The IAU Office of Astronomy for Development signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA).
Both the OAD and IVOA realize that astronomical data and technology have the potential to be applied in various fields to benefit society. Both are motivated to use astronomical data for education, development and public outreach. The purpose of this collaboration is to bring together the complementary resources and expertise of IVOA and OAD to advance the application of astronomical data and technology use in different areas of society.
Joint activities may include:
1) The development of a blended-learning Masters course in Astrophysics for universities based in Southern Africa. This pilot initiative could later be expanded to other regions.
2) Astronomy for development and education activities, for example the Shristi Astronomy Project, run virtually from India, which trains students on using archival astronomy data for discoveries.
3) Data driven citizen science projects, for example Worldwide Telescope (WWT) guided tour contest.
A Wiki page has been created to host education resources and tutorials. Resources and tutorials in both English and other languages are welcome.
The International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA) was formed in June 2002 with a mission to “facilitate the international coordination and collaboration necessary for the development and deployment of the tools, systems and organizational structures necessary to enable the international utilization of astronomical archives as an integrated and interoperating virtual observatory.” The IVOA now comprises 20 VO programs from Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Europe, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States and an inter-governmental organization (ESA).