About the school


  • Tissue Optics
  • Photo-Acoustic Imaging
  • Microscopy and Light Sheets
  • Optical Coherence Tomography
  • Light Propagation in Turbid Media
  • Multimodal Approaches in Endomicroscopy
  • Molecular Imaging Based on Optical Methods
  • Optical Trapping and Their Applications in Biophotonics


Schedule and Format

  • Schedule
    • lectures in the morning and in the evening
    • topics split across two days to further stimulate discussions
    • afternoons (mostly) free for activities
    • participants are expected to participate in all of the lectures

  • Workshops
    • OCTAVA, Monte Carlo simulations & NIRFAST
    • MathWorks (2022)

  • Poster sessions
    • important part of the school
    • interact with fellow students
    • interact and feedback from lecturers


SPIE Best Poster Award

Students accepted into the school present a poster of their research or proposed research programme. The poster presentations are evaluated by the organizers and lecturers during two sessions at the school, and the best poster is awarded the SPIE Best Poster Award.

Poster evaluation criteria:

  • Poster appearance
    • clarity
    • presentation of main points
    • visual appearance

  • Presentation of poster
    • 2 minutes pitch of main points (practice that)
    • answering questions and/or engaging into discussions

  • Scientific content
    • evaluate content based on its novelty and scientific merits
    • in case of students presenting their proposed project to be carried out evaluate its potential

  • Relevance to the community
    • impact on clinical or biological applications, breaking new grounds, commercial exploitation



Maximum credit points: 5 (five) ECTS points.

After completion of the graduate summer school, including preparation of a poster, presenting the poster, and attending the school, a diploma is issued.

Completing school, 3 (three) points: The workload of the school is equivalent to three weeks full time work, i.e., three (3) ECTS points.

Additional points, 2 (two) points: Optionally, students may select to prepare an internet presentation (slide deck or, preferred, video presenting a slide deck of about 20 minutes length) of one of the topics covered during the school (but not their own core research topic). The presentation is evaluated by the organizers and lecturers and, if approved, published at the school web site. The work load is equivalent to two weeks full time work, i.e., (two) ECTS points.


The Island of Ven

The school venue is the Island of Ven, a very small island, located in the strait separating the two countries of the organisers, Denmark and Sweden.

The Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546–1601) lived on the Island of Ven. Starting in 1576, he had an observatory, a laboratory and about a hundred students on the Island. Therefore, we found it perfectly suited for a graduate school combining science and the history of Sweden and Denmark.

Tycho Brahe was an engineer and innovator, which we believe is a great mindset for students in our field of research.


School history

  • In 2001, Stefan & Peter identified a lack of good courses and text books in biomedical optics and biophotonics
    • only few short courses existed, mainly at Photonics West
    • would a summer school fill this void?
  • Excellent feedback from community
    • prominent teachers were very positive and directly promised to take part
  • We wanted to be different
    • teaching means four lectures per topic to enhance the basic understanding, split across two days
    • students exchange ideas and results in poster sessions
    • students are selected (maximum ca 60 attendees) based on evaluation
  • First school in 2003
    • held every second year
  • Sponsors
    • supported by SPIE since the very first school in 2003
    • SPIE is the main sponsor since 2013
      • SPIE increased its stakes ever since the first school now regulated via a mutual MoU
      • the poster prize has been named the SPIE Best Poster Award
    • other sponsors are allowed to promote e.g. industry participation and/or our diversity/inclusion agenda