We are building a foundation supporting young people shaping optics and photonics in Poland

To achieve it we need

We are PhD students, employees and alumni of the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw. We represent various circles of young scientists who are developing optics and photonics in Poland. We met at the Student Association of Optics and Photonics at the University of Warsaw which has been actively helping students and PhD candidates for 10 over years. 


This year we want to use the experience we have gained and take our involvement to a higher, national level by establishing a foundation. We have gathered a team of experienced people who care deeply about the development of optics and photonics in Poland.


Our ambition is to make a tangible difference in the Polish scientific community within the next decade towards world-class quality of education and development of light sciences.


• What is optics and photonics?

Optics and photonics are rapidly growing branches of science and technology focused on the properties and applications of light. The speed of light and its fascinating quantum properties are what made photonics crucial to such areas of science as modern medical diagnostics, telecommunication, defence and many others.

The name Candela refers to one of the basic physical units. A brilliant description of what candela is, what it is not and where it is used is available at the website of NIST: National Institute of Standards and Technology. We chose this name because we wanted the name of the foundation to be directly connected with light itself which is the essence of both optics and photonics.

• What's it all for?

Photonics has been recognized by the European Commission as one of the six Key Enebling Technologies for the future of mankind. Both photonics and optics are being developed very dynamically in Poland which can be confirmed, among others, by the topics of International Research Agendas (IRAs). Those are new research institutions financed by the EU and staffed with outstanding scientists from all over the world. More than half of all IRAs are related to optics and photonics. 

We have extensive experience in working with both the optical industry and academia, a full support of some of the most important research institutions in Poland and we are happy do to the work. We started at the Student Association of Optics and Photonics at the University of Warsaw (KNOF) which brings together young people who work in some of the best scientific and industrial centers in Poland and around the world. These young scientists not only publish in the best journals (Science, Nature) but also actively participate in the development of technologies protected by international patents. In recent years, KNOF has organized two of the most important scientific events related to optics in Poland: OPTO2017, which is one of the largest Polish optical conference, and OSA Siegman International Summer School on Lasers – the world’s most prestigious summer school for PhD students who use lasers in their research.

In research work institutional support changes literally everything. In recent years, a few initiatives in a similar area have been implemented in the form of programs, research grants, and companies that have the potential to develop the local environment.

However, we know first-hand that none of them are focused on substantially and successively supporting newly graduated PhDs of science, scientists who are young parents, student organizations or international students and employees.

The main goal of the foundation is to effectively fill these gaps based on many years of experience of the team which includes representatives of both the industry and academia.

We know what needs to be done in order to make implementing projects enjoyable. We will create a foundation which will allow the polish optical society to develop more efficiently than ever. We want Poland to be the place where even the most ambitious scientific dreams can come true.

Donate on zrzutka.pl – https://zrzutka.pl/en/h3e937 –  to contribute to our fundraiser and help us officially register, launch and keep the foundation alive for the first year. All money raised beyond the goal will be used to fund the foundation’s programs.

• Letters of support 

Our initiative has gained the support of some of the most important R&D organizations in Poland. At our request, they have sent us special letters with declarations of support for the ideas represented by the Candela Foundation.

• Meet our team

From the very beginning we wanted Candela to be created by the representatives of different optical circles with whom we had the pleasure of cooperating at the Student Association of Optics and Photonics at the University of Warsaw. Our goal was to create a competent team which will be able to both create and implement dedicated programs which will meet the needs and expectations of both the industry and academia. The Candela team is divided into three bodies: the Management Board, which is the governing body, the Foundation Council, which is the controlling body, and the Founders Committee, which is the advisory body.

• Our core values

While preparing the foundation’s statute, which is the main document regulating the foundation, we drew inspiration from the experience of some of the most efficiently operating scientific foundations in Poland and abroad. We made it convey every single one of the following ideas and values:
Gaining the trust of our community and its active participation in Candela’s initiatives is of paramount importance for us. In our opinion, achieving such a goal will not be possible without a full transparency of our actions. Therefore, not only the financial and after action reports of the foundation but also all the resolutions of the Candela’s bodies and full balance sheets will be published on our website.

Efficient communication is the key to the success of every single project. In our opinion, the effort put in communicating science and technology to the public is currently far too small which recently has been especially noticeable. For this very reason, we want Candela to become a hub for science communication which will actively participate in shaping the future communication strategies for polish R&D centers. We plan to share the know-how and contacts to the specialists which we have gathered over the years.

Our team consists of young people who know how optics and photonics are developed in Poland. We know that there are many amazing projects which all face similar, non-scientific challenges  We realize that it is thanks to the young people who still believe that “it is possible” that projects and technologies of global importance are successfully developed every day.

