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SPIE Outreach Grants Program

As part of its education outreach mission, SPIE provides support for optics and photonics related outreach activities and events. Proposals should focus on general optics and photonics education outreach, or International Day of Light (IDL) specific activities and events.

SPIE is committed to the principles of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). We encourage all proposals to have EDI principles at their foundation.

The award process is competitive. The grant maximum is $5,000 and some proposals may receive partial funding.

The 2022 Outreach Grant application has closed. The application for 2023 funding will open in the fall. 


  • Applicants must be current SPIE Members
  • 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 outreach activity support, as long as applicant is an SPIE Member. STEM activities must have an optics or photonics component.
  • An endorsement from a staff member or advisor at the applying organization is required as part of the application process.

Evaluation Criteria

The key criterion in evaluating and ranking applications is the potential to increase optics and photonics awareness and impact students and/or the larger community.

A point system is used to judge applications on:

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

Funding Guidelines and Reporting Requirements

Grant funding will only be wired to a banking institution associated with a school, business, or organization. Funds will not be wired to an individual’s personal account.

Recipients of SPIE Outreach Grants are required to submit receipt(s) with an online report on how the grant was used within 30 days of completing their activity or event.

Past winners who have not completed their report are not eligible to apply.

Outreach Grant funding typically covers expenses such as, outreach kits and materials, snacks, refreshments and event related expenses, and promotional materials. 

SPIE Outreach Grants cannot be used for:

  • overhead and administrative costs of the organization
  • snacks and beverage costs exceeding 10% of the requested budget
  • full meals (lunches/dinners)
  • alcoholic beverages
  • clothing
  • entry fees
  • gifts/gift cards
  • membership fees
  • office, lab, or classroom equipment
  • travel to conferences
  • hotel accommodations
  • activities that benefit an individual
  • speaker honoraria
  • teacher or student stipends or salaries
  • sponsorship of technical conferences or workshops that are not limited to students or educators

Please contact outreach@spie.org if you experience technical problems or have questions.

SPIE Account Required
You must have an SPIE Account to apply. If you do not have one, please create an account. If you have forgotten your information, visit Account Sign In and click "Forgot Username" and/or "Forgot Password." If you have any trouble please contact Customer Service.

Meet previous grant winners  ›