Under One Sky Call for Proposals - Deadline extended to 17 January 2022

A legacy of the IAU100 and NWO Award 2020

This project is possible thanks to the support of Leiden Observatory and the NWO Communication Award 2020.



There are an estimated 476 million indigenous peoples in the world living across 90 countries. Indigenous peoples make up less than 5 per cent of the world's population, but account for 15 per cent of the poorest and speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures.[1] 

In 2019, during the IAU100 celebrations and in celebration of the International Year of Indigenous Languages, the IAU launched the challenge to translate astronomy resources into endangered languages to help raise awareness of the cultural diversity of our world by providing more access to astronomy resources in native languages.[2]

In 2022, we will enter the United Nations Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022 – 2032)[3] that will focus on Indigenous language users’ human rights. Continuing the legacy started in 2019, the Under One Sky Call for Proposals will award grants up to 2000 Euros to support projects in and around the United Nations International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples celebrated on 9 August 2022[1] that use cultural astronomy, astronomy outreach and communication to recognize indigenous knowledge, respect indigenous learning systems with a rights-based approach to indigenous learning.[4] 



Submission Process

Proposals should include:

i) summary of the activity (including target audience, content and objective), 

ii) expected problem for implementation amidst the pandemic and how do you propose to solve them (please give some social context), 

iii) topics addressed by the project (for reference and not restricted to: 

  • share and protect indigenous astronomical knowledge;
  • translation and localization of astronomy resources into indigenous languages; 
  • cultural exchanges through a shared sky and importance of the dark skies protection; 
  • climate action and activism through astronomy; 

iv) challenges 

v) groups involved (their expertise, links to the community) (awarded proposals will bring together indigenous peoples’ organizations and other relevant stakeholders);

vi) Document or video showing the interest and process knowledge by the indigenous people or community based on the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples base (https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/ipeoples/freepriorandinformedconsent.pdf)

vii) deliverables;

viii) schedule of the activities (including a final activity for the return of knowledge to the community); 

ix) number of people reached,

Proposals must be submitted to the IAU OAO via this form by 23:59 (your) local time on 17 January 2022. If you have any issues accessing the form please contact
public@oao.iau.org and we will provide an RTF or TXT accessible file.


Proposals should be submitted in English. Nevertheless, if you need assistance (to translate your proposal from a language other than English into English) please let us know by October 15 and we will try our best to provide you support with the translation.

Winners will be announced by April 2022.

Judging Criteria


Submissions will be evaluated by the designated representative(s) appointed by the advisory committee, and by one representative from the OAO and one representative from Leiden University and will be considered based on:

  • Projects led or driven by the indigenous community for indigenous communities;
  • Impact (how it will affect the communities where it will be implemented),
  • Sustainability (if the funding will allow other activities beyond one single iteration).



This project is open to everyone. Projects led by indigenous communities will be favoured. 


Agreement with Applicants

  • All decisions of the project organisers about any aspect of the project, including eligibility or disqualification of applications, comments and images, and final distribution, are final and cannot be appealed.
  • By submitting information for the project about the conducted proposals, applicants consent to the use, reproduction, publication, transmission and dissemination of their name and information relating to the project by the organisers and/or partners, without compensation, in any publications or promotional material, to promote the projects and its winners.
  • The organisers reserve the right to make changes to the project at any time without prior notice, to temporarily interrupt the project, or to cancel the project without justification or being in any way accountable for this decision. No damages or compensation may be claimed by applicants to the project.
  • By submitting a proposal, applicants acknowledge that the project, the organisers, and collaborators are not responsible for any local expenses (such as customs taxes) associated with receiving the funding.
  • The project, the organisers, and the collaborators are not responsible for injury acquired through the use of the funding. 

Additional Information and References

Please address questions to Lina Canas at public@oao.iau.org.


[1] International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples 9 August


[2] Celebrating The Year of Indigenous Languages with Astronomy

[3] Upcoming Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022 – 2032) to focus on Indigenous language users’ human rights 


[4] State of the Worlds Indigenous Peoples - Education 


[5] Can support for Indigenous children’s early development play a part in addressing legacies of colonialism?


[6] Arnold Groh (2019) “Research Methods in Indigenous Contexts”. Ed. Springer. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-72776-9

[7] Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen, Pigga Keskitalo, and Torjer Olsen (Eds.). (2021). “Indigenous Research Methodologies in Sámi and Global Contexts”. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. https://brill.com/downloadpdf/title/56605

[8] Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Dalee Sambo Dorough, Gudmundur Alfredsson, Lee Swepston, and Petter Wille (Eds). (2019). “Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in International Law: Emergence and Application. Book in honour of Asbjørn Eide at Eighty”. IWGIA and Galdú. https://www.iwgia.org/images/publications/0709_INDIGENOUS_PEOPLES_RIGHTS_2.pdf
[9] Shawn Wilson (2020)  “Research Is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods”. Fernwood Publishing. ISBN: 9781773633282


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who are indigenous peoples?

Indigenous people are those who practise unique traditions and retain social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live. They are the descendants of those who inhabited a country or a geographical region at the time when people of different cultures or ethnic origins arrived. They have retained distinct characteristics which are clearly different from those of other segments of the national populations.


Text adapted from: https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/5session_factsheet1.pdf.


We recommend that you read the full (short) text.


2. What is the meaning of “free, prior and informed consent” in the context of Under One Sky Call for Proposals?


Under One Sky Call for Proposals aims to support projects conceptualised with Indigenous communities. To assure engaged communities have a real interest and understanding of the proposed project, we ask project proponents to submit documentation (in written or video format) demonstrating the interest and clear understanding of the project by the indigenous people or community.


To obtain Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples, proponents need to engage with indigenous communities and or organisations through their own representative and in good faith. In this context, free, prior and informed carry the following meaning:

  • Free implies that there is no coercion, intimidation or manipulation. Any element of pressure or influence that could affect the ability of the community and or organisations to say no to joining the project means they are not participating freely.
  • Prior implies that consent is to be sought sufficiently in advance. In the case of Under One Sky Call for Proposals, it means before applying for the call and respecting time requirements of indigenous consultation/consensus processes.
  • Informed implies that sufficient and honest information is provided. The project should be sufficiently explained, including its objectives, scope, audience, timeframe, deadlines, outcomes, deliverables, and budget, and personnel and other stakeholders involved. Proponents should also consider and share the likely economic, social, cultural and environmental impact of the project.

Text adapted from: https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/ipeoples/freepriorandinformedconsent.pdf.

We recommend that you read the full (short) text.


3. What types of projects can be supported?


Projects should make visible the astronomical knowledge of indigenous contemporary peoples. Projects should involve peoples and members of communities that exist today and should be developed in conjunction with a community of indigenous people. Consider if your project is conceptualized with the community, not for the community.


Individual efforts or research are not contemplated, nor are works of purely academic groups isolated from indigenous communities contemplated.


Topics addressed by the project (for reference and not restricted to):

  • Share and protect indigenous astronomical knowledge;
  • Translation and localization of astronomy resources into indigenous languages;
  • Cultural exchanges through a shared sky and importance of the dark skies protection;
  • Climate action and activism through astronomy


4. What is the maximum term to carry out the proposed projects?


Projects should take place on or around 9 August. If project deliverables take place outside these dates, please justify on your applications form.


5. What types of activities can be proposed as a final activity (return of knowledge)?


Final activity should represent an opportunity for re-sharing of the knowledge and practices of indigenous peoples and local communities from whom it originated. Although there are no limitations in format, the final activity should carry a clear contribution to the communities that project is conceptualised with.


6. Who can apply?


Applications are open to organisations and practitioners led by indigenous peoples or organisations and practitioners working collaboratively with indigenous peoples’ groups or organizations.




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