Researchers, scientists and industry experts (no matter their amount of “in-field” experience) must stay current with scientific understanding and technological advances if they expect to succeed in the future. They must continually educate themselves. They have to. There is no other way to even fathom new, innovative technologies without continuous learning. This month we feature a special section dedicated to the education side of the industry.Laura Tobin, president of the University College Dublin (Ireland) SPIE/OSA Chapter, details how the group is producing the next generation of researchers, scientists and engineers, beginning on page 55. Photonics Spectra also shines a spotlight on three of the top university optics and photonics programs in the U.S. — the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester, the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences, and the University of Central Florida’s College of Optics and Photonics (CREOL). All three are among the top 14 such programs in the country, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report in 2014. The innovation that flows through these programs raises the bar for optics and photonics research worldwide. Researchers at these schools and at similar international programs are helping to fuel the future of light-based technologies. Notably, researchers at Rochester recently produced light-emitting quantum dots based on defects on an atomically thin 2D semiconductor, potentially enabling nanophotonics applications. Using freeform optics and integral imaging, researchers at Arizona in recent months were able to superimpose a 3D image to create an augmented view of the real world, which could ultimately reduce eyestrain. Recent work at CREOL has focused on flexible displays; a team of researchers there has developed a way to trigger rain and lightning in clouds using a high-energy laser beam, which could guide microwave signals, long-distance chemical sensors and spectrometers. Read more, beginning on page 50. Also in this issue: • Coherent Inc.’s Andrew Held highlights new CO laser technology that offers various processing benefits, page 34; • Contributing Editor Hank Hogan talks about the advancements OLEDs are making in lighting, displays, smart devices, light-absorbing windows and more, page 38; • Advances in CMOS image sensors and their potential for new applications are featured in a piece by Yakov Bulayev, of Hamamatsu Corp., page 41; and • Jeremy Govier, of Edmund Optics, details the best ways to optimize aspheric lens design, page 44. In the world of optics and photonics, education is powering the future of technology. So remember, my friends, never stop learning. Enjoy the issue.