The Optical Science and Technology Center (OSTC) began in 1995 as a community of scientists and engineers, principally co-located in the Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories (IATL) building, dedicated to the enhancement of multidisciplinary optics-related research, teaching and service at the University of Iowa. Through the process of a self study and external review in AY2011, and an institutional response and formal reinvestment in AY2012 the OSTC has been charged to bring its mission, vision, goals and metrics into sharper focus. During the spring of 2012 strategic planning discussions were held at several OSTC faculty meetings, and in April 2012 a strategic planning retreat was held with OSTC members as well as representatives of external constituencies. This strategic plan, including especially the mission statement and vision statement for the OSTC, was formed through the efforts of these groups.
OSTC is a University of Iowa community of scholars and educators that develops and applies interdisciplinary optical science and technology to enable solutions to commercial, environmental and health problems important to the State of Iowa and the World.
OSTC will create a new collaborative framework and vibrant intellectual community for interdisciplinary optics research at the University of Iowa by cross-collegiate student training, reaching out for new partnerships across campus, building on the unique strengths in basic/applied science at University of Iowa and enabling science and technology that benefits the State of Iowa.
Unique attributes and resources of the OSTC
Most of the members of the OSTC have lab and office space located within the IATL, which enhances cross-departmental and cross-collegiate interactions. Common spaces, such as conference rooms and shared equipment facilities, are key enablers of interaction among students, faculty and staff with shared interests in OSTC topics. These lead to "unplanned" intellectual initiatives resulting from the residence of multiple disciplines. Key activities that increase multidisciplinary interaction are the seminar series, symposia, and microfabrication facility (MFF) training and equipment use in shared facilities.