SPIE Photonics Europe Innovation Village

Showcasing research and innovative products from universities, nonprofits, and research centres

See exciting research and innovative products

Universities, nonprofits, and research centres take part in a competition for prizes by sharing their latest findings and innovative products with industry innovators and other photonics visionaries. The organisations receive visbility for their research and free exhibition space.

Attendees of Photonics Europe's Innovation Village

Purpose: Supporting optics and photonics research programmes

  • Support and publicise research teams from universities, non-profit institutions and research centres who are working on research, new applications, and product development.
  • Provide free exhibition space together with broad exposure and publicity to the young innovators who are developing the photonics-based products of the future.
  • Showcase Europe's (and the world's) finest research programmes and to encourage the transfer of optics and photonics research and technology into new and useful products.

Innovative researchers compete for prizes

Competitiors share their latest findings to photonics visionaries for a chance to win

Winners announced Wednesday 6 April 2022 at the Innovation Village and will be followed by a reception

  • First place €1500
  • First and second runner-up €500 each

Application criteria


Innovative researchers can apply for a complimentary “mini booth” in the Photonics Europe Innovation Village—a special, high-traffic section of the Photonics Europe Exhibition. The selected researchers will be located together with other product developers and present their innovations to a team of industry leaders for a chance to win prizes.

Who can apply

  • The initiative can come from anyone active in the wide domain of photonics. There is no limitation on the number of team members, but three is the recommended number. Your team can be based anywhere in the world and can have affiliations and connections to other non-profit or profit making groups or companies.
  • You must have developed an actual product or have at least a prototype of the product which can be displayed in the Innovation Village. (Software for specific applications related to photonics is acceptable, as long as it can be demonstrated.)
  • Products which have been commercialized and are being currently sold or are on the market, will not be considered. Basic improvements on existing products will also not be considered.
  • You must be able to attend Photonics Europe and be present at your booth.

Rules and conditions

  • The village will include one panel for displays and explanations, a table, and chairs.
  • It is mandatory to display a prototype or demonstration; however, the demonstration does not need to be continuous. It is recommended to also supply English-language literature describing your product.
  • Please ensure that you take out insurance cover for your products as appropriate. Your group will receive one complimentary technical pass to the Photonics Europe Conference.


The Innovation Village Selection Committee will grant awards for the best technological innovation among the participants in the Innovation Village.

The committee will include:

  • A representative from the European Commission Photonics Unit
  • A representative from SPIE
  • Representatives from organising partner Université de Strasbourg
  • A representative from a bank or venture capital company
  • A representative from a large European photonics company

Award categories (1 winner, 2 runner-ups in each category):

  • Best innovation by an individual researcher
  • Best innovation by a multilateral project, organisation or company

Winners will receive an award of €1500. The first and second runner-up will win each €500.

The announcement of the winners in each category will take place at the Innovation Village on Wednesday, 6 April 2022. This announcement will be accompanied by a reception for the participants of the Innovation Village.

How to apply

Submit an application of no more than three pages that includes:

  • A description of your product or prototype or demonstration
  • A description of the photonics technologies involved with your product
  • A description of the purpose of the product and the potential market
  • A description of your institution, research centre or company, and the funding of the project, which led to your innovation.
  • A description of the team itself, its members and their primary activity (student, grad student, professor, researcher, other)

The organizing partner will review all applications, after which they will select and invite teams. You will be notified regarding your invitation within 2 weeks after the submission of your application.