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RAS 200: £1m for public engagement

Last Updated on Monday, 01 December 2014 14:34
Published on Monday, 01 December 2014 11:52

Organisations, clubs, community groups and scientists have two months to bid for a share of a new £1m public engagement fund. The RAS 200: Sky & Earth grants scheme, which opened for applications today, is the next step in a programme supporting innovative public engagement projects in astronomy and geophysics that marks the approach to the Society’s bicentennial in 2020.

Leicester town hall meeting smallRound table discussions during the RAS200 town hall meeting held at the National Space Centre in Leicester. Credit: Royal Astronomical Society. Click for a full size imageRAS 200 launched at the Society’s AGM in May, with the central aim of working with groups that have previously had little involvement with the sciences supported by the RAS. Unusually, there are few preconditions on the types of project, with applications encouraged from consortia that include everyone from community organisations to leading scientists.

The grants round, which closes on 2 February 2015, will see outline applications for different projects with budgets of up to £100,000. From these a panel will select up to 12 proposals to go forward for more detailed applications. Up to 6 of these will be awarded grants, with the winners announced at the RAS AGM in May 2015.

Prof. Steve Miller, chair of the RAS 200: Sky & Earth Steering Group, said: "We want people to come forward with ideas that can make a real difference and create a lasting legacy. The science of the planet we live on and the universe around it can inspire everyone to do amazing things – and that’s what we want to happen."

Prof. Martin Barstow, President of the RAS, added: "RAS 200: Sky & Earth marks a step change for the Royal Astronomical Society. We have set ourselves ambitious goals, but if we succeed we could transform the landscape of public engagement. If you have an innovative idea that fits in with those ambitions, we’d very much like to hear from you."

To help shape RAS 200, in July the Society consulted with national charities in a Stakeholder Meeting. This autumn the RAS has run 11 regional discussion meetings in towns and cities in all the nations of the UK, with a further 3 to follow, bringing together scientists, public engagement specialists and local community organisations.

 

Media contacts

Dr Robert Massey
Royal Astronomical Society
Tel: +44 (0)20 7734 3307 / 4582 x214
Mob: +44 (0)794 124 8035
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Dr Sheila Kanani (on leave until Monday 8 December)
Royal Astronomical Society
Tel: +44 (0)20 7734 3307 x207
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Science contact

Prof. Steve Miller
Chair, RAS 200 Steering Group
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Image and caption

An image is available from https://www.ras.org.uk/images/stories/press/Leicester%20town%20hall%20meeting.JPG
Caption: Round table discussions during the RAS200 town hall meeting held at the National Space Centre in Leicester. Credit: Royal Astronomical Society

 

Further information

For further information please contact Dr Sheila Kanani, the RAS Education, Outreach and Diversity Officer.

 

Notes for editors

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. The RAS organizes scientific meetings, publishes international research and review journals, recognizes outstanding achievements by the