The Optica Foundation 20th Anniversary Challenge seeks to support early-career members with the opportunity to leverage optics and photonics in driving new scientific discoveries and breakthroughs to transform our world. The foundation is considering problem-solving solutions resulting from basic research and development or enhancements of photonics-based technology in three categories: environment, health and information. The prize is intended to provide seed money and some financial support to ideas that may be difficult to fund from other sources.
Ten winning proposals will each receive a US$100,000 prize to support addressing the challenge over a 1-2 year period.
With nearly 8 billion people on earth, problems with polluted air and water, global warming, plastic in the oceans, and energy consumption represent unprecedented challenges to our society and planet. A cleaner, safer future is needed, and various technologies, including optical-based solutions, are urgently needed to address and alleviate the continued growth of these problems. Optics and photonics can provide unique, effective means to monitor our world, provide more energy-efficient devices, and solve environmental challenges.
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Optical technologies have contributed to significant advances in the medical arena. Ultra-high resolution images of the brain, eye, and vascular system have significantly advanced our understanding of the operation and function of these systems. Therapeutic lasers techniques improved the vision of millions of people. Advances in microscopy, spectroscopy and nanotechnology continue to enable us to reach new possibilities for in situ diagnostics. Many challenges face society calling for new, innovative and affordable technology solutions.
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Modern humanity and the global economy rely on optical infrastructures and technologies to drive our digital society. We will continue to see exponential data traffic. The cost of this growth in communications draws a significant fraction of the energy society uses. New, more energy-efficient approaches and technologies must be developed and adapted to permit continued information growth. Our information and communications lifeline demand innovation and game-changing discoveries to keep up.
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How to Apply
Submit an application via apply.optica.org.
Opens 07 July 2022
Closes 15 September 2022
- Optica early-career members are welcome to submit proposals as lead investigators. (Members who have completed their highest academic degree program within the last seven years).
- Applicants must show support from their employer to participate in the Program. Employers need to approve the proposed time and resources required from their employee.
- University, non-governmental agencies and research institutions must agree to no more than 10% overhead.
- Corporate employers and governmental agencies must agree to no assessment of overhead.
- Have a self-directed research position; title of any rank of professor, research scientist, postdoc or equivalent.
- Name of Challenge Project
- Name, institution and contact information of the applicant
- Applicant CV – no more than four (4) pages*
- An one-page* executive summary highlighting the challenge, proposed project, and intended outcomes
- Proposal – no more than five (5) pages*
- Literature Review
- Problem Statement/Objective
- Outline of tasks/Work Plan
- Short budget for the project – must utilize template provided.
- Letter to inform the selection committee that the applicant's employer is aware of and supports the submitted proposal. The letter contains a high-level overview of expectations on behalf of the applicant and their employer should the proposal be accepted as one of the 10 to receive the US $100K funding, including approved overhead levels to be assessed. Must utilize template provided.
- Digitally sign the "Participation Agreement" via the application portal, signifying that if chosen as a recipient of a Challenge Award, you will:
- Agree to make your application and concepts open and available for being highlighted in promotions and awareness of the challenge winners and project.
- Participate in at least two review meetings with the Challenge Committee to provide updates on progress and receive advice/guidance (program will pay travel and lodging expenses).
- Be willing to share progress and results in Optica-organized symposiums.
- Submit results/progress for publication in Optica open-access journals (the program will cover publishing fees if a manuscript is accepted).
Reviewers will use information submitted as part of the application to evaluate the proposal's merit and by Optica to make the award and monitor the progress. Only complete packets submitted by the deadline and within the stated page requirements will be reviewed.
*These documents must adhere to the following formatting requirements.
- Applicant CV – no more than four (4) pages.
- An executive summary highlighting the challenge, proposed project, and intended outcomes – no more than one (1) page.
- Proposal – no more than five (5) pages.
- Arial, Times New Roman or Courier New at a font size of 11 points or larger.
- A font size of less than 11 points may be used for mathematical formulas or equations, figures, table or diagram captions and when using a Symbol font to insert Greek letters or special characters
- Regardless of font, readability is vital.
- Paper size should comply with the international standard of A4 (8.3" x 11.7"; 210mmx297mm).
- Margins, in all directions, must be at least 1" (2.54cm).
- Use a standard single-column format for text.
If you have questions, please email email@example.com.
University of Eldoret, Kenya
Phutung Research Institute, Nepal
ICFO - The Institute of Photonic Sciences, Spain
Suranaree University of Technology, Thailand
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
Wyant College of Optical Sciences, University of Arizona, USA
Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Washington University in St. Louis, USA
University of Southern California, USA
2022 Selection Committee
- Majid Ebrahim-Zadeh, ICFO -Institut de Ciencies Fotoniques, Spain
- Andrew Forbes, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
- Thomas G Giallorenzi, USA
- Fumio Koyam, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan
- Sophie LaRochelle, Université Laval, Canada
- Xiang Liu, Huawei Technologies, China
- Miles John Padgett, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
- Jannick P Rollan, University of Rochester, USA
- Alan E Willner, University of Southern Californi, USA
- Ulrike K Woggon, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany