SPIE Endowment Matching Program

Established in 2019 to increase international capacity in the teaching and research of optics and photonics

Sustained support

The SPIE Endowment Matching Program was established in 2019 to increase international capacity in the teaching and research of optics and photonics, and to date has provided over $4 million in matching gifts, resulting in more than $11 million in dedicated funds. The SPIE Endowment Matching Program supports optics and photonics education and the future of the industry by contributing a match of 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.

An abstract image of a globe, with the words SPIE Endowment Matching Program

Learn about updates and impact: 2023 SPIE Endowment Matching Program Report

Download icon Download report Download report ...

Call for proposals

Submission timeline

The deadline for proposals is typically in the spring of each year.

Funding details and requirements

  • Endowments must be matched one-to-one (or more substantially) with funding secured by the benefiting institution
  • Funds must be managed by the benefiting institution
  • Each endowment may be funded up to a maximum of $500,000 from SPIE funds. A benefiting institution may submit proposals for future funding cycles but may not exceed the cumulative $500,000 funding maximum per institution.
  • The preference is for endowments in perpetuity unless sovereign laws prohibit this. Benefiting institutions must provide reason for an exception.
  • SPIE obtains naming rights for the endowed activity
  • The announced criteria should include “demonstratable capability to manage endowments”

Proposal guidelines

Written proposals should be at least 5 and no more than 10 pages in length, with a font of 11-12 points, and standard margins.

Proposals must contain:

  • Contact information
  • CV of principal proposer
  • Description of endowed activity
  • Proposed name
  • Financial request
  • Fund management

Detailed proposal guidelines are below.

Submit proposals via email to outreach@spie.org.

Assessment criteria

  • The benefiting institution must have a recognized optics/photonics degree-granting program, or the equivalent for other disciplines aligned to the SPIE educational mission (including optics/photonics options)
  • Funds will be managed by the benefiting institution to preserve the principal of the donation in perpetuity or for a negotiated long-term timeframe. The benefiting institution must have an appropriate administrative structure to manage endowments.
  • Proposals must increase institutional capacity (stability of program, size and scope increase, benefits to institution), advance knowledge and understanding of optics and photonics, increase synergies with other evolving markets and technical fields, and/or enable SPIE to have greater impact on society

Download full proposal guidelines and assessment criteria


Please contact outreach@spie.org with any questions. 

Newest endowment: SPIE-Manchester Postgraduate Scholarship in Photonics

SPIE and The University of Manchester established the SPIE-Manchester Postgraduate Scholarship in Photonics on 29 January 2024. This new endowment will support both early-career researchers and returning researchers at the University’s Photon Science Institute in partnership with the Royce Institute, the UK’s national institute for advanced materials research and innovation. Goals of the program include increasing diversity in optics and photonics and aligning current research and industrial needs for a robust training pipeline.

Endowment recipient profiles and news

Additional SPIE-supported programs

IBM-SPIE HBCU Faculty Accelerator Award in Quantum Optics and Photonics

This $100,000 annual award, presented jointly by the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center and SPIE, supports and promotes research and education in quantum optics and photonics within IBM-HBCU Quantum Center member institutions.

SPIE-Franz Hillenkamp Postdoctoral Fellowship

This annual award of $75,000 supports interdisciplinary problem-driven research and provides opportunities for translating new technologies into clinical practice for improving human health.