Young scientists' involvement in the optics community, promotion of optics among local communities; these are the aims of hundreds of Student Chapters around the world. Chapters organise local activities, such as educational outreach programmes for schools, scientific seminars with invited speakers, giving a valuable service to the local communities and their own members.
However, there have been relatively few Student Chapter-driven opportunities for international networking and exchange.
IONS, The International OSA Network of Students aims at doing exactly this – establishing and strengthening professional and personal ties among young scientists from around the world.
Since the kick-off meeting in Barcelona in early 2007, IONS Conferences has successfully brought together young scientists from around the world, who pursue their PhD in optics and photonics. Our conferences generally feature three sections which aim at broadening the participant's scientific horizon, at discussing chapter activities such as educational outreach programmes, and at networking.
In the scientific sessions the young scientists discuss science and present their latest results to fellow young scientists. Since the participants come from different areas of optics, this session allows them to learn about optics outside their own research, effectivly broadening their scientific horizon which will faciliate scientific collaborations in their careers. Participants also get direct access to post-graduate opportunities, and an insight into the cultures at different institutes and universities.
Educational outreach programmes, promoting science in the local communitites, are a very essential part of a chapter's activities. Improving outreach programmes and other chapter activities is the focus of a separate session where chapter members highlight their recent activities.
A strong focus of IONS lies in allowing the chapter members to build an international network. The conference programme includes sufficient time to meet the participants in a relaxed and informal atmosphere, and include cultural activities as well. Last, but not least IONS contributes to a young scientist's leadership skills, and gives valuable experience from outside academic research.
IONS serves as a plattform for young scientists, allowing them to successfully and efficiently establish and strengthen international professional and personal ties.