Australian and New Zealand
Optical Society    

The ANZOS Jim Piper ECR/ MCR Entrepreneurial Researcher Prize recognises an outstanding early career researcher for an early-stage entrepreneurial activity/ start-up in the field of optics, lasers, or photonics. The award is named in honour of Professor Jim Piper, a distinguished and entrepreneurial laser physics researcher, and sponsored by SPIE. 

The prize

US$1000 towards travel costs to attend the SPIE Photonics West Conference, as well as a full PW conference registration (~US$900). This will be awarded annually for the next 3 years, and the recipient will be encouraged to submit to the Photonics West Startup pitchfest to assist in promoting their technology/ start-up. The recipient of the prize will also write an article for ANZOS News.

An application consists of a one-page description of the applicant's career and research achievements since completing their PhD, addressing the selection criteria below. Two confidential references are required for each application: one from a suitable member of the applicant's home institution such as their direct supervisor or Head of Department, and one from an individual familiar with the applicant’s research, but outside the applicant’s institution. In each reference, the referees must address the three criteria for the award listed below.

The Prize is judged by a committee appointed by the ANZOS Council that may also include input from the prize sponsor, SPIE. Applicants must be members of ANZOS at the time of submission. The award need not be made in a given year if the Prize Committee so chooses.

Applications from female candidates and members of other historically under-represented and disadvantaged groups in STEM are strongly encouraged.

Selection criteria

  1. Evidence of the quality and significance of the research and business development underpinning the entrepreneurial activity.
  2. Evidence of the applicant's commitment to progressing the entrepreneurial activity.
  3. Statement addressing how Photonics West attendance will enhance the applicants entrepreneurial mission.
  4. Evidence of applicant’s contribution to the Photonics community in Australia and/or New Zealand, including education, mentorship, outreach and/or public engagement.


    1. Candidates must be within 12 years of completion of their PhD (as defined by conferral date) at 15 July in the year of application.
    2. Applications must be submitted by the candidate themselves.
    3. Applicants must be a current financial member of ANZOS at the time of submission.
    4. Adjustment to the eligibility period of within 12 years of completion of their PhD for part-time employment and significant career interruptions (at least 2-3 months), such as parental/carer responsibilities or illness, are welcome and will be considered on the basis of a short statement from the candidate. Typically, part-time employment or interruption will be considered pro-rata while primary care of a dependant child including parental leave will give up to 2 years eligibility extension.
      To check your exemption eligibility, please email before preparing your application with a short statement outlining your case for exemption. The committee will respond promptly.

    Submission components

    Applicants should provide

    1. A maximum 1200 word narrative written by the applicant specifically addressing the four selection criteria in separate sections under the headings
    • Quality and Significance of the research and business development underpinning the Entrepreneurial activity
    • Commitment to progressing the entrepreneurial activity eg. business planning, capital raising, market, market size, patent licence negotiation with the university (if based in University), processes for employing people etc.  
    • Entrepreneurial mission enhancement by Photonics West attendance
    • Contribution to the Photonics community.
    The narrative should present the entrepreneurial focused research in an accessible way to readers within the optics community, but outside the specific area of the applicant. It should convey the researcher’s approach to their entrepreneurial research program, rather than simply providing a list of achievements.
    2. Names and contact details of the two referees (one from inside and one from outside the applicant's current institution/ company.)

    Applicants are responsible for 1) advising the referees of the selection criteria to be addressed, 2) ensuring that the referees supply the reference letters to the ANZOS Secretary by the closing date.

    3. A current curriculum vitae.
    4. A list of the applicant’s refereed journal or conference publications in the past 5 years.
    Publications must be accepted, not just submitted, and must include acceptance dates for any not yet published.
    5. Optional statement detailing any career interruptions and requesting an extension to the 12 year from PhD eligibility period.


    1. Applications must be submitted by the applicant themselves via email to the ANZOS email. You can address your submission to the ANZOS Secretary.
    2. The two reference letters should be sent directly by the referees to the ANZOS Secretary.
      Applicants are responsible for ensuring the letters reach the Secretary by the closing date.
    3. For the 2024 award, all nomination materials must reach the ANZOS Secretary by the closing date of 15 July 2024.
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