Virtual Observatory – Office of Astronomy for Development Special Grant

Logo of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development


The Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) and the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA) have a partnership that aims to bring together the complementary resources and expertise of these institutions to advance the application of astronomical data and/or technology use in different areas of society, most notably for education, development and public outreach. To this end, we will offer a special grant to support the development of Virtual Observatory (VO) tools in an undergraduate teaching context. Consequently, the grant will entitle the successful grant holder to ZAR 70,000 (USD 4,700).


The successful grant holder will deliver on the following:

  • A desktop survey of learning outcomes for undergraduate astronomy/physics curricula in South Africa and Africa;
  • Identify where existing VO tutorials and/or resources map onto learning outcomes in those curricula;
  • Write up minimum requirements for running those tutorials, e.g. computing, internet speed, lab hours required;
  • Work with the relevant stakeholders to make South African data available in VO tools, create (or adapt existing) VO tutorials using SA data; and
  • Present those tutorials to course convenors in one-on-one sessions.


Proposals should not exceed 2 pages (minimum font size 11)  and include the following:

  • Name and contact details of proposer;
  • Team members’ profiles (who will be involved and what are their roles/skills/experience);
  • Plans to deliver on the above requirements;
  • Detailed timelines and milestones;
  • Detailed Budget (for professional costs, rates and time estimates should be provided); and
  • Any additional motivation.


A selection panel, comprising representatives from the OAD and the SAAO VO team will assess the proposals based on the following criteria:

  • Capability of project leader and team (score of 10);
  • Feasibility of project plan (score out of 10, based on plans and timelines);
  • Cost effectiveness (score out of 10, based on budget and timelines); and
  • Additional considerations (score out of 5, based on motivation).

You may submit your proposals as a pdf to on or before April 15, 2022. Furthermore, interested applicants to learn more about the grant here.

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