OAD 2023 Call for Proposals

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The Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) announces the launch of its annual call for proposals for projects that use astronomy to address challenges related to sustainable development. The call for proposals is open to anyone from anywhere in the world. It is conducted in two stages, where OAD will invite a limited number of proposals from Stage 1 to submit a Stage 2 proposal.

Eligibility
  • The proposed project should address a problem or challenge related to development, and the project should use Astronomy as a tool to address this problem;
  • The OAD encourages applications from groups that have not received funding from us in the past;
  • The OAD encourages applications from regions and countries that have not been funded. Please see a map of our project locations;
  • Previously funded and completed projects or previous grant holders should have completed all reporting requirements, where applicable;
  • One or more project deliverables should be ready by the end of the implementation year: proposals are welcome for projects that run over several years (max of 3 years), although funds will only be released annually according to the proposed budget per year and subject to a review of progress;
  • All distributable project resources, materials, etc., should be released to the public under an appropriate license (e.g.creative commons), allowing unrestricted use and adaptation, unless otherwise agreed with the OAD;
  • Proposers should be able to provide a verified bank account through which funds can be paid if the project is selected for funding;
  • All projects should adhere to the Principle of Universality of Science as defined by the International Science Council (previously ICSU), of which the IAU is a member;
  • Projects should also adhere to the IAU Code of Conduct, which includes policies on ethics and anti-harassment best practices. The code of conduct should be made available to participants of all IAU-funded activities;
  • All project team members listed in the proposal should have discussed the proposal and committed to executing the project. The project team should be prepared to verify qualifications and/or reference letters if requested by the OAD;
  • The proposers should obtain all necessary permissions and authorisations, as required by their national and local laws, to carry out their work, such as written parental consent when working with minors, permission to use copyrighted material, permission for gatherings etc.;
  • The project team, in consultation with the OAD, should set the expected outcomes and deliverables and corresponding measurement methods to determine the impact; and
  • Proposals should be submitted via the online Application Form. All proposals received will be acknowledged by email. 
Additional Note
  • Applicants should email info@astro4dev.org if they do not receive an email confirmation of their application; and 
  • Applicants should email info@astro4dev.org If they cannot submit the proposal online at least a week before the deadline to arrange for an alternative submission method. This includes anyone with visual or other impairments who may require assistance.
Application Process

The call for proposals is divided into two stages of application. The first stage is open to everyone, while only selected proposals from Stage 1 will be invited to Stage 2. In addition, more information for Stage 2 will be provided after Stage 1 on 30 May 2023. 

Stage 1

Stage 1 is open to a single person or a team of proposers globally. In addition, proposers must submit a brief online application featuring critical aspects of their project and idea. The OAD review panel will score the proposals on a defined criteria.

Furthermore, around 30 proposals will be selected from the Stage 1 applications and the applicants are invited to submit a Stage 2 proposal. In addition, each of the eleven IAU Regional and Language Offices will nominate any one proposal from their region to be invited to Stage 2. Nonetheless, all proposals will receive brief feedback from the reviewers.

Additional Note

OAD may be unable to send money to some countries under international sanctions. For more information, email info@astro4dev.org to confirm the eligibility of your country.

Stage 2

Selected proposals will be invited to Stage 2, and the proposers will work with the OAD on their application. As a first step, the proposers will be asked to submit a draft Stage 2 application, accessible to the OAD team, the Regional Offices, and invited external experts, who will help refine the proposal.  However, the draft application will not be available to the review panel, which will eventually evaluate the applications.

The Regional Offices will suggest ways of improving a proposal to be locally relevant, thus ensuring support from possible local collaborators who could strengthen the project. The OAD, alongside the Regional Offices, will check whether the projects are truly innovative (checking previously funded OAD projects and other initiatives addressing similar concerns) and whether the project idea is supported by current evidence. The OAD and Regional Offices may suggest potential collaborators if applicable. External experts, consulted by the OAD where necessary, would provide helpful additional guidance on the assessment of projects, including a perspective on which projects are most likely to impact development.

Based on OAD and the Regional Offices’ discussions, proposers modify their Stage 2 applications and submit them online by the final deadline. An independent review panel then scores these modified Stage 2 proposals and makes recommendations on the projects to be funded and the funding amounts for each project. All applicants are notified of the results upon approval by the OAD Steering Committee.

Grant

The International Astronomical Union (IAU)  has pledged USD 132,624 (EUR 120,000) for this 2023 call for proposals. In the past, individual project grants have ranged from USD 1,105 – USD 16,576 (EUR 1,000 – EUR 15,000), with an average budget of around USD 5,527 (EUR 5,000) per project.

Project Duration

Typically, OAD projects run for one year – beginning in January or February following the call for proposals. For this call, selected projects are expected to start in January or February 2024 (the grant will be paid by that time) and be completed by January or February 2025. However, Proposers can request a no-cost extension if unavoidable circumstances cause delays.

In addition, the OAD solicits proposals for multi-year projects (up to 3 years). However, this does not apply to multiple implementations of the same project in different years. For example, a project that plans to organise astronomy events or workshops cannot apply for a multi-year grant.

Furthermore, multi-year proposals should address the entire duration of the project with a yearly breakdown of budget, timeline, and deliverables. Funds for selected projects will be released annually, subject to a performance review by the OAD. Brief annual reports will be requested for this purpose.

Themes

From the experience of funding 200 projects (and reviewing more than 1,000 proposals) since 2013, and with input from the regional offices worldwide, the OAD has identified flagship projects that encapsulate the idea of astronomy for development, which have the potential for global roll-out. Therefore, these Flagships are included as Themes in the call for proposals. In addition, other themes cover gaps or issues relating to global challenges, such as the COVID pandemic.

The themes for this call are:

  • Sustainable, Local Socio-Economic Development through Astronomy; 
  • Science Diplomacy through Astronomy: Celebrating our Common Humanity;
  • Knowledge and Skills for Development; and
  • Technology from astronomy.

Proposals may overlap with multiple themes, but proposers must choose the primary or most significant theme. However, projects are not required to align with the above themes. In addition, should proposers decide to submit a project related to one of the above themes, the project concept and design should have the potential to be scaled up and deployed globally. The OAD will be available to provide additional assistance or guidance in developing such a project further.

How to Apply

Applicantions are open to all interested individuals. To register, please visit here

For more information, click here.

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