Annual Call for Proposals

2018 Call for Proposals is Closed & 20 Projects have been selected for funding.
Next Call for Proposals in early 2019.

If you need support for accessibility, please write to us at and we will send you the documents in text format.

Although the OAD is a global office, English is the official working language of the OAD. We request that all applications be submitted in English. The OAD can provide translation assistance through its Language Centers and its global network of volunteers. If you need assistance with translations, please contact us at atleast 2 weeks before the application deadline. 

Please note that the OAD Call for Proposals is a two-stage call, where only a limited number of proposals from Stage 1 will be invited to submit a Stage 2 proposal. Our “Getting Started” section will provide the background on Astronomy for Development, assist you with project design, monitoring, evidence and evaluation etc

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. As part of this plan, the OAD coordinates an annual call for proposals.

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.

Getting Started

Before you apply, please visit the “Getting Started” section that will provide the background on Astronomy for Development, resources and links to assist you with project design, monitoring, evidence and evaluation etc.

Two Stage Application

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 are invited to the next stage. Detailed information is provided below for the Stage 1 process; information for Stage 2 will be provided at the end of Stage 1.

Stage 1 Proposals

The Stage 1 proposal is open to proposers from anywhere in the world. Proposers submit a brief, online application with the key aspects of their project and/or idea. Proposals will be scored by the OAD review panel based on a set of defined criteria (see below).

Around 30 proposals will be selected from Stage 1 applications and invited to submit a Stage 2 proposal. In addition, each of the ten IAU Regional and Language Offices will nominate any one proposal from their region to be invited to Stage 2. All proposals will receive feedback from the reviewers.

Stage 2 Proposals

Selected proposals will be invited to submit a more comprehensive Stage 2 application, incorporating the feedback received in Stage 1. Once the Stage 2 applications are submitted, the OAD and the Regional Offices will assess the proposals and engage with the proposers through this period.

The Regional Offices will be able to 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 review the Stage 2 proposals to check whether the projects are truly innovative (checking previously funded OAD projects and other initiatives addressing similar concerns) and/or whether the project idea is supported by current evidence. External experts, where necessary, would provide useful additional guidance on the assessment of projects, including a perspective on which projects are most likely to make an impact on development.

Based on the discussions with OAD and the Regional Offices, proposers modify Stage 2 application and submit to OAD by September 15. The review panel then scores these modified Stage 2 proposals and makes the final recommendations on the projects to be funded and the funding amounts for each project. Upon approval by the OAD Steering Committee, all applicants are notified of the results.


The timeline below will be followed for the 2018 call:

Stage 1
May 01 Open call for proposals issued
May 31 Deadline for Stage 1 applications
Jun 01 – Jul 10 Proposals scored by reviewers with input from OAD Regional Offices
Jul 11 Announcement of Stage 1 results. All proposers notified
Stage 2
Jul 11 Selected proposals invited for Stage 2
Jul 11 – Aug 30 OAD and Regional Offices work with proposers to review/revise proposal, in consultation with external experts where relevant.
Sep 03 Last date for proposers to send draft proposals to OAD
Sep 15 Deadline for Stage 2 applications
Oct 31 Review panel and other experts submit their funding recommendations to the OAD Steering Committee
Nov 15 Funding recommendations by reviewers approved by OAD Steering Committee
Nov 30 Results announced to proposers.

Grant agreements sent to successful projects

Funded projects implementation
Dec 31 Grant agreements signed
Feb 2019 Funds transferred to projects
Jul 2019 Mid year reports due
Dec 2019 Final reports

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 (2019); 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 Scienceas defined by ICSU, the parent body of the IAU.
  • 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 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 usat 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.
  • If you require assistance in translating your application, please contact us immediately and at least 2 weeks before the deadline so we may make suitable arrangements
  • Application forms should be complete 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.

Sustainable Development Goals

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. Please look through the SDG indicators that links the goals to concrete outcomes

  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)

Read this blog post on how previous OAD projects have tried to impact on the SDGs

Selection Criterion Corresponding information required from proposer Scoring
1.Level of need for proposed activities in the region/project location/target audience 5. Which countries will your project target?

6. In which languages will your project be delivered and/or written?

8. Project summary

9. Primary target audience

10 a. Describe the developmental challenge you aim to address in this project

13. Why should we fund your project?

Based on their description, how relevant is this challenge or problem in terms of needs in the target location? (1-10)
2. Relevance to Astronomy for Development 8. Project summary

10 b. Which of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will your project respond to ?

10 c. How will you achieve these goals using Astronomy ?

Is the project relevant to the OAD call? (1-10)
3. Innovation and creativity, improving on what has been shown to work 7. Have you or any of your team members submitted this same idea in previous years? If Yes, what was the title of that proposal?

13. Why should we fund your project?

Has this project come up with some interesting new ideas or built upon existing ideas in a constructive way? Has it improved upon any previous proposal?  (1-10)
4.  Project effectiveness 8. Project summary

11. What are the intended Deliverables of your project?

12. Budget

13. Why should we fund your project?

Does the proposed solution respond to the stated challenge? Are the budget and deliverables reasonable and match the need in the region? (1-10)

Reporting guidelines for funded projects

If your project is funded by the OAD, you are required to submit a final report at the end of the project along with any materials, resources that you may have produced for the project. Regular updates are also highly recommended during project implementation. Projects are typically implemented between January- February (when funding is received) and December. It is expected that one or more deliverables should be completed at the end of the year.

Our reporting guidelines can be found at this link. The OAD is continuing to develop these to make reporting easier for project implementers and more useful for future project proposers. More information on reporting guidelines and conditions of the grant will be provided at the time of selection.

Apply Online   (closed)

Deadline for Stage 1 application is end of day, 31 May 2018
As long as it is 31 May somewhere in the world, applications will be accepted

Although English is the working language of the OAD, we will be happy to arrange translations of the call and documents if you need it. Please contact us at if you would like to request a translation. 

Même si l’anglais est la langue utilisée au bureau d’astronomie pour le développement (OAD), nous mettons volontiers à disposition des traductions des documents d’appel d’offre si vous en avez besoin. Veuillez prendre contact avec si vous avez besoin d’une traduction.

Aunque la OAD trabaja mayoritariamente en inglés, nos ofrecemos a organizar traducciones para la convocatoria de propuestas y documentos relacionados. Para solicitar una traducción, por favor póngase en contacto con

Несмотря на то, что рабочим языком для OAD является английский, мы готовы организовать перевод документов, если Вы нуждаетесь в этом. Пожалуйста, свяжитесь с,  если Вам необходим перевод документов

虽然英语是OAD的工作语言,但是如果您需要翻译成所需语言的文件,我们将很高兴为您提供翻译服务。如果需要翻译,请用电子邮件与何金华联系 (。

على الرغم من أن اللغة الإنجليزية هي لغة العمل فيOAD، إلا أننا سنكون سعداء
بالقيام بترجمة الدعوة والوثائق إذا كنت في حاجة إليها.
يرجى الاتصال بـ كيفين غوفيندر إذا كنت ترغب في طلب ترجمة.

Embora Inglês seja a língua oficial do OAD, traduções para Português do formulário e das regras podem ser requisitadas. através do email