Special Session SS2  2 July 2020

European forum of astronomical communities

News: ALL OUR TALKS ARE PRE-RECORDED, links are provided below

The European Forum of Astronomical Communities is a platform of the EAS to discuss the development of underrepresented astronomy communities in Europe. The forum launched during EWASS 2017 in Prague and was also held during EWASS 2018 in Liverpool and EWASS 2019 Lyon. Building from the ideas generated in these sessions, we propose to continue and expand it at EAS 2020 in Leiden.

Aims and scope

  • Maintain an EAS forum for discussing ways to support underrepresented astronomical communities in Europe, especially concerning their potential to participate in major infrastructures and outreach programmes, and to increase internationalization.
  • Support the professionalisation of astronomy communities in Europe by identifying ways to increase opportunities and access to training, mentoring, exchange schemes, secondments and fellowships, travel and research grants, and to increase diversity in the field.
  • Present current activities and opportunities in the field of astronomy education
  • Explore how the European Regional Office of Astronomy for Development (E-ROAD) can support connecting European astronomy institutes to stimulate capacity building. Inspire the underrepresented communities to think about the wider socio-economic impact from the outset to maximise the societal benefit.


European contribution to astronomy often relies on optical night-time telescopes of modest size in mediocre sites, although observational opportunities also exist elsewhere (ESO and other observatories accessible via OPTICON), or in radio astronomy (via RADIONET). The ground based observation should complement the space projects through the European Space Agency (ESA). Cooperation agreements have been signed with some of these projects and countries, but not all such arrangements are effectively used for astronomical science, and bureaucratic obstacles may impede the progress of some national communities. Despite good intentions and some notable exceptions, overall progress has been disappointingly slow.

The European Astronomical Society (EAS) and the ASTRONET consortium of funding agencies for European astronomy have joined forces in establishing the European Forum of Astronomical Communities (FORUM), combining the grassroots contacts of the EAS with the financial resources of the agencies. Their common long-term goal is the successful use of the next generation of large research and educational infrastructures by the entire European scientific community, and the gradual elimination of the imbalance between more and less developed regions in European astronomy. The goal of the FORUM is to discuss and initiate a set of pragmatic bottom-up actions to make visible progress wherever possible.


Please watch the pre-recorded talks, all available here: http://www.astrouw.edu.pl/~wyrzykow/EAS2020/SS02/

and join us for the discussion and questions on July 2nd, Thursday, 14:30-16:00 CEST

Invited speakers

  • Michelle Willebrands (IAU, OAD) - European Regional Office of Astronomy for Development
  • Fernando Comeron/Andrew Williams (ESO - Institutional Relations) -- research infrastructure: current status & challenges ahead
  • John Davies (STFC, UK), Gerry Gilmore (Cambridge, UK) - New OPTICON+RadioNET program (ORP) for the optical wavelengths
  • Heidi Korhonen (ESO, Chile) - Training opportunities in the past and new OPTICON+RadioNet - optical wavelengths
  • Simon Garrington (JBO/eMerlin Manchester, UK) - New OPTICON+RadioNET program (ORP) for the radio wavelengths
  • John McKean (Astron, NL)- Training opportunities in the past and new OPTICON+RadioNet - radio wavelengths
  • Lukasz Wyrzykowski (Warsaw University, Poland) - Networking opportunities for small telescopes and scientists in time-domain astronomy
  • Ewa Szuszkiewicz (University of Szczecin, Poland) - EUROPLANET: Europlanet Society and Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure
  • Andreja Gomboc (UNG, Slovenia) - GWVERSE COST action
  • Nicholas Walton (University of Cambridge, UK) - MW-Gaia COST action
  • Milena Ratajczak (Warsaw University, Poland) - outreach activities in astronomy and space themes in Europe
  • Areg Mickaelian (Aras, ArVO, Armenia) - Armenia as a link for Europe to Eastern Europe and Asia
  • Sandor Kruk (ESA) - Romanian Science Festival

Scientific organisers

Gerry Gilmore - University of Cambridge (UK); Lex Kaper - Amsterdam (NL); Agata Karska - Nicolaus Copernicus University (PL); Jan Palous - Prague (CZ); Milena Ratajczak - University of Warsaw (PL); Pedro Russo - Leiden (NL); Ronald Stark - ASTRONET (NL); Michelle Willebrands - IAU (NL); Andrew Williams - ESO; Lukasz Wyrzykowski - University of Warsaw (PL) - Chair


Please contact the Chair, Lukasz Wyrzykowski: lw at astrouw.edu.pl

Updated on Thu Jul 02 11:38:43 CEST 2020