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SPIE and ICFO announce $1M endowed diversity-focused Chair in Barcelona

25 Jun 2020

SPIE@ICFO Chair for Diversity in Photonic Sciences is part of a $2.5M optics and photonics education-funding initiative.

Today, 25 June, SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics (and publisher of optics.org), has announced the founding of the SPIE@ICFO Chair for Diversity in Photonic Sciences with ICFO, the Barcelona-based Institute of Photonic Sciences. The center is 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 SPIE@ICFO 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 SPIE@ICFO Chair María Yzuel Fellowship Award Internships; the SPIE@ICFO Chair Travel Fellowship; and the SPIE@ICFO Chair Research Fellowship.

Complementary

"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 SPIE@ICFO 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, also announced this week.

About ICFO

ICFO — The Institute of Photonic Sciences is an institute dedicated to frontier research in diverse areas in which photonics plays a decisive role, with an emphasis on basic and applied themes relevant to medicine and biology, advanced imaging techniques, information technologies, a range of environmental sensors, tunable and ultra-fast lasers, quantum science, photovoltaics and the properties and applications of nano-materials such as graphene, among others.

The institute hosts over 350 researchers from over 60 countries and at all career levels. In addition to its mission to train the next generation of scientists and technologists for careers in academia and industry, ICFO is proactive in fostering entrepreneurial activities and spin-off creation. An active Corporate Liaison Program aims at creating collaborations and links between industry and ICFO researchers.

About the Author

Daneet Steffens is Public Relations Manager at SPIE.

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