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2020 SPIE Annual Report


In 2020, SPIE temporarily transformed our events into no-cost digital forums to help the optics and photonics community share results, discuss findings, and stay current—all without traveling. We made over 4,800 SPIE Digital Forum presentations available on demand as videos replaced standing in front of a conference room. While Zoom discussions and chat windows became normal, few would say these are a preferable substitute for face-to-face conversations.

While our elimination of registration fees reduced revenue, SPIE did not stop investing in education and outreach. At the direction of the SPIE Board of Directors, the organization continued and expanded programs to support the optics and photonics community.

New SPIE Endowment Matching grants totaling $2,000,000 were announced to fund university faculty positions and research scholarships. We continued our pro-science government advocacy and efforts to boost research funding. Through the National Photonics Initiative and direct lobbying in Washington, DC, SPIE continued representing the interests of our Members and serving as the voice of our industry.


Download the 2020 Annual Report

As an international society, we maintained programs supporting the International Day of Light to broaden public awareness of optics and photonics, particularly among educators and students. We also produced and continue to distribute a free Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion framework to help organizations create policies and practices that reduce unfair discrimination.

To help mitigate the financial strain many organizations faced during the global pandemic, SPIE reduced the cost of SPIE Digital Library subscriptions. We also introduced a worldwide subscription discount for SPIE journals, and launched the SHARE initiative to provide free access to the SPIE Digital Library in low-resource countries.

These examples demonstrate that even during a disastrous global pandemic, our commitment to our Members and the optics and photonics community did not diminish. Even with reduced travel-related grants, SPIE devoted $5.1 million to community support in 2020. This program of giving was enabled by a history of prudent financial and operational management.

Now we see the light returning and eagerly welcome you back to face-to-face events, beginning with SPIE Optics + Photonics in San Diego in early August. Because travel continues to be difficult in many regions, SPIE is providing opportunities for remote participation at our first in-person meeting in over a year so that people everywhere may share results and exchange ideas.

SPIE is planning our 2022 event calendar with the assumption that most of us are looking forward to reconnecting in person at conferences. Whether online or in person, SPIE events couldn’t happen without the global community of people serving on program committees and as conference chairs who shape our world-class programs. These dedicated people form the backbone of events filled with opportunities for learning, idea sharing, and personal interaction. Meetings worth attending every year are delivered only with the help of the thousands of active volunteers who comprise SPIE.

Download the report  ›

Excerpts from the 2020 Annual Report

SPIE Community Support in 2020

SPIE Community Support 2020 Infographic