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Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
14 - 18 April 2019
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Provide the benefits and seek approval early

SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2019 offers opportunities to share your latest technical advancements, find new business opportunities, network with others, and more. However, in order to participate, many people need to justify their attendance. Here are 5 simple steps you can take to develop a strong request for approval.

 • Plan to submit your request in a timely manner
 • Identify key topics and program features
 • Outline the main benefits
 • Estimate your costs
 • Show the ROI

Step 1: Plan to send your request in a timely manner

It is important to make travel and education funding requests as early as possible. Note these potentially key dates for seeking approval.

 Time to event      Date
 6 months  12 October 2018
 120 days   14 December 2018
 90 days  14 January 2019
 45 days   28 February 2019




Step 2: Identify key topics and program features

Priorities and needs vary, however below is some general conference information and links to find more specific details. What is most relevant to you and your organization?

Find applicable topics, some of the most prevalent topics in the SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing program are sensors, infrared technology, laser systems, spectral imaging, radar, and LiDAR. View the online Call for Papers to learn more about conferences, tracks and program details.

Courses cover current approaches in lasers and applications, sensors, imaging, IR systems, optical & optomechanical engineering, and more. View course information.

The Expo features 380 exhibiting companies showing sensors, infrared, lasers, imaging, optical components, camera, and more. Review the current 2019 exhibitors.

Step 3: Outline the main benefits

Help justify participation by finding the most compelling reasons you will attend. We recommend identifying 3-5 reasons and below offer some ideas you may want to consider.

  • Advance scientific understanding on fundamental aspects of sensors, optics, imaging, lasers, and related technologies.
  • Network among other scientists, researchers, program managers, and company representatives to gain new connections and develop business opportunities.
  • Interact with leaders in the field who are addressing the very same problems to challenge current thinking and obtain actionable advice.
  • Develop new ideas by hearing a broad spectrum of other work in progress.
  • Hear from key leaders who provide the latest on new advancements, technologies, strategies, and key governmental department missions.
  • Access Proceedings to review additional in-progress research and documented results after the conference.
  • Present research to enhance the technology area and share knowledge.
  • Publish a paper in the SPIE Digital Library, the world’s largest collection of optics and photonics research.
  • Publish an accepted paper in an SPIE journal, such Optical Engineering or the Journal of Electronic Imaging.
  • Gain practical skills, learn new methods, and earn CEU’s by taking a course.
  • Gather competitor insights in both conference sessions and the expo.
  • Meet new vendors and see what is currently available in the marketplace.

Step 4: Estimate your costs

All costs are estimates

Estimated 2018 Registration Fees
Registration Type SPIE Member Non-member
Speakers & Authors $765 $825
Non-author Attendees $840 $900
Students $525 $550

SPIE Membership
Length of Time Cost
1 year $125
3 years $350
Lifetime $995

From Round-trip cost
East Coast $300
Mid Country $400
West Coast $500

Other Potential Daily Costs
Expense Cost per day
Parking $10-$40
Meals $51
Hotel TBC

Estimate your driving @ $.535/mile

Step 5: Show the ROI

How will your attendance benefit you and your organization?

Many times conferences are a cost-effective way to accomplish several goals in one trip. We suggest identifying at least 3 ways to show the ROI of your participation. Don’t forget to follow up after the event with the results and promised data.

  • Explain how attendance will contribute to organizational, departmental, or personal goals.
  • Fulfill ongoing professional development requirements by taking a course and earning CEU’s.
  • Set a goal of bringing back 5 specific, implementable ideas and present them to the appropriate leadership after the conference.
  • Offer to bring back one new piece of information/idea/etc. that can be shared with a broader team.
  • Estimate the number of meetings you hope to schedule during your trip in your initial request. Then track every meeting held, whether they were scheduled or spontaneous and make a special note if the meeting was with a new contacts or yielded the desired results. Follow up with a report to appropriate leadership after the event.
  • Establish or strengthen your relationship with a particular organization or person(s) involved in the conference (speaker, contractor, etc.).
  • Visit additional contractors, colleagues, or other applicable business connections while in the area—combining trips to save time and travel costs.

Important Author Dates

Author Notification
10 December 2018

Manuscripts Due
20 March 2019

2019 winners announced

Learn more about the Rising Researchers Program

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