International Astronomical Union OAO Announce Three Projects for Funding Scheme

The International Astronomical Union Office for Astronomy Outreach (OAO) is pleased to announce the selection of three projects in the second year of the IAU National Outreach Coordinator (NOC) Funding Scheme. The selected projects involve National Outreach Coordinators from 17 countries. They will focus on key areas of astronomy outreach, from building a global platform to share astronomy outreach events to taking astronomy to refugee camps or using art as a tool for astronomy outreach.

The IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach (OAO) is a joint project of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). The mission of the OAO is to engage the public in astronomy through access to astronomical information and communication of the science of astronomy. This is implemented through a network of IAU National Outreach Coordinators (NOCs) and the IAU’s public engagement initiatives. The work of the OAO is about building bridges between the IAU and the global astronomy community of amateur astronomers, outreach professionals, educators, communicators, and the general public, and through international collaboration, to make the science of astronomy accessible to all.

In 2020, the IAU started to provide all IAU national outreach representatives with a dedicated funding system to support the network on their outreach initiatives. The funding scheme embodies the IAU mission of building international cooperation by encouraging the NOCs to form partnerships to present proposals addressing common challenges. This second year of the scheme brought together 45 country representatives and a total of 24 submitted proposals.

“We are pleased to see the growing involvement of our NOC community in the OAO funding scheme and the spirit of collaboration and mutual support translated in the received proposals,” says José Miguel Espinosa, IAU Assistant General Secretary.

The three projects selected are:

The Art of Astronomy: Recognising that art is greatly influenced by astronomy, this project, which involves Brazil, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Angola and Portugal, will create a virtual exhibition and an interactive virtual art gallery composed of astronomy-related artistic material produced by groups of young people (primary and high-school students) and engaging the public in astronomy.

Amanar: Under the same sky 2021 Summer Program: This programme, which involves Spain, Italy and Brazil, aims to expand the summer programmes of the Amanar project, a project to empower and inspire the Sahrawi community from the refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria, using astronomy. The project will also produce guidelines and lessons learnt about working with refugee communities in astronomy outreach projects to be applied to other refugee groups.

AstroGPS for the World: Increasing numbers of astronomical events are being organised all over the world. It is vital that target audiences can easily access information on these activities. This project, which involves NOCs from the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Mongolia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and is led by Poland, will build on a user-friendly and successful service and expand it for the benefit of the global community.

In 2021, the OAO partnered with the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO). The SKAO offered additional funding to sponsor projects on radio astronomy outreach, bringing together NOCs and the SKAO’s own Communications & Outreach Network to foster new international collaborations.

In April 2021, the OAO host institutions, the IAU and NAOJ, signed a new agreement that, amongst other measures, assures the continuity of this funding scheme. The 2021/2022 NOC Funding Scheme will open in August 2021.

More information:

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 12,000 active professional astronomers from more than 100 countries worldwide. Its mission is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world’s largest professional body for astronomers.


IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach National Outreach Coordinators (NOCs) NOCs Funding Scheme


Lina Canas, Director, IAU OAO Tel: +81-(0)422-34-3966. Email:

Lars Lindberg Christensen, IAU Press Officer. Cell: +49 173 38 72 621. Email:

Republished from IAC’s website here.