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SPIE Professional July 2013: Bonus Web Content

Funding Opportunities in Optics and Photonics

image for optics and photonics funding opportunities

SPIE is committed to the success of its members who are making the world a better place with innovative optics and photonics technologies.

As a service to the community, SPIE Professional keeps an updated list of funding opportunities for optics and photonics businesses, researchers, and students. The sampling below of grants programs and photonics competitions listed below is not intended to be a comprehensive list.

(Updated 20 September 2013)


•  The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a funding opportunity for the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) Program. The new competition will award $4 million in early 2014 to establish new or strengthen existing industry-led consortia in planning research that addresses high-priority challenges impeding the growth of advanced manufacturing in the United States. Awards are expected to be up to two years in duration and range between about $250,000 and $500,000. Optional pre-applications were due 6 September. Full applications due 21 October. More details of funding opportunity number 2013-NIST-AMTECH-01 at Grants.gov.

• Several programs of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) support international researNSF logoch and educational activities. The Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) supports projects in which advances in research and education would not occur without international collaboration. The PIRE competition will focus on Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) and developing a diverse, globally-engaged U.S. science and engineering workforce. Awards will be made in the August-September 2015 time period.  More 

• Funding of some €33 million will be offered to innovative projects focusing on integrated computational materials engineering; interfaces, surfaces and coatings; materials for sustainable and affordable low-carbon-energy technologies; and other topics under the M-ERA.NET call opened on 10 July. Funding agencies from 23 European countries as well as Taiwan and Russia are participating in the transnational call. A mandatory pre-proposal is due 30 October. More

Photonics21• Photonics21 has created a legal entity for and renewed its committment to a photonics public-private partnership (PPP). The organization of 1800 representatives of photonics industry and science in Europe wants to leverage initial public funding for technology development as part of the forthcoming "Horizon 2020" program. The proposed Horizon 2020 budget would invest €7 billion for the PPP to deliver technology innovation and commercialization on a scale not seen before on the continent. The Photonics21 Board of Stakeholders approved the establishment of the Photonics PPP Association at its annual meeting in April. The legal entity would spend €5.6 billion on the PPP, provided that the European Commission commits €1.4 billion.  More

• The European Space Agency seeks entrepreneurs with innovative ideas for using space technology, applications, and services in a non-space environment. Funds can be used for seed-capital investments, startups and early-stage growth capital for companies using space-related technologies or satellite applications in non-space fields. Support also comes from the ESA Business Incubation Centres. Several open calls are ongoing. More

• The Germany Ministry for Economy and Technology, as part of its corporate support programme, enables the participation of new, innovative startups in international trade fairs in Germany at favourable conditions. Eligible companies are German SMEs, have less than 10 million euro in annual revenues, have been founded within the last 10 years, and have invented and are producing a product in Germany. More (in German)

• Staff at the U.S National Academies reviews applications for its Research Associateship Program four times a year. Deadlines for applying online are  1 November, 1 February, 1 May, and 1 August. More.


Competitions and prizes in optics and photonics

• SPIE will award $2,000 travel scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students attending an SPIE symposium during the 2013-14 academic year. Next deadline is 15 February. More

• SPIE Corporate Member Open Photonics is partnering with the XPRIZE to identify and match innovators from the global photonics community with teams competing in the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE. The aim of the competition is to stimulate the development of a simple, precise, and reliable handheld wireless device capable of diagnosing a set of 15 diseases. The device will measure key health indicators such as blood pressure, respiration rate, and body temperature. More

• Nominations for the Kavli Prize will be accepted through 1 December. The Kavli Prizes recognize scientists for advances in astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience with a scroll, medal, and cash award of $1 million. The 2014 laureates will be announced next year, with the medals to be awarded during a ceremony in Oslo, Norway. More.

• The deadline for proposals for the Innovation Award Laser Technology is 17 January 2014.  The Innovation Award Laser Technology is a European research prize awarded every other year to an individual researcher or on an entire project group whose exceptional skills and dedicated work have led to an outstanding innovation in the field of laser technology. The scientific and technological projects in question must center on the use of laser light in materials processing and the methods of producing such light and be of demonstrable commercial value to industry. Arbeitskreis Lasertechnik and the European Laser Institute will award 10,000 EUR as the research prize. More

• SPIE Education and Outreach grants provide funds to not-for-profit organizations such as universities, optics centers, primary and secondary schools, youth clubs, and photonics industry associations to buy supplies for science programs and fairs, to train teachers, and to support summer camps and other activities that increase optics and photonics awareness. Some $85,000 in funding is available. The next deadline to apply for an SPIE Education and Outreach grant is 31 January 2014. Apply online at spie.org/outreach.


Information on U.S. Government Grants

logo for U.S. grant Website Grants.gov is the best starting point to find and apply for U.S. federal grants for optics and photonics technologies.

Several research endeavors that received funding from the U.S. Commerce Department's Technology Innovation Program show the range and impact of photonics in improving our quality of life.

Other resources for federal grants in the United States:


Information on European Research and Innovation Programmes

Horizon 2020 imageResearch Framework Programme 7 (FP7) runs through 2013 at which time Europe's Horizon 2020, with more than €80 billion for 2014-2020, takes over. 

Opportunities for photonics organizations under Horizon 2020 are explained in an April 2012 SPIE Professional article.


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Have a question or comment about this article? Write to us at spieprofessional@spie.org

DOI: 10.1117/2.4201307.41

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