  • speaker honoraria
  • teacher stipends or salaries
  • student stipends or salaries
  • overhead and administrative costs
  • classroom equipment to support teaching
  • technical conferences or workshops that are not limited to students or educators

Sustaining Grants

If a program has received an Education Outreach Grant twice in a period of 5 years, it can only apply for further support through a Sustaining grant, which will be for a maximum amount of $2,000. There is no limit to the number of times a program can apply for a Sustaining grant, but it will be in competition with all other proposals each time it applies. Requests for the Sustaining grants should use the same application form as the Education Outreach grants.

Application Process

SPIE is using SmarterSelect to provide an easy and secure way to submit your education outreach grant application. Please contact outreach@spie.org if you experience technical problems or have questions.

  • Go to the Education Outreach Grant Application Form and create an account. Save your log-in information for future reference.
  • A complete online application (including supporting documents if applicable) must be submitted by 11:59 pm (Pacific Standard Time) on January 31.
  • Incomplete applications will not be submitted for consideration.
  • All applicants will be notified of the results of their application in April or May

Deadline: January 31 and May 31

Recipients of SPIE Education Outreach Grants are required to submit an Annual Outreach Grant Report to the Society on how the grant was used within one year of receipt. Past winners who have not submitted a report are not eligible to apply. New Education Outreach Grant applications must show new activities beyond that upon which a previous award was used.