The IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) has released its 2019 Call for Proposals. The call is open to any projects that use astronomy to make an impact on sustainable development. Under this call, proposals are also sought for pilot projects under two Flagship Themes that could be expanded globally in the future.
The 2019 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 can submit a brief application on any 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.
This year, the call includes Flagship Themes identified by the OAD based on the experience of previous projects and input from Regional Offices. Flagships are seen as an effective means for achieving significant impact over a substantial part of the world. Proposers can choose to submit an application under the below Flagship Themes:
- Sustainable, local socio-economic development through astronomy
- Science diplomacy through astronomy: Celebrating our common humanity
Proposals under the Flagships 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 September 15. 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.
About the IAU and OAD
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 2019, the OAD has administered a total of €741,125 in IAU grant funds, which was awarded to 140 projects across the world. Since its establishment the OAD has negotiated the establishment of ten regional offices around the world (based in Armenia, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Jordan, Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Thailand 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).