Letters of Intent received in 2019

LoI 2021-2101
Astronomy for Development

Date: 23 August 2021 to 24 August 2021
Location: Busan, Korea, Rep of
Contact: Kevin Govender (kg@astro4dev.org)
Coordinating division: Division C Education, Outreach and Heritage
Other divisions: Division A Fundamental Astronomy
Division B Facilities, Technologies and Data Science
Division D High Energy Phenomena and Fundamental Physics
Division E Sun and Heliosphere
Division F Planetary Systems and Astrobiology
Division G Stars and Stellar Physics
Division H Interstellar Matter and Local Universe
Division J Galaxies and Cosmology
Co-Chairs of SOC: Kevin Govender (IAU OAD)
Vanessa McBride (IAU OAD)
Co-Chairs of LOC: Kevin Govender (IAU OAD)
Vanessa McBride (IAU OAD)

 

Topics

1. OAD Flagship 1: Sustainable, local socio-economic development through Astronomy
2. OAD Flagship 2: Science diplomacy through Astronomy - Celebrating our Common Humanity
3. Global structure in astronomy-for-development - OAD’s Regional Offices
4. OAD Call for proposals - history of funded activities and future directions
5. Volunteers and volunteer opportunities for IAU members
6. Synergies between IAU structures (OAD, OAO, OYA, OAE, IAU Divisions, etc)
7. Interdisciplinary imperatives in astronomy-for-development: synergies between natural and social sciences
8. Astronomy for Peace and Development: the case of the Koreas
9. Past, present and future of Astronomy-for-Development: assessment of impact

 

Rationale

The OAD represents a major financial and philosophical commitment of the IAU to ensure that astronomy will have a truly global impact on society. As of 2019 the OAD had supported over 140 projects in over 90 countries across the world, and established 10 regional offices. In 2019, the OAD conducted an analysis of all lessons and trends to date, and established a set of global “flagship” projects, which receive greater focus and are coordinated directly from the OAD. With so much going on it is extremely important to have a Focus Meeting at this General Assembly to allow IAU members to engage with the work of the OAD and contribute to shaping its future.

This global astronomy-for-development footprint would not be possible without the strong partnership between the IAU and the South African National Research Foundation, which hosts the OAD in Cape Town, South Africa, at the South African Astronomical Observatory. In 2021, at the time of the IAU General Assembly in Busan, the IAU-NRF agreement would be due for renewal, and as such a second 5 year review of the OAD would have just been completed. This Focus Meeting is thus an ideal opportunity to reflect on the past, present and future of Astronomy-for-Development, and establish the roadmap of such activities in line with the IAU Strategy 2020-2030, as the decade begins.

The topics have been chosen with this principle in mind. and are described in a bit more detail below:
1. The Flagships (Topics 1 and 2): OAD flagships are being developed within the OAD but project proposers have been submitting proposals for “pilots” for these flagships. More information about the flagships at http://www.astro4dev.org/flagship-projects/.
2. Global structure in astronomy-for-development - OAD’s Regional Offices: this topic will revolve around the activities of the many regional offices that have been established and reflect on challenges and opportunities.
3. OAD Call for proposals - history of funded activities and future directions: this has been a key part of the OAD’s portfolio and is where a significant amount of IAU funding is spent. Discussions here will reflect on what has been funded thus far and how the process should evolve into the future.
4. Volunteers and volunteer opportunities for IAU members: Discussions will revolve around experiences by volunteers and challenges in managing the many volunteers registered with the OAD. Platforms for the future will be discussed.
5. Synergies between IAU structures (OAD, OAO, OYA, IAU Divisions, etc): given the many activities within the IAU there is a need for synergies. This FM is the ideal place to discuss through panels and contributed talks how those synergies should develop.
6. Interdisciplinary imperatives in astronomy-for-development: synergies between natural and social sciences: it has always been clear that in order for the IAU to realise development ambitions through astronomy, there is an important need to engage with development and social science fields. This topic will explore those needs and how we should move into the future to ensure maximum societal benefit from astronomy.
7. Astronomy for Peace and Development: the case of the Koreas: this is to take advantage of the location of the meeting to have important discussions around astronomy as a tool for peace, considering the case of one of the regions in the world that is well-known for its cross-border challenges.
8. Past, present and future of Astronomy-for-Development: The OAD would have just undergone its second 5 year review. At the start of the 2020-2030 decade this would be a good time to reflect on the “big-picture” thinking around astronomy-for-development, based on the OAD’s history and future plans. The impact of the OAD’s work over the years will be assessed, along with a reflection on the envisaged impact by 2030.