OAD Extraordinary Call for COVID-19 proposals

In 2020 the world has experienced an unprecedented global challenge in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic. The effects have been significant, impacting on people, health systems, economies, food security, education, mobility, etc. In recognition of the seriousness of this situation, and the urgency for action, the OAD call for COVID-19 proposals is being launched for projects (or partnerships) that in some way use astronomy, in any of its aspects (including skills, methodologies, tools, infrastructure, inspiration or even just networks of astronomers/enthusiasts themselves) to help mitigate some of the negative effects of the pandemic.

Principle of this extraordinary call: The OAD should respond to the challenges of the pandemic by using its experience to rapidly identify and select innovative, timely, high impact projects or partnerships through a fast-tracked call process.

Eligibility and Accountability: Anyone can apply, although the spirit and principles of the OAD’s usual annual call for proposals will be maintained, especially the need to work with partners/experts in the field, and the need for successful applicants to provide any reports requested in order to fully account for funds awarded.

Selection: Selection panel will consist of both OAD team members and external reviewers, who will apply the spirit and principles of the OAD’s usual annual call for proposals to make rapid selections. Proposers may be contacted/interviewed for clarifications or suggested changes before a final decision is made. All applicants will be notified of the outcome within 2 weeks of the deadline.

Grant Value:  Up to 20,000 ZAR (~1000 EURO) per project, with exceptions possible. This may either be paid as a cash grant OR in kind, depending on what the funding will be used for. Note that actual values will depend on exchange rates at the time.
We are excited to announce that the African Planetarium Association (APA) and African Astronomical Society (AfAS) will be contributing additional funding to this call.

Application: Complete the basic application form below. Deadline: 15th May 2020, after which we will take a decision on whether to reopen it.  Any queries can be directed to kg@astro4dev.org. Some reading that could be useful before you apply: (i) this OAD blog regarding the social and economic impact of COVID-19; (ii) this call to action from the OAD and its sister offices; (iii) the OAD’s usual annual call for proposals.

Project Examples (not exhaustive): assist teachers to deliver their STEM lessons online; conduct or assist with surveys/analyses that local governments may need to understand outbreaks; provide hand washing stations or PPE to schools/universities which are operating/about to operate; coordinate online hackathons in partnership with disease specialists; develop a programme to assist small businesses around an observatory; use astronomy compute infrastructure to process data from disease specialists; purchase mobile data for people to access information on the pandemic, schooling, etc; use technology to support NGOs in delivery of food parcels; develop system to monitor health status of older people stuck at home during lockdowns; supply hard copy materials for students without internet access; etc.


Together with the African Astronomical Society and African Planetarium Association, more than 800,000 ZAR (about 40,000 Euros) in grants have been awarded to 43 projects around the world that use various aspects of astronomy and the astro community to help communities suffering the negative impacts of COVID-19.

List of Projects Funded under this call

We have also compiled a list of projects that were reviewed but could not be funded. For more information, contact us at info (at) astro4dev (dot) org

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