STEM Grants for Light, Lasers and Optics!

STEM Grant for Light, Lasers and Optics!

Do you have a fabulous idea that highlights the STEM of Light, Lasers and Optics? We have plenty of FREE Activities to get you started, and tons of fun, easy to use hands-on kits and equipment to carry out your great ideas! But what if you need some cash to implement your awesome idea?

Well, SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics has got your back! The next application deadline for funding is due January 31, 2018 – so get planning!

SPIE Education and Outreach STEM Grant Details

As part of its education outreach mission, SPIE provides support for optics and photonics related education outreach activities. The award process is competitive; applications are judged on their potential to impact students and increase optics and photonics awareness. Some proposals may receive partial funding.

The key criterion in evaluation and ranking applications is the potential to impact students and to increase optics and photonics awareness.

Applications are judged on:

  • potential to impact a large audience
  • raise awareness and interest in optics and photonics
  • clarity and structure of the project
  • clear timeline and budget

Qualifying not-for-profit organizations such as universities, optics centers, science centers, primary and secondary schools, youth clubs, industry associations, and international optical societies are eligible for outreach activity support; STEM activities should have an optics or photonics component.

HOW TO APPLY for the SPIE Education and Outreach STEM Grant

Application Process for the STEM Grant
SPIE is using SmarterSelect to provide an easy and secure way to submit your education outreach grant application. Please contact if you experience technical problems or have questions.

  • Go to the Education Outreach Grant Application and create an account. Save your log-in information for future reference.
  • A complete online application (including supporting documents if applicable) must be submitted by 5:00 pm (Pacific Standard Time) on the deadline date – see below.
  • Incomplete applications will not be submitted for consideration.

Now open! Education Outreach Grant Application – deadline, 31 January 2018


Sustaining STEM Grants
If a program has received an Education Outreach Grant twice in a period of 5 years, it can only apply for further support through a Sustaining Grant, limited to a maximum of $2,000. There is no limit to the number of times a program can apply for a Sustaining Grant, but it will be in competition with all other proposals for every application. Requests for the Sustaining Grants should use the same application form as the Education Outreach Grants.

SPIE’s outreach grants cannot be used for:

  • food and beverage costs exceeding 10% of the requested budget
  • alcoholic beverages
  • travel to conferences
  • activities that benefit an individual
  • speaker honoraria
  • teacher stipends or salaries
  • student stipends or salaries
  • overhead and administrative costs of the organization
  • applicants solely requesting classroom equipment to support teaching may not be considered
  • sponsorship of technical conferences or workshops that are not limited to students or educators
  • applicants solely requesting funds for purchase of classroom equipment to support teaching

Examples of Past Recipients

2017 Cycle 2 Education Outreach Grant Recipients
2017 Cycle 1 Education Outreach Grant Recipients 
2016 Education Outreach Grant Recipients
2015 Education Outreach Grant Recipients
2014 Education Outreach Grant Recipients