The Optical Society of America (OSA) created The Latin American Optics & Photonics organization with “The explicit objective to promote Optics and Photonics regional activities in Latin America that enhance their development and impact on regional countries and communities. As such, they are partially heir to independent activities that were carried out at the national level”. As such, it was trusted to its OSA Latin American Leadership of the Publications and International Committees. Fully aware of our regional characteristics and needs, they have organized conferences1 and workshops. In particular the workshops have been organized as often as possible on their own or as satellites to Conferences. As such, it is worthwhile to point out that the first one, in 2010, was held as a satellite to a IEEE topical conference on Novel Waveguiding, Structures and Phenomena. For us is an honor, and part of our initial commitments, to held this one in collaboration with the 2019 Riao / Optilas / MOPM Conference2 and the Mexican Academy of Optics. These workshops have been organized in Topical and Education modalities, each one of them focusing on specific needs and characteristics of our young communities. The aim of the LAOP topics is to entice young researchers and advanced graduate students to the frontier fields in optics and photonics, to create a bridge with the world leaders and use the great opportunities available in the CONACyT and SEP scholarships systems to pursue RDI internships and graduate studies abroad. The LAOP RDI&ET workshops focus on Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) and Education & Training (ET) structural problems of our Latin American Communities. Please notice, this is not a workshop on education but it is a workshop on how to learn new enabling scientific technologies, in particular Optics and Photonics, and organize RDI in a virtual scheme.
In Latin America, Optics & Photonics (OP) has characteristic features, often shared with other new scientific enabling technologies. We have a few RDI centers and a vast dispersion of university young researchers, as university professors, but hardly departments or RDI OP groups able to provide a thorough specialized ET. RDI centers provide graduate programs while universities usually provide BS. programs but exceptionally OP BS programs. In industrial terms, there are few specialized industries but there is already a demand for specific technical needs due to the widespread OP use; that have called for alternative industry education and training (ET) solutions. From the RDI point of view, it is quite important to create a bridge between that RDI capabilities and the young talent at the universities; in a RDI environment where their professors are an integral part. On the other hand, while our countries are not Scientific and Technology (S&T) leaders, there is evidence of a young popular attraction on advanced new technologies and therefore the need for technological grassroots approaches for an effective early reach out. Nowadays with the Information and communications technologies (ICT), those RDI and ET weakness becomes a unique collaboration opportunity and that is the topic of the 2019 LAOP workshop; virtual practice and experiences on RDI with embedded ET. That calls for a collaborative approach that enhances the quality, effectiveness and attractiveness of all and each program for the benefit of their students; the aim is to engage all the participants in competitive RDI with scaled up perspectives and to participate in the benefits of specialized ET without taxing them with an extraordinary workload. Our early regional concerns on ET have been partially explored in past ETOP conferences3 where topics such as the use of ICT, remote laboratories and industry related technical micro diplomas has been discussed. This RDI&ET LAOP workshop is the 3rd one, of a series that have explored on line ET solutions and popular international schemes. Therefore this workshop convenes those professionals interested in S&T ET, virtual ET and RDI and related, in particular in OP.
As it has been customary in past LAOP workshops, we dedicate them to leaders who have pursued those ideals. In this case we would like to dedicate this one to three leaders that foresee Science, Technology and Humanities as a whole for our societies well being. They are the late Prof. Alfonso Lombana who was an early promoter of OP Technological education at a very critical time at Colombia, Dr. Sergio Martínez Romo (http://drsergiomr.blogspot.com/) an education expert that perceived the symbiotic education technology change and Dra. Angelica Muñoz Melendez who foresee new humanistic perspectives of robotics. (https://ccc.inaoep.mx/directorio/investigadores/munoz.php).