International Schools for Young Astronomers (ISYAs)

Supported by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters


Educational activities are one of the essential tasks of the Union. The International School for Young Astronomers is a project of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), established in 1967. The objective of the ISYA is to broaden the participants’ perspective on astronomy by lectures from an international faculty on selected topics of astronomy, seminars, practical exercises and observations, and exchange of experiences.


It is a three-week international postgraduate school for regions where students have less opportunity to be directly exposed to the full extent of up-to-date astrophysics (mainly, but not exclusively, from astronomically developing countries). During the school both theory and observations are addressed.

The participants are essentially coming from countries in the region of the country hosting the ISYA. The lecturers are experts coming from all over the world.

IAU provides financial support for all travel of students and faculty, both within the host country and international. The host institution must obtain the funds to cover expenses during the ISYA, such as r such as room and boarding for students and faculty, and provides the infrastructure for lectures and tutorials.

For countries with a national astronomy program, part of the school could take place at an observatory site for training in observational techniques and if possible in data reduction. However, if this is hard to organize, then observational training with data reduction can be provided through the use of remote robotic telescopes.

Organization of an ISYA

The ISYA Director corresponds with the local Director of the school so that the proposal follows the working rules and guidelines for the ISYA currently in force. The correspondence includes the duration of ISYA, generally about three weeks, the range of topics to be accommodated in that time, the academic level of the lectures, the importance of faculty who have teaching experience and who can remain for the entire duration of the school, the opportunity of practical exercises including observing and data reduction, the time allotted to individual presentations by participants, the actual dates and location, practical arrangements for room, board, and academic facilities, the associated budget, and the adequacy of the host institution’s plans to obtain the needed funding.

The approval of an ISYA proposal, agreed to by the local Director of the School and the ISYA Director, is decided by the Executive Committee of the International Astronomical Union.

Past and Future ISYAs

  • A list of events is available on this link.
  • The next ISYA will take place in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from 24 Nov. to 12 Dec. 2014. More information is available on the website of the event.


Jean-Pierre de Greve, (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium), Director
Kam-Ching Leung,  (University of Nebraska, USA), Deputy-Director

ISYA 2011

Lijang, China. Click on the image for more download options

ISYA 2010

Byurakan, Armenia. Click on the image for more download options

Quotes from ISYA students:

I will be an ambassador for Astronomy science in my country.

I definitely got clues on where to go and what research topics to focus on thanks to the talks and discussions, with lecturers and other students during ISYA. And this was one of the reasons I came for.

I felt that the ISYA was beneficial for me to attend as it opened my eyes to the different fields available and has given things to think about regarding my career plans.

The financial support to participants from across Africa was marvellous and most appreciated.