The IAU National Outreach Coordinators(NOCs) Guidelines

1. Definition

  • 1.1 The National Outreach Coordinator (NOC) is the principal national representative appointed under the IAU structure. The primary aims of NOCs are to implement the proposed IAU outreach initiatives at the national level, disseminate information and bridge the IAU with local communities.
  • 1.2 The National Outreach Coordination Committee (NOC Committee) shall be formed by the NOC to support the NOC activities, to help the NOC to set annual goals, develop plans and actions for the nation at all levels.
  • 1.3 The NOC can nominate Deputy NOC or Assistant NOCs (can be more than 1) whenever necessary.
  • 1.4 The NOC shall maintain the relationship with the professional astronomers, national communities of amateur astronomers and outreach professionals.
  • 1.5 The NOCs form a global network (referred as NOC Network thereafter) and is managed by the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach (OAO).

2. Eligibility

  • 2.1 The NOC is expected to receive at least monthly communications from the OAO, the NOC shall communicate regularly with the OAO and respond to the action requests.
  • 2.2 The NOC shall demonstrate rich knowledge and experience in astronomy outreach activities (in particular coordinating national-scale activities), or strong motivation to startup astronomy activities in countries without significant astronomy activities.
  • 2.3 The NOC shall have an excellent local network with relevant stakeholders, like the professional astronomers, astronomy educators, planetariums (where applicable) and amateur astronomer communities in the nation.
  • 2.4 The NOC shall demonstrate full access of resources, to coordinate, direct and support the work described below.
  • 2.5 Ideally, the NOC shall demonstrate a good connection with the government policymakers.

3. Selection Procedure

  • 3.1 For IAU member countries - the IAU General Secretary will appoint the NOC based on the approval or nomination from the IAU National Committee of Astronomy (NCA).
  • 3.2 For non-IAU member countries - candidates shall submit a NOC nomination application to OAO. The OAO will review the information provided and discuss with the candidates and relevant parties, and recommend the nomination to IAU General Secretary for the appointment.
  • 3.3 The selection procedures and terms of the Deputy NOC or Assistant NOCs are the same as the NOCs, with the NOCs informed.

4. Term

  • 4.1 The term of the NOC will be for a maximum of 3 years and end at the next IAU General Assembly (GA) unless special notification made by the NCA.
  • 4.2 The term can be renewed. Reappointment procedures shall take place 2 months before the GA, following the same process above.
  • 4.3 The NOCs shall work together with the OAO to define its goals, the appointment can be terminated at any time by the the IAU General Secretary if the NOC does not fulfil its role or continuously unresponsive to the OAO communications.

5. The NOC Committee

  • 5.1 The NOC shall determine the NOC Committee membership and organization, and assign specific responsibilities to the Committee members, Deputy NOC or Assistant NOCs. Geographical coverage, diversity of the members’ background and gender balance shall take into consideration.
  • 5.2 If a similar national-scale committee already exists, that committee can also play the dual role as the NOC committee, avoiding duplication of efforts.
  • 5.3 The NOC Committee is entitled to endorse national activities by granting the organizers the rights to use the OAO and NOC logos. However, the OAO reserve the rights to revoke such decision(s) if the fair use of the logo is violated.

6. National Coordination

  • 6.1 The NOC shall coordinate the IAU outreach initiatives (such as the IAU 100th anniversary activities) at the national level, to develop plans and action lists.
  • 6.2 The NOC shall keep a close link with the national astronomy professional organisation, support the activities and actions in mutual respect.
  • 6.3 The NOC shall build and maintain a database of outreach experts and existing national bodies mapped with their skills (e.g. experts on communication with media, experts on liaison with government, experts on fundraising, experts on light pollution protection etc.), such database will be helpful for NOCs to support their activities and channel specific needs.
  • 6.4 The OAO shall endorse NOCs fundraising activities, provide guidance to NOCs on national coordination whenever necessary, provide technical support to the NOCs on setting up infrastructures such as mailing list or website if it is needed, and shall provide a set of visual identities (e.g. logos) and brandings for the NOC to use.

7. Information Dissemination

  • 7.1 The NOC shall utilize existing communication channels or establish new ones to disseminate IAU communications, sometimes pick up and localize useful information from outreach newsletter, distribute them nationally, reaching all levels including the professional astronomers, astronomy educators, planetariums, science centres and amateur astronomer communities.
  • 7.2 The NOC shall maintain a database of national astronomical organizations at all levels, and such database will be helpful for NOC to reach out for actions.
  • 7.3 The NOC may set up a NOC website in their local languages if it helps to promote visibility of NOC activities or provide a central entry point of different activities or resources.
  • 7.4 The OAO shall list the NOC websites on the IAU website.

8. Interactions with OAO

  • 8.1 The NOC shall arrange a telecom with the OAO once they are newly appointed.
  • 8.2 The OAO shall setup communication platform or channels to centralize and manage the NOC communications.
  • 8.3 The OAO shall arrange face-to-face meetings with NOCs during major conferences, OAO shall also seek different possible ways (such as exempting NOCs registration fees) to ease the NOC travel expenses in physical meetings.
  • 8.4 The OAO shall arrange regional telecoms for the NOCs in the same region, for any possible updates and synergies, once every 6 months.
  • 8.5 Apart from the above, the OAO shall speak with each NOC through telecom at least once per year.
  • 8.6 The OAO shall produce certificates to recognise the contribution by the list of people provided by the NOCs.
  • 8.7 The OAO shall develop and consult with the NOCs an annual NOC strategy in its annual year plan. Such strategy shall be developed for the implementation of the IAU Strategic Plan with the support of NOC Network.

9. Report on activities

  • 9.1 The NOC shall report any major national or multinational events to OAO to be highlighted in the IAU Astronomy Outreach Newsletter.
  • 9.2 The NOC shall submit an annual report by Feb 28, using the template format provided by OAO, reporting the NOC actions regarding their role of national coordination and information dissemination, and the implementation of the activities proposed by IAU. The report will be submitted to the IAU Executive Committee and upload to the IAU website.
  • 9.3 The OAO shall report the NOC activities to the IAU Executive Committee and IAU members at large, and also on different international conferences.
  • 9.4 The OAO shall invite the NOCs to highlight national activities on Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP) Journal.
  • 9.5 The NOC network is entitled to use OAO’s communication channels (such as social media) to promote the NOC activities.

10. Interactions of other IAU bodies

  • 10.1 The OAO shall work with IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD), to channel both the NOC Network and OAD regional office work together. According to the IAU Strategic Plan 2020-2030, the mandates of the OAD is to use astronomy to stimulate global development, and OAO is to provide access to astronomical information and astronomy communication. The OAO and OAD network shall, therefore, work together as much as possible but achieving different goals, increasing accessibility and developments.
  • 10.2 The OAO annual NOC strategy shall guide the NOCs attain such goals. The OAO and the NOC Network shall also support the proposed new Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE), on its proposed wide range of activities on astronomy education. The OAO shall also work with OAE and incorporate plans in its annual NOC strategy.
  • 10.3 The OAO shall help the NOCs and different IAU bodies to connect and support each other, for example, but not limited
    • To connect the NOCs with different IAU bodies on information dissemination.
    • To connect the NOCs with the WG Stars Names to provide expertise on cultural astronomy to become part of the IAU list of star names.
    • To feedback the NOCs opinion on IAU activities to different IAU bodies.

Last Update: September 2018


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