SPIE Fellow nomination criteria

The SPIE Fellows Committee is chartered by the SPIE Board of Directors to solicit, collect, evaluate, and recommend an annual class of SPIE Members for promotion to Fellow. After an extensive evaluation, the committee presents its recommendation in the form of a written report to the Board of Directors for a final decision. Nominations are confidential to SPIE. If a nominee is promoted, both the nominator and the nominee will be notified by SPIE. If the nominee is not promoted, only the nominator will be notified. The deadline for applications is 15 September of the current year; nomination support materials can be received until 1 October.

The SPIE Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee provides these resources to avoid unconscious bias in your nominations. 

Nominate an SPIE Fellow

Nomination criteria

Fellows must meet the following criteria:


According to the bylaws of SPIE, the Board of Directors may confer the grade of Fellow on a Member who has become distinguished through outstanding contributions in the relevant technologies, service to the Society, and service to the general optics and photonics community.  The nominee shall be a Senior Member at the time the nomination is submitted and shall be a current voting Member of the Society.  There is no requirement for time in grade as Senior Member.


Candidates meeting the above eligibility requirements who are nominated for promotion to the grade of Fellow of SPIE will be evaluated by the Society's Fellows Committee according to the following three categories. No individual is expected to meet all of the criteria listed under each category.

Technical accomplishment

Candidates will have distinguished themselves through a clear demonstration of outstanding technical contributions in the field of optics and photonics that set them apart from their peers. The basis for this evaluation will be the candidate's contributions, including but not limited to the following:

  • Evidence of outstanding technical accomplishments in an educational, research, design, engineering, manufacturing, testing, or other capacity.
  • Evidence of outstanding entrepreneurial or technical management contributions to the optics and photonics industry, government programs, or other organizations.
  • Confidential evaluations from current SPIE Fellows and others who are familiar with the candidate's work supporting the outstanding accomplishments, technical contributions, and their impact on the field of optics and photonics.
  • Publication record, including journal and proceedings papers, books, trade journal articles, technical reports, patent disclosures, and high-level presentations.
  • Total years of professional contributions in the field of optics and photonics.
  • Honors, citations, certificates, awards, and other recognition for professional excellence.

While publications, presentations, and patents serve as good documentation of technical accomplishments, there are often circumstances where the candidate's accomplishments are not directly available or easily presented due to classifications or industrial propriety.  In this case, listings of the contributions with enough detail to justify their consideration by the committee will suffice, and a special emphasis on evaluating these contributions should be made by the individuals nominating and recommending the candidate. A separate statement by the candidate describing their contributions and significance may also be used in this situation.

Service to the optical community

Candidates will be evaluated by the committee for their service and contributions to the general optical community. This will be evaluated by presentation of accomplishment in areas including but not limited to the following:

  • Voluntary work with local schools and science fairs.
  • Evidence of distinguished and outstanding contributions to optics (or related) education.
  • Evidence of service to the optical community as an editor or technical reviewer.
  • Clear and outstanding contributions to the international optical community.
  • Service to other societies in related fields.
  • Membership on national and international committees such as Standards or Technology Assessment.
  • Participation in activities to raise visibility and support for optics and photonics within governments.

Service to SPIE

Candidates will be evaluated for their service to SPIE.  Roles of service to SPIE include but are not limited to:

  • Board of Directors
  • Committee Chair or Member
  • Conference Chair or Co-Chair
  • Session/Section Chair
  • Journal Editor, Associate Editor, or Guest Editor
  • Journal Author or Conference Presenter
  • Visiting Lecturer
  • Short Course Instructor
  • Student Chapter Advisor
  • Exhibitor

Fellows nomination requirements

In order for the Society to fairly and accurately evaluate an individual's nomination to the grade of Fellow of the Society, certain types of information will be required. The nominator should ensure that this information is provided. The required nomination components are:

1. The SPIE Fellows Nomination Form that includes:

  • Technical accomplishment
  • Service to the community
  • Service to SPIE
  • Honors and awards

2. A curriculum vitae that includes:

  • Educational history
  • Work experience
  • Publications
  • Awards
  • Honors
  • Patents

Please note that the curriculum vitae should not exceed 20 pages.

3. Nomination support, nominator cover letter, and letters of recommendation:
Both Members and Fellow Members in good standing may nominate individuals as candidates for promotion to SPIE Fellow. At least two support letters are required from references other than the nominator. The nomination and the two support letters should come from at least two different organizations.

If a Member makes the nomination, then two Fellow Members must provide supporting letters of recommendation. If a Fellow Member makes the nomination, then only one additional Fellow Member must second the nomination and provide a letter of recommendation, and a second letter of support may come from any reference (does not need to be a Member of SPIE).  A cover letter for the nomination is also required from the nominator.  The cover letter should be a summary of the nomination and state in a few brief but compelling points why the nominee should be promoted.

The Fellows Committee will notify all nominators, in writing, of their acceptance or other action being taken in regard to the individual nominee being considered.

In the event that a nominee is not chosen for a Fellow of the Society the first time he or she is nominated, the next two consecutive committees automatically consider the nominee for Fellow. Nominators are encouraged to update or add to the nomination materials, if appropriate, prior to the next year's deadline.

The SPIE Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee provides these tips to avoid bias in nominations. 

Nominations must be submitted to SPIE by 15 September of the given year, with acceptance of supporting materials until 1 October.

Nominate an SPIE Fellow