Annual Call for Proposals

The 2016 Call for Proposals is now CLOSED.
The text below is for information only! Next call will be around mid-2017!

 

Kindly read through all the information presented on this page before proceeding to the application form. You can download this page as a Word DOC or PDF

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) established the global Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) in order to fulfil the IAU’s 10 year Strategic Plan. This plan aims to realise the global developmental benefits of astronomy. The OAD coordinates an annual call for proposals to fund projects in three areas: (i) Astronomy for Universities and Research, (ii) Astronomy for Children and Schools, and (iii) Astronomy for the Public.

Call for Proposals

The OAD invites proposals for projects that use Astronomy as a tool to address an issue related to sustainable development. It is open to anyone from anywhere in the world. The selection process will take into account the qualifications and experiences of the individuals in the team. Although the working language of the OAD is English we will endeavour, through our regional offices, language centres and volunteers, to assist anyone who wishes to communicate in another language. Please contact us as early as possible if language, accessibility or any other assistance is required. 

Timeline

The timeline below will be followed for the 2016 call:

30 June 2016 – Open Call for Proposals issued
15 July 2016 – Deadline for Expressions of Interest
15 August 2016 – Expressions of Interest feedback provided by OAD and its Regional Offices
15 September 2016 – Deadline for full submission of proposals
31 October 2016 – Completed applications are reviewed by OAD Task Forces
30 November 2016 – Funding recommendations by Task Forces approved by OAD Steering Committee
15 December 2016 – All projects notified and grant agreements sent to successful projects
31 January 2017 – Grant Agreements signed and funds transferred
July 2017 – mid year report
31 December 2017 – Final Report from projects on completion of implementation

Eligibility Criteria

Please verify that you agree to/abide by the following before beginning your application. Contact us in case of queries.

  • The proposed project should address a problem or challenge related to development.
  • The project should use Astronomy as a tool to address this problem.
  • One or more project deliverables should be ready by the end of the implementation year (2017); proposals are welcome for projects that run over several 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 free use and adaptation.
  • 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 ICSU, the parent body of the IAU.
  • All project team members listed in the proposal should have discussed the proposal and are committed to executing the project. The project team should be prepared to provide verification of qualifications and/or reference letters if requested by the OAD.
  • The proposers should obtain all necessary permissions and authorizations, as required by their national laws, to carry out their work, such as written parental consent when working with minors, permission to use copyrighted material etc.
  • The project team should support the evaluation of their project by the OAD (if an evaluation is feasible and if the project is selected for evaluation)
  • Proposals should ideally be submitted via the online Application Form. All proposals received will be acknowledged by email. However, if one is unable to submit one’s proposal online for any reason, they may contact us 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 forms should be complete, including detailed budget, and received at the OAD before the deadline.
  • Projects can be proposed by a single person or by a team of people.

Grant Amount

The IAU earmarks approximately €110,000 per year for this open call for project proposals, with individual project grants generally ranging between €500 and €15,000.

The following is a list of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs (successors to the Millennium Development Goals) adopted in 2015. Projects are encouraged to think about how astronomy could be used to further progress in relation to some SDGs.
1. Poverty– End poverty in all its forms everywhere
2. Hunger– End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture
3. Health– Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages
4. Education– Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
5. Women– Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
6. Water– Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
7. Energy– Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
8. Employment & Economic Growth– Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all
9. Infrastructure & Innovation– Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation
10. Inequality– Reduce inequality within and among countries
11. Urban Safety & Welfare– Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
12. Production & Consumption– Ensure sustainable production and consumption patterns
13. Climate Change– Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
14. Marine Conservation– Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
15. Environment preservation– Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss
16. Peace, security, equality– Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
17. Implementation– Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development
Examples of projects using astronomy to address some of the SDGs: 
• Summer schools, teacher training, etc. could work towards goal 4 (Education)
• Using astronomy to support a sense of common humanity may contribute to goals 16 (Peace, Security) and 10 (Inequality)
• Projects that build science/technology skills and human capital could further goals 8 (Employment) and 9 (Infrastructure & Innovation), as well as 17 (Implementation)

Selection Criteria

  1. Clear description and relevance of the problem or challenge that the project will try to address.
  2. Level of need for proposed activities in the region/project location.
  3. Likelihood that the project will make a positive impact in addressing the problem/challenge
  4. Feasibility of the project (i.e. what are the chances that this project will be successfully completed?)
  5. Innovation and creativity, improving on what has been shown to work
  6. Replicability (can the project be repeated by others?) and Scalability (does the project have potential to be expanded across the world?)*
  7. Consideration of potential risks (e.g. safety and security, financial, unintended consequences on target audience, etc.)
  8. Appropriate consideration of diversity (e.g. gender, (dis)abilities, culture, etc.)
  9. Cost-effectiveness (i.e. amount of positive results expected from total project cost).
  10. Importance of IAU funding for leveraging funding from other sources.
  11. Endorsement, where applicable, by one of the OAD’s Regional Offices (these offices cover several geographic or language regions of the world)

* As a guide, proposers should consider the OAD Project Gaps described below.

Scoring Mechanism

The table maps the Selection Criteria and Scoring to questions on the application form (Download as PDF)

Selection Criterion
Corresponding questions on application (guideline only – information relating to a particular criterion may come from other questions also)
Scoring
  1. Clear description and relevance of the problem or challenge that the project will try to address.
 2. Project Summary
9. Please describe the challenge that your project aims to  address
Based on their description,  how relevant is this challenge or problem in  terms of needs in the  target location? (1-10)
  1. Level of need for proposed activities in the region/project location.
 5. Which countries will your project target?
6. In which languages will your project be delivered  and/or written?

