Call for Proposals for Seed Money Support and/or Endorsement for Astronomical Cornerstone Programs for the International Year of Light

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) Executive Committee Working Group on the International Year of Light (IYL) solicits your proposals for astronomy programs in support of IYL themes. The IYL was initiated by the European Physical Society with strong support from the Optics and Photonics industries. It has received the endorsement of UNESCO and the UN (as was the case for the International Year of Astronomy, IYA2009), with events being planned throughout 2015. The astronomy community has been invited to participate through the IAU with a highlighted topic ‘Cosmic Light’; the IAU has authority to endorse astronomy-related programs as official components of the IYL. For now, further information can be found at the EPS website,

The officially stated themes of the IYL are:

  1. Science of Light
  2. Light Technology
  3. Light in Nature
  4. Light and Culture

Of course, we can build on the heritage and infrastructure of the IYA2009 to provide astronomy activities for many of their themes. At the same time, our strongest contributions are likely to be crosscutting for more than one of the IYL main themes. We know that astronomy topics naturally involve the nature and origin of light, the function of astronomical optics, as well as the cultural and scientific value of dark sky preservation. Given the relatively short lead-time of less than a year, we assume that we will be building on existing programs, particularly ones that have been successful legacy projects from IYA2009. We note the paradigm from the IYA that the successful programs were built by the dedication and enthusiasm of their proponents in a bottom-up fashion.

With this call, the WG is issuing a special call on behalf of the IAU for proposals for seed money support to develop both project prototypes and mature proposals for major funding for an astronomy cornerstone project. A ‘Cosmic Light’ cornerstone project is a highlighted astronomy-oriented activity of the IYL with global impact. It must reach across cultural and language boundaries to enhance knowledge of and appreciation for the role of light in observation and measurement of atmospheric and cosmic phenomena and/or for the need for quality lighting and other protection of the beauty and content of natural light from the sky.

Criteria for endorsement of a cornerstone project include:

  • Clear connection to one or more cornerstone themes of the IYL.
  • Clear objective for educating, training, and/or informing the defined target audience
  • Demonstrated outcome that the materials and presentation can achieve the objective.
  • Clear plan for “training the trainers” in kit use, scientific content, exhibit deployment, etc.
  • Demonstration of global scope
    • Clear plan for deployment in multiple geographical regions
    • Identification of the major languages in which the material will be presented, along with
    • Plans for website, publicity, and other mechanisms for dissemination.
  • Well-defined project for development phase, production phase, and deployment, including supportable costing.
  • Plausible plan for obtaining or clear description of already contributed support adequate to execute the project at global scale.
  • Metrics for project impact.
  • Possible path to sustainability for continuing project activities on a regular basis beyond the IYL. 

Development seed money of 10-15k€ each will be granted to up to three proposals for projects seeking cornerstone status.  The proposal template and submission instructions are found at the IAU website,

  The Call for Proposals is now closed  

  • Should a cornerstone project team obtain sufficient funding to proceed at global scale, they should inform the IAU WG for final endorsement and integration into the IYL highlighted projects listings.

The IAU Working Group on the International Year of Light is chaired by Richard Green (University of Arizona, USA).

Its members and Associates are:
Kim Arcand (FETTU) (USA)
Piero Benvenuti (IAU Asst. General Secretary) (Europe)
Peter Blattner (CIE, Director Division 2) (Europe)
Sze Leung Cheung (IAU OAO) (Global)
Rick Fienberg (AAS/IAU C55/Galileoscope) (USA)
Steve Fotios (CIE, Chair TC 4-48) (UK/Europe)
Beatriz Garcia (IAU C46) (S. America)
Kevin Govender (IAU OAD) (Global)
John Hearnshaw (IAU C46, World Heritage WG) (Pacific)
Chris Monrad (Professional Lighting Engineer, IDA Board) (USA)
Steve Pompea (Galileoscope Project Organizer/US Program Director for IYA) (USA)
Thomas Posch (IDA) (Europe)
Pedro Russo (IAU C55 VP/UNAWE/IYA2009) (Europe)
Mike Simmons (Astronomers Without Borders) (USA)
Malcolm Smith (IAU C50 former President) (S. America)
Connie Walker (IAU C50, Globe at Night, IDA Board, International & National Chair for IYA DSA Cornerstone) (USA)
Xiaohua Wang (IDA Beijing & Starry Sky Project of China) (Asia)



Sze-leung Cheung
IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach
Tel: +81-(0)422-34-3896

Richard F. Green
University of Arizona
Steward Observatory
Tucson AZ 85721-0065 (USA)

Download Application Form (doc)

Download Application Form (pdf)

IAU General Assembly
Honolulu, 3-14 August 2015

IAU General Assembly 2015

IAU e-Newsletter
Volume 2015 n° 1

Latest e-Newsletter

Subscribe to the e-Newsletter


Discuss the IAU Commission reform (Members only)


CAPjournal issue 16 now available

CAPjournal issue 16

NameExoWorlds Contest


IAU Directory for World Astronomy


IAU Office of Astronomy for Development

Office for Astronomy Development

IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach

Office for Astronomy Outreach

Astronomy Outreach Newsletters and Events

Outreach Newsletters

Peer-reviewed Astronomy Education Activities

Astro EDU

Astronomy for Development 
Strategic Plan 2010–2020

Strategic Plan