Registrations Open for the IAU General Assembly 2024 in South Africa

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The National Organising Committee of the 32nd International Astronomical Union (IAU) General Assembly (GA) has announced that registrations are now officially open for the IAU GA 2024.  This event marks a groundbreaking moment as the triennial IAU GA will, for the first time, adopt an open-access format. From 6 – 15 August 2024, individuals around the globe will have the unprecedented opportunity to access live talks presented at the assembly remotely. Set to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, it will be held in Africa for the first time in the more than 100-year history of the body.

This approach is nothing short of historical, and the South African National Research Foundation (NRF), as the host, supported by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and African Astronomical Society (AfAS), will be leading what is hoped will become a trend in all scientific conferencing. The registration fees of paying delegates (physical or virtual) will contribute towards this open access principle, such that the general public, or any student in any university, may listen in completely free of charge. Only paying delegates can present talks, ask questions in real-time, interact with other speakers/delegates, and engage in associated activities. 

Thus, having open access means that the IAU GA 2024 could potentially have one of the largest audiences of this type of scientific conference. This will be an opportunity for researchers to reach large numbers of people and multiply the impact of their research, even attracting potential new collaborators, students, and young researchers from diverse backgrounds.

Objectives of the 32nd IAU General Assembly

In the spirit of pioneering a future-focused scientific dialogue, three core aspects define the ethos of the 32nd IAU General Assembly. First is ‘Accessibility’ — the organisers are championing inclusive participation not only through the open access principle but also through innovative hybrid conferencing, ensuring that those scientists and students unable to travel can still meaningfully engage with the frontiers of astronomical research. This commitment extends to fostering a family-friendly conference environment so in-person delegates can manage their familial responsibilities without compromising their professional engagement.

Secondly, the organisers emphasise ‘Impact’ on a multidimensional level. Scientifically, they aim to amplify research impact and forge lasting collaborations via novel networking initiatives. Societally, they seek to involve local small businesses and artists, providing them with a global stage which translates into growth and community enrichment and an opportunity for delegates to experience and engage with the remarkable African spirit and culture. Furthermore, delegates will be presented with opportunities across the continent for hands-on contributions to educational initiatives, outreach programmes, and community development, cementing the legacy of the assembly beyond academia.

Lastly, ‘Environmental Sustainability’ is a cornerstone of the assembly’s responsibility. In today’s climate-conscious era, the assembly confronts the pressing question: “Is it environmentally justifiable to attend this meeting?” The assembly’s response is an emphatic commitment to minimising our ecological footprint as much as possible. Thus, they are considering measures from offering carbon credit offsets for travel to innovative solutions for reducing food waste to engaging in discussions that drive action towards building climate-resilient societies.

By intertwining these core values, the 32nd IAU General Assembly transcends being a mere venue for presenting astronomical research to transforming into a platform that advocates accessible knowledge, meaningful societal impact, and a commitment to environmental stewardship.

The organising committee is confident that in-person participants will find their time in South Africa to be stimulating, enriching, and enjoyable; that virtual participants will have a practical and rewarding online conference experience; and that the general public all around the world will freely and directly connect to the latest developments in astronomy. Furthermore, the committee has put together a scientific conference programme that will address every aspect of astronomy, including the leading role that Africa and its people are playing in this field, all in the pursuit of contributing to human endeavour, where ALL are invited to partake.

Check here to register for the event and here for registration instructions. Check here to submit an abstract and apply for the event grant. 

Important information

  • Early Registration Open – 31 October 2023
  • Abstract Submissions and Grant Applications Open – 30 November 2023
  • Deadline for Abstracts & Grants and Early Registration – 01 March 2024
  • Abstract Outcomes to Authors – 08 April 2024
  • Grants Outcomes to Authors – 29 April 2024
  • Payment Deadline: Early & Normal Registration – 31 May 2024
  • Deadline for Normal Registration – 31 May 2024
  • Late Registration – 01 June – 15 August 2024
  • General Assembly Starts – 05 August 2024

Check here for more information regarding the General Assembly. Kindly refer to this link to learn more about the abstract submission and grant applications.

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