The series of OPTO conferences is a great example. They began in 2005 and have since become a brand recognized around the world. According to our knowledge, it is the oldest and so far the only conference for young scientists which has been organised every year for 15 years straight.

We are convinced that there are many more such projects and people. Our dream is to make Candela their partner which will make it not only possible but also much more pleasant to implement all their ambitious projects. Within the framework of Candela’s numerous programs we first plan to support students, PhD students, young PhDs and young people working in optics- and photonics-related companies, research units and student orgainizations.

In creative fields, which also applies to optics and photonics, the best ideas are generated when they are created by people of different backgrounds who look at a problem from a slightly different perspective. As Candela, we will support initiatives which promote openness, inclusiveness and respect for the variety of voices in the discussion. We believe that promoting diversity is one of the most important challenges of modern science. As a part of this priority, we plan to open an office where foreign people who decided to pursue their scientific career in Poland will be able to receive comprehensive help and assistance. We also plan to publish and update a special guide designed to answer all of the most frequently asked questions on this topic.

When designing the structure of the foundation, especially the powers of individual bodies and the rules of communication between them, we were very focused on making the foundation operate efficiently. We also made sure that if the surrounding reality changes, the foundation will be able to adapt and continue to support the development of optics and photonics in Poland.

• Candela's first statutory activities

While planning the first two years of Candela’s activity we decided to focus on 4 priority areas:

Summer internships for students

Our first goal is to create a program which will enable students to take part in summer internships in the best research institutes in Poland. The program will be open to both domestic and international students. Its participants will be provided with financial and logistic support.

Optics and photonics outreach

Polish research on optics and photonics is carried out intensively with a majority of the projects being funded by the government or the European Union. In order to gain public support for this type of innovation, it is necessary to conduct consistent communication tailored to the ever-changing trends. To this end, Candela will initiate and support projects aimed at popularizing these areas of knowledge and facilitate the promotion of Polish achievements domestically and abroad.

Support for international students and employees

The internationalization of science in Poland is progressing as more and more people decide to pursue a part of their scientific career in Poland. Unfortunately, once the move is over they are often confronted with a myriad of problems related to the lack of information in English, unfamiliarity with the common practices or the unfriendliness of the local administration. The Candela Foundation office will create appropriate guides and provide adequate support for such people right here in Warsaw.

Organization of events and networking activities

Candela aspires to be a partner in the organization of scientific events. Using our know-how, contacts and materials we will be able to greatly simplify the whole process. Our goal is to make the act of organizating a conference, summer school or congress focused on the best possible use of the event's potential, rather than on solving some technical and administrative problems. Only this way will it be possible to efficiently facilitate networking, exchange of information and overall integration of the optical community in Poland.

• Sources of funding for the statutory activities

The matter of finding adequate financing for the statutory activities is crucial to ensuring efficient operating of every foundation. In this case, we have decided that the Candela Foundation will have three sources of raising funds: direct support from the optical community, support from the government and an economic activity. It is worth pointing out that 100% of the profits from the latter will be used to fund Candela’s statutory activities.

Foundations around the world are funded by private donors. We also plan to make it possible for everyone to co-create and participate in the programmes run by Candela Foundation. To simply process of donations we will make available on our website the possibility of making donations to Candela’s statutory goals in such a way that there is a minimum of paperwork involved.

As an element of the aforementioned transparency we have introduced a provision in the statute which allows the donor to indicate a specific area that he wants to support, in accordance with the foundation’s statute. What is more, the Statues were formulated in such a way that the Board of the Foundation is legally obliged to take into consideration any such request.
As scientists we come from an environment that has extensive experience in applying for, implementing and accounting for grants. We will use those skills to build the foundation by actively raising funds from local and government funds. We will to use the rich experience of the whole Team for this purpose. We also strive to ensure that the costs of project servicing and day-to-day operations of the foundation are financed entirely from our business activities.
The business operations of the foundation will include assistance to scientists in areas that until now have been the unpleasant and very time-consuming consequences of receiving grants. What we have in mind here is, among other things, professional and comprehensive organisation of scientific conferences, designing materials necessary for the implementation and settlement of grants, and realisation of specialist scientific communication. These are subjects which, according to our knowledge, no one else in Poland is able or willing to undertake in a reliable manner. The money earned in this way will be directed back to the optical community in Poland by means awards, scholarships and grants.

• Newsletter

We are inviting you to sign in our newsletter. Few times a year we will be sending information about what is going on in optics and photonics in Poland
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