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SPIE and University of Rochester fund $1M graduate fellowship

25 Jan 2022

Latest graduate fellowship will support PhD students in optics and photonics at Rochester’s Institute of Optics.

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics (and owner of optics.org) is supporting a new graduate fellowship at the University of Rochester.

The $500,000 gift from the SPIE Endowment Matching Program, a sum that will be matched by the University of Rochester, represents the tenth major gift of this kind made by the society.

The funding will provide financial assistance to selected University of Rochester graduate students at the Institute of Optics who are working towards their PhDs, and was announced during this week’s Photonics West event, which is organized by SPIE.

Scheme reaches $10M in overall funding
Thomas Brown, interim director at the Institute of Optics, said: “We are so grateful to SPIE for making this kind of investment in graduate education in optics.

“Our alumni have had important leadership roles in SPIE through the years - this will be a huge help in preparing the next generation of leaders in the optics community.

“One of the fun things about gifts like this is that it allows us to ‘invest in the best,’ to continue to search for future Nobel laureates, entrepreneurs, and engineers from all over the world to come to Rochester and be part of our growing family.”

SPIE’s 2022 president, Anita Mahadevan-Jansen, added: “The SPIE Graduate Fellowship in Optical Sciences and Engineering will create transformative opportunities for PhD candidates at Rochester’s Institute of Optics.

“Rochester has a long history of successful optics education and many of today’s leading optics researchers have emerged from its Institute of Optics. This endowed fund is a critical partnership between SPIE and the University of Rochester, one that will help ensure that pipeline of leaders continues for generations to come.”

Established in 2019, SPIE’s Endowment Matching Program is designed to increase international capacity in the teaching and research of optics and photonics.

The latest gift brings total funding provided under the scheme to more than $10 million, including nearly $4 million in matching gifts.

It follows the inaugural grant awarded to the University of Arizona, and similar arrangements between SPIE and the University of Colorado, Vanderbilt University, the universities of Glasgow and Birmingham in the UK, and Spain’s Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), among others.

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