ann20014 — Announcement

Columba Hypatia: Astronomy for Peace
29 April 2020
IAU OAD Releases 2020 Call for Proposals

The IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) has released its 2020 Call for Proposals. The call is open to projects that aim to use astronomy to make an impact on sustainable development. In light of the current global pandemic, the OAD is also releasing an extraordinary call specifically for COVID-19 related proposals which aim to use astronomy to alleviate some of the effects of the pandemic.

The 2020 Call for Proposals will follow the two-stage model from previous years. In Stage 1, open to anyone from anywhere in the world (regardless of background in astronomy), proposers are asked to submit a brief application on a project idea that plans to use astronomy to promote development. Stage 1 proposals, typically 2 pages long, will be scored by the OAD reviewers based on a set of defined criteria.

The call includes Flagship Themes identified by the OAD based on the experience of previous projects and input from Regional Offices. Proposers can choose to submit an application under the following Flagship Themes:

  1. Sustainable, local socio-economic development through astronomy
  2. Science diplomacy through astronomy: Celebrating our common humanity
  3. Knowledge and Skills for Development

Proposals under the Flagship Themes should serve as local pathfinders or pilot projects that can later be expanded globally.

Selected proposals will be invited to submit a more comprehensive Stage 2 application. During Stage 2, teams will engage and work closely with the OAD, its Regional Offices where applicable, and other experts, who will provide guidance and feedback to improve the application. Based on these engagements, proposers may modify their Stage 2 application and submit by 15 September. The revised Stage 2 applications will be scored by the reviewers who will make recommendations on projects to be funded. After final approval from the OAD Steering Committee, applicants will be notified of the results.

The selected projects will be implemented in 2021. Given that the COVID-19 global pandemic will likely continue to impact activities in 2021, project proposers are asked to consider creative strategies for implementation and to build in mitigation plans.

Additional Extraordinary Call for COVID-19 related proposals:

The OAD is also releasing an additional, extraordinary call for proposals for projects (or partnerships) that, in some way, use astronomy to help alleviate some of the effects of the current global pandemic. This call will provide small grants, up to 20 000 South African Rands (ZAR) each, as cash or in kind. Proposals will be reviewed by the OAD and the review panel after the deadline of 15 May 2020.

More information

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 13 500 professional astronomers from more than 100 countries worldwide. Its mission is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers.

The IAU established the Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) in partnership with the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa. The OAD was officially opened on 16 April 2011 at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Cape Town, South Africa. As of 2020, the OAD has administered approximately €850 000 in IAU grant funds, awarded to more than 150 projects across the world. Since its establishment the OAD has negotiated the establishment of eleven regional offices around the world (based in Armenia, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Jordan, Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Thailand, USA and Zambia) with two of these offices serving as a joint language centre (Chinese and Arabic), and one serving as a dedicated language centre (Portuguese).



Ramasamy Venugopal
IAU Office of Astronomy for Development
Tel: +27 21 460 9350

Kevin Govender
IAU Office of Astronomy for Development
Tel: +27 21 447 0025

Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer
Cell: +49 173 3872 621

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Columba Hypatia: Astronomy for Peace