Lunch Session LS10 30 June 2020

Astronomy for development

Aims and scope

  • Expand the astronomy for development community to work on sustainable development in Europe and globally.
  • Present current astronomy for development activities and opportunities in Europe.
  • Discuss the future of astronomy for development in Europe and what we can learn from existing initiatives.
The IAU European Regional Office of Astronomy for Development (E-ROAD) was established at Leiden in 2018 as a partnership between the EAS and Leiden University. It is part of a global network of regional offices of Astronomy for Development the IAU has set up in the past decade, to use astronomy as a tool for international development. Because of its links with various sciences, cutting-edge technology, but also culture and philosophy, astronomy can contribute uniquely to help stimulate sustainable development and specifically, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There are many different ways to employ astronomy skills, facilities and knowledge for socio-economic development. The global IAU astronomy for development network has extensive experience that we can learn from and build on.

The E-ROAD focuses on contributing to the SDGs in Europe, as well as connecting with the sister offices and sharing expertise and resources. Amongst other projects, the office is presently developing a global education project, Pale Blue Dot, that promotes global citizenship in young children, to encourage solidarity and raise environmental awareness. The E-ROAD is also setting up a twinning programme between astronomy departments worldwide to stimulate capacity building. In this session, the astronomy community has the opportunity to discuss the future direction of the European office.


  • Overview of the IAU European Regional Office of Astronomy for development (E-ROAD) activities.
  • How astronomy contributes to development and the SDGs in other regions.
  • International collaboration to foster socio-economic development.
  • Discussion about the future of astronomy for development.

Invited speakers

  • Jaime E. Forero-Romero (Andean Regional Office of Astronomy for Development)

Scientific organisers

Pedro Russo, chair - Leiden Observatory (NL); Michelle Willebrands, co-chair - IAU OAD (NL); Andreas Burkert - EAS (DE); Kevin Govender - IAU OAD (ZA); Vanessa McBride - IAU OAD (ZA); George Miley - Leiden Observatory (NL)


For inquiries, please contact Michelle Willebrands: willebrands @

Updated on Mon Dec 09 13:19:25 CET 2019