The International Astronomical Union (IAU), in partnership with the South African National Research Foundation (NRF), has established the global Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Cape Town, South Africa. The OAD began its work on 1st March 2011 and ambitiously sets out to use astronomy as a tool for global development. This office is a coordination point for development activities worldwide in the areas of (i) astronomy for universities and research; (ii) astronomy for children and schools; and (iii) astronomy for the public. The OAD is the first step in the implementation of the IAU decadal strategy entitled “Astronomy for Development”. The OAD is supported by three task forces in the areas mentioned above and several regional nodes across the world.
As the OAD carries out its mandate, it also aims to provide opportunities for individuals to gain experience in this area – hence the opportunity for interns. Internship positions should be filled by energetic persons with strong computing and excellent communication skills. Not only will this be an opportunity for the person to contribute meaningfully to this global development project but it will also provide them with unique international experience in using astronomy for development. The position could be part time or full time depending on the applicant’s current study commitments and the project they choose to embark on. It will normally be based at the OAD in Cape Town and the intern will report to the OAD Project Officer.
As the OAD aims to encourage interns to follow their passions, each intern will choose a project depending on their interests. Some projects may be existing activities of the OAD while others may be completely new and innovative. Profiles of current and past interns can be viewed here and some of the projects they have worked on can be viewed under the activities menu above. Projects are decided upon during an initial interview with the OAD Director and OAD Project Officer. We would also encourage potential interns to view the OAD Ideas List which directly relates to OAD operations.
In addition to or as part of their primary project, interns may be responsible for all or some of the possible tasks listed below.
- Communicate regularly with international stakeholders depending on the project at hand
- Coordinate translation/interpretation services as required and as skills permit
- Assist with maintenance of website, databases, new media (twitter, facebook, etc)
- Source information as needed for OAD operations (this may entail literature searches, research into regional strengths and weaknesses, surveys, etc.)
- Provide assistance to OAD staff as needed (e.g. implementing workshops, collecting resources, etc.)
- University degree in astronomy or related field (past or current)
- Good communication skills (both written and verbal)
- Good computer skills and knowledge of social networking
- Organised and a quick learner
Since this is a project based activity and meant more as a learning experience for the interns rather than an additional staff function, the remuneration for the internship position is matched to average university tutoring rates in South Africa. The exact rates would depend on the person’s qualification and experience but for information to potential applicants one can think about an average hourly rate of around ZAR 70. Alternatively, if the potential intern comes up with a project package with a definite deliverable at the end of the period then we could negotiate a fixed amount for implementation of the project as an ad hoc OAD grant. Such a fixed amount would depend on the innovation, scale and expected outcomes of the project.
Interested candidates should send a cover letter (containing a motivation as to why they would like to join the OAD team as an intern, as well as potential project interests) and a full CV (including references), to firstname.lastname@example.org.