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Find out how you can become a 2020 Rising Researcher

Become a 2020 Rising Researcher

2020 Applications system now open
The Rising Researchers program is designed to recognize early career professionals who are conducting outstanding work in product development or research in the defense, commercial, and scientific sensing, imaging, optics, or related fields.

Apply today

2020 Applications accepted
July to Oct 2019

2020 Applications due
23 October 2019

Rising Researchers honored
26-30 April 2020

Important dates

Abstracts due 16 October 2019
Rising Researcher applications due 23 October 2019
Winners announced December 2019
Winners honored 26-30 April 2020

Benefits to selected Rising Researchers

Selected 2020 Rising Researchers will receive:

 • 1 SPIE DCS 2020 Fee Waiver (with Proceedings)
 • 1-year SPIE membership or SPIE Early Career Professional membership
 • 1 fee waiver for a half-day course at SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing
 • Paper identified as a 2020 Rising Researcher in the conference program
 • Special invitation to networking opportunities at the 2020 event
 • Acknowledgement in the 2020 program and may be featured in other SPIE materials, such as #FacesofPhotonics or SPIE Professional Magazine


Open to early career professionals—scientific researchers, product developers, and/or industry professionals—working in science and technology areas addressed within the SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing program.
 • Researchers located anywhere in the world and who received their terminal degree in the past 10 years (after 16 October 2009).
 • Students—those who have not yet completed their terminal degree—are not eligible to apply for this award package and recognition.
 • Postdoctoral researchers are eligible to apply.
 • There are no age restrictions.
 • SPIE Membership is not required.
 • Women, minorities, and veterans are encouraged to apply.

Application requirements

Qualified early career professionals may apply as a Rising Researcher after submitting an abstract to the SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing program by the 16 October due date.
Rising Researcher applications must submit the following by 23 October:
 • Letter of recommendation
 • CV or resume and contribution history
 • 1-3 minute video sharing the significance of your research
 • SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing abstract submission tracking number
Submit your application online

Judging criteria

After the 23 October application deadline, application materials will be reviewed by a Rising Researchers Selection Committee. The committee will be made up of 6-10 members from SPIE leadership, industry leadership, Defense + Commercial Sensing Chairs, and the Advisory Board.
 • The key criterion in evaluating and ranking applications is the researcher's potential long-term contribution to sensing, imaging, optics, photonics, and related fields.
 • Applications are judged based on the contribution of the researcher to the scientific, educational, or economic impact of optics and photonics.
 • Merit will be judged relative to other applicants with similar professional backgrounds.
Selections will be announced in December and will be identified online and in SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2020 materials.

Sign in to the application system