10. Please explain how this challenge is related to need(s)  or developmental gap(s) in the target region

15. Who are your target audience?
  1. Likelihood that the project will make a positive impact in addressing the problem/challenge
 3. Project Summary
11. How does your project aim to address this challenge  using Astronomy?

12. What are the intended outcomes of your project and  how will you measure them?

17. Project Deliverables
What are the chances that this project will actually make a positive impact in addressing that challenge/ problem? (also consider  feasibility of idea,  potential measures and  team credentials) (1-10)
  1. Feasibility of the project (i.e. what are the chances that this project will be successfully completed?)
 7. Team Credentials
17. Project Deliverables

19. Project Schedule

20. Budget
  1. Innovation and creativity, improving on what has been shown to work
 8. If any team members have previously submitted a  proposal to the OAD, please list those projects
13. How does your project innovate and/or build on  lessons/experiences learned from others?
Has this project come up with some  interesting new ideas or  built upon existing ideas  in a constructive way?  (score low if they are  simply reinventing) (1-  10)
  1. Replicability (can the project be repeated by others?) and Scalability (does the project have potential to be expanded across the world?)
 3. Project Summary
17. Project Deliverables

19. Project Schedule

20. Budget
Can this project be expanded upon, either by repeating it or by increasing size of the target audience? (1-10)
  1. Consideration of potential risks (e.g. safety and security, financial, unintended consequences on target audience, etc.)
 14. Describe potential risks and how will you address  these? Has the project considered all potential risks and addressed them accordingly? (1-10)
  1. Appropriate consideration of diversity (e.g. gender, (dis)abilities, culture, etc.)
 15. Who are your target audience?
16. Please explain how audience Diversity, Inclusion and  Accessibility have been considered in your proposal
Has this project given sufficient consideration to issues of diversity and inclusion wherever possible? (1-10)
  1. Cost-effectiveness (i.e. amount of positive results expected from total project cost).
 17. Project Deliverables
18. If you will buy or make any equipment or assets, what  will happen to these after the project ends?

20. Budget
For the amount requested do we get value for money in terms of the  deliverables that they  aim to achieve? (also  consider whether IAU  funds are leveraging  other funds) (1-10)
  1. Importance of IAU funding for leveraging funding from other sources.
 20. Budget – How much of the external funding depends on whether  the project receives IAU funding?
  1. Endorsement, where applicable, by one of the OAD’s Regional Offices (these offices cover several geographic or language regions of the world)
 21. Any other information. If applicable, please list any of  the OAD Regional Offices which have endorsed this  proposal How clear is the endorsement and/or involvement by an OAD regional office or Language Centre (1-10 or NA)

 

OAD Project Gaps

Considering the response to the previous calls for proposals, the following “Gaps” have been identified by the OAD and may evolve from year to year. These represent areas of need to be considered when developing proposals that could be expanded/repeated. Note that one or more of these gaps could be incorporated into, rather than define, projects (for example, a summer school or teacher training project could incorporate the development of materials). Although not compulsory nor explicitly part of the selection criteria, these “gaps” serve as a guide to proposers to address other criteria such as replicability and scalability.

  • Interdisciplinary collaborative projects, especially between natural and social sciences.
  • Material/Methods for teaching related subjects (e.g. basic mathematics, statistics, engineering, programming, etc.) using Astronomy.
  • Problem sets and assessments (e.g. short tests administered before and after a training workshop/school)
  • Career information, using national and/or international data.
  • Parenting and early childhood development (e.g. guidelines for parents to encourage learning in their children).
  • Literacy and numeracy using astronomy (e.g. using astronomy to improve the teaching of reading, writing and counting/basic arithmetic).
  • Resource development (e.g. open-access course materials, culturally relevant astronomy, etc.).
  • Research reviews (i.e. finding and summarising relevant research that may be available on what works and what doesn’t work for project types typically funded by the OAD).

Expressions of Interest

Ahead of submitting a full project proposal, the OAD and its Regional Offices invite brief Expressions of Interest by 15 July 2016. These Expressions of Interest allow potential project proposers, including those with an undeveloped idea, to explore collaborations with other proposers and/or receive feedback from the OAD and its Regional Offices. The process is intended to assist proposers in developing their final project proposals, connecting with potential collaborators in the region, strengthening their project designs by incorporating measurement and evaluation, minimising the duplication of ideas across projects and obtaining endorsement where applicable from OAD Regional Offices. These Expressions of Interest are therefore strongly recommended by the OAD and its Regional Offices, who will review and respond to the Expressions of Interest by 15 August 2016.

Note that the Task Forces who review the final proposals will not see that project’s Expressions of Interest.

Project Selection Procedures

After the Expressions of Interest phase described above, the full proposals received by 15 September 2016 will first be reviewed by the OAD for completeness, anonymised, and then sent to the appropriate Task Force. Task Force members will score the proposals based on the selection criteria above and make the appropriate recommendations for final funding allocation. The whole process will be overseen, and final recommendations approved, by the OAD’s international Steering Committee.

Expression of Interest – CLOSED

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Proposal for Project – CLOSED

Once submitted, you should receive a copy of your application (PDF) on email. Please make sure the application PDF is complete.

Proposals should be submitted via the online Application Form. You can download a copy of the application in PDF or Word DOC to work with offline but final submission should be via the online form:

15 July 2016 – Deadline for Expressions of Interest

15 September 2016 – Deadline for submission of proposals