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May 2018

Dear IAU members,

The XXXth General Assembly (Vienna, 20–31 August 2018) is approaching swiftly and both the Local Organizing Committee and the IAU Executive are actively collaborating for a very successful event. With this spirit in mind, the Executive Committee Meeting #100 took place in the Vienna International Centre, which will also host the GA in August. The EC Members therefore had a chance to visit the Centre and discuss the details of the current status of the organization with the LOC: everything looks in good order and the EC expressed its satisfaction and gratitude for the dedicated effort of the people involved.

Beyond the GA logistics, the Executive Committee discussed several matters of relevance to the IAU and took important decisions. In particular, it approved the 9 IAU Symposia for the year 2019 (see https://www.iau.org/news/announcements/detail/ann18019/) and the winners of the IAU PhD prize 2017 (see https://www.iau.org/news/announcements/detail/ann18021/). Together with the winners of the 2016 Call, they have been invited to participate in the GA in Vienna and to present their work during the Division Days. The reach of the IAU to the younger generation of astronomers is not limited to the PhD prize: the EC approved the inclusion in the Union of more than 350 Junior Members that, for the first time, after the approval of the amended Statutes and Bye-Laws, will join the IAU together with about 880 new regular Individual Members. The EC is eager to integrate the Junior cohort in the activities of the Union and approved the constitution of a new Junior Member Working Group, reporting directly to the Executive with the task of highlighting specific issues of their initial career path and proposing solutions. The terms of reference of the new Working Group are being prepared and will be distributed to all the Junior Members, so that they can already have an interaction with the new Executive Committee during its first meeting (Vienna, 1 September, 2018).

Following the call for new Individual and Junior Members, the submission form has been reviewed and streamlined, including a more efficient, keywords coded, description of the scientific interest of the members. All the IAU members will soon be invited to complete their profile according to the new format and the resulting members’ data base, limited to non-sensitive information and upon agreement by the individuals, will be offered to the community together with tools for an efficient querying.

The EC also discussed the proposals by 11 new National Members to join the Union: it has decided to present 10 of them to the General Assembly for approval and one for rejection.  This is possibly the highest increase in the number of NM in recent years.

An important decision by the EC was the approval of the text of the IAU Strategic Plan 2020-2030. The Plan was drafted by an EC task force co-chaired by the President-elect Ewine van Dishoeck and Vice President Debra Elmegreen and included contributions by the OAD, OAO and OYA. It was circulated to all the National Members for comments and is now presented on the IAU web page to the community at large. The Strategic Plan 2020-2030 is a continuation and a development of the previous “Astronomy for Development Strategic Plan 2010–2020”, broadening it to include all IAU activities. It presents interesting and new  goals, especially in the field of education and inclusion. The Strategic Plan will be the object of a Resolution that will be presented for approval by the General Assembly.

Back to the organisation of the GA, the IAU received more than 800 requests for travel grants, out of which about 580 were approved following the recommendation of the various Scientific Organizing Committees and Division Presidents. The total amount of IAU distributed grants is about 450.000 Euro, considerably higher than in previous GAs. Although we cannot always match the requested amount, we hope that the partial contribution will allow a large number of astronomers to actively participate in the Symposia and Focus Meeting in Vienna. Once we know the number of accepted grants, we may provide additional financial support to grantees travelling long distances or those who have particularly limited resources.

Finally, following the recommendation of the Executive Committee, on 14 May 2018, we signed the extension of the agreement that the IAU has with Cambridge University Press for the production and printing of the Symposia, Astronomy in Focus and IAU Transactions Volumes. The contribution for the production and access to the online version of the Volumes has remained unchanged at 10 GBP per participant.

The General Secretary Piero Benvenuti signing the extension of the Cambridge University Press agreement at the presence of the IAU President Silvia Torres-Peimbert and of the CUP Officer Elizabeth Woodhouse. On the shelves, in the background, the full collection of IAU Proceedings.


Piero Benvenuti
IAU General Secretary

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Media Invitation for the XXX General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union

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  IAU Public Announcements

Live Webcast of 2018 Kavli Prize Announcement

16 May 2018: On 31 May, a live webcast will take place from the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters announcing the 2018 Kavli Prize Laureates in Astrophysics, Nanoscience and Neuroscience. The webcast ...

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IAU General Assembly 2018 IAU General Assembly 2018

IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach Office for Astronomy Outreach

Scientific Dates & Deadlines

20 - 31 Aug 2018
XXX IAU General Assembly

20 - 23 Aug 2018
IAUS 343: Why Galaxies Care About AGB Stars: A Continuing Challenge through Cosmic Time

20 - 22 Aug 2018
FM6: Galactic Angular Momentum

20 - 22 Aug 2018
FM13: Global Coordination of International Astrophysics and Heliophysics Activities from Space and Ground

Administrative Dates & Deadlines

20 May 2018
The General Secretary forwards list of proposed Membership Committee Members for the next triennium to the National Members and invites additional nominations from them

20 May 2018
The General Secretary forwards list of proposed Finance Committee Members for the next triennium to the National Members and invites additional nominations from them

31 May 2018
End of Commission OC Elections

31 May 2018
Applicants will be Notified by the IAU General Secretary of the Outcome of the Selection for the Gruber Fellowship


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