National Outreach Coordinators (NOCs) Funding Scheme 2021-2022

 

Overview

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.

In 2020, with the unprecedented times we live in due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have turned online to stay connected to our communities and found new ways of engagement while maintaining our safety and the safety of those around us. We encourage our NOCs to reflect on the difficulties the current situation has brought us as astronomy outreach professionals and practitioners and to brainstorm together on ways to carry out programmes while supporting our communities.

In this third edition, the NOCs will once again team up with each other, and present joint proposals between countries under the central theme “Engaging the next generation of astronomy enthusiasts”. The funding scheme will be supporting 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 skies and the pale blue dot message.

With the 2022 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.

 

Support Writing Your Proposal

As additional support for writing your proposal we will have two training sessions:
More information soon.

For further support in writing your proposal, please feel free to reach out to Lina Canas (lina.canas@nao.ac.jp) and discuss your proposal before submitting it.

 

How to Apply

  • Identify a challenge you are facing and/or a problem you wish to solve; 
  • Team up with fellow NOC(s) (teams of no more than two or three NOCs are advisable) and jointly search for a solution;

 

Applications

  • Phase 1: Submit a 400-word summary that will be reviewed by a committee;
  • Phase 2: Selected submissions will be asked to submit a more detailed proposal with a provided form for final selection by a jury/committee.

 

Eligibility

  • Submissions are open to entries submitted by the NOCs;
  • Submissions are judged on: 
  1. pertinence (How is the project linked to the designated theme(s)? Is the project on outreach, communication and public engagement?),
  2. creativity (Is the project original, or does it have an original component to it?),
  3. impact (How will it affect the communities it will be implemented in? Could it serve as an example for others to emulate?), 
  4. 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)?); 
  5. collaboration (Are all the NOCs involved in the proposal actively engaged with each other? Does the NOCs involve the national community, e.g. general public, amateur astronomers, 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 2020-2021 cannot lead a proposal in 2021-2022;

 

Implementation Timeline

  1. Phase 1 submissions accepted until 30 October;
  2. Phase 1 results announced to the submitters by 15 November;
  3. Phase 2 submissions accepted until 15 January;
  4. Selected projects announced by 15 March;
  5. Implementation of the funded projects from April 2022 to December 2022

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.

 

Funding

Total funding for the NOCs Funding Scheme 2021-2022 is 25 000€, with a maximum of 5000€ per project.

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. 

 

Notes

  1. 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;  
  2. If you want to contact other NOCs and you are experiencing problems reaching out to them, please let us know so we may help you.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. Unless justified within the scope of this funding, teacher training or astronomy olympiads focusing solely on formal education do not fall under this Funding Scheme. 
  6. 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.
  7. 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). 
  8. We encourage you, while brainstorming, to reflect on the importance of internet connectivity, its benefits and challenges on shaping communications, building your community, and implementing your project, limiting engagement of underserved communities that do not have access to online tools to stay connected. 
  9. 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.

 

Past Editions

2020-2021
The 2020-2021 NOCs Funding Scheme funded three projects with the involvement of 17 NOCs.
Learn more here:
https://iau.org/news/announcements/detail/ann21035/

2019-2020
The 2019-2020 NOCs Funding Scheme funded four projects with the involvement of 14 NOCs.
Learn more here:
https://iau.org/news/announcements/detail/ann20017/