National Outreach Coordinators (NOCs) Funding Scheme 2022-2023
Call for Applications
How to Apply
The NOCs Funding Scheme is a dedicated grant system to support worthy outreach initiatives led by IAU National Outreach Coordinators (NOCs). This grant system, administered by the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach (OAO), will provide funding (a maximum of 5000 EUR per proposal) to projects presented as a joint activity between countries, with the goal of bolstering international cooperation. Additional support provided by the SKA Observatory (SKAO) will provide funding to projects dedicated to radio astronomy and presented as a joint activity between NOCs and the SKA Communications and Outreach Network (SKACON).
In this fourth edition, the NOCs will once again team up with each other (and/or SKACONs) to present joint proposals between countries under the central theme: Building relationships between professional astronomers and the public. The funding scheme will support NOC-led actions to:
- Facilitate international communication through exchanges and translations.
- Provide open databases and public-friendly access to astronomical information.
- Encourage communication of science and critical thinking through IAU member public engagement, professional-amateur, and citizen science activities.
- Promote dark and quiet skies and the pale blue dot message.
Within each edition of the funding scheme, the IAU OAO intends the NOCs to directly address the strategic actions predicted under Goal 4 of the IAU Strategic Plan 2020-2030.
For further support, please feel free to reach out to Lina Canas (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss your proposal before submission.
How To Apply
Identify a challenge you are facing and/or a problem you wish to solve in alignment with the central theme;
Team up with fellow NOC(s) (teams of no more than two or three NOCs are advisable) and members of SKACON if relevant and jointly search for a solution;
Phase 1: Submit a 400-word summary (to email@example.com via this form);
Phase 2: Selected Phase 1 submissions will be asked to send a more detailed proposal (via a provided form)for final selection.
- Submissions are open to entries by the NOCs;
- Submissions are judged on the:
- pertinence (How is the project linked to the designated theme(s)? Is the project on outreach, communication and public engagement?),
- creativity (Is the project original, or does it have an original component to it?),
- impact (How will it affect the communities it will be implemented in? Could it serve as an example for others to emulate?),
- sustainability (Will the project continue beyond the funding period? Does it present an alternative implementation (in case pandemic-related confinement measures are still in place)?);
- collaboration (Are all the NOCs involved in the proposal actively engaged with each other? Do the NOCs involve the national community, e.g. general public, amateur astronomers, and other outreach practitioners?).
- The decision of the appointed jury is final, and all NOCs must accept the final decision, whether their proposal has been accepted or not;
- Each NOC can participate in more than one proposal;
- NOCs that lead a winning proposal in 2021-2022 cannot lead a proposal in 2022-2023;
- To be eligible for SKAO funding, proposals must focus on radio astronomy and involve a member of the SKA Communications and Outreach Network (SKACON) on the team. Proposals led by SKA partner countries and African partner countries will be considered favourably.
- Launch by November 15
- Phase 1 submissions are accepted until December 15 (23:59 UTC);
- Phase 1 results announced to the submitters by December 20 (23:59 UTC);
- Phase 2 submissions are accepted until February 20 (23:59 UTC);
- Selected projects announced by March 30 (23:59 UTC);
Implementation of the funded projects from April 2023 to December 2023.
During the implementation phase, selected projects must stay in contact with the OAO through short reports, photographs and/or videos on project activities, as predicted in a signed “Agreement” between the OAO and the NOCs awarded with the grant.
Total funding for the NOCs Funding Scheme 2022-2023 is 25 000€, with a maximum of 5000€ per project. The SKA Observatory will commit an additional 10 000€, with a maximum of 5000€ per project, to projects dedicated to radio astronomy.
The funding will be transferred to the designated bank account(s) stated in the Agreement signed between all the NOCs involved in the proposal and the OAO.
- English language brings us closer but can sometimes be a barrier. Please feel free to send us your proposal beforehand if you need help with the translation;
- If you want to contact other NOCs or members of SKACON and you are experiencing problems reaching out to them, please let us know so we may help you.
- International collaborations are often supported by funding schemes. Please feel free to seek other potential funding and align your proposal with other funding programmes. Just make sure you clarify what can be done with the IAU amount requested, independently of any third-party funding.
- The scope of the proposed programme must be astronomy outreach, communication and public engagement but can encompass activities under outreach for development and formal education for society.
- Unless sufficiently justified within the scope of this funding, teacher training or astronomy olympiads focusing solely on formal education do not fall under this Funding Scheme.
- Face-to-face activities are acceptable, but a remote/virtual “Plan B” needs to be incorporated into the proposal in case confinement measures are in place during the implementation phase.
- With the hard economic crisis ahead, we encourage you to think of ways our outreach initiatives can provide additional support to the community (e.g., masks, sanitisers, guides with safety measures, food support, stable internet connection, etc.).
- We encourage you, while brainstorming, to reflect on the importance of internet connectivity, its benefits and challenges in shaping communications, building your community, and implementing your project, potentially limiting engagement of underserved communities that do not have access to online tools to stay connected.
- To be eligible for SKAO funding, proposals should detail how they align with the SKAO values and abide by the SKAO Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct.
- Personnel costs (e.g., salaries, daily allowance) and/or travel costs (e.g., air tickets, accommodation, meals, etc.), if part of the proposal, need to be thoroughly justified and relevant for the successful implementation of the project.
- You can find examples of selected proposals for the 2019-2020 edition of the NOC Funding Scheme here. You can find examples of selected proposals for the 2020-2021 edition of the NOC Funding Scheme here.
- You can find examples of selected proposals for the 2021-2021 edition of the NOC Funding Scheme dedicated to radio astronomy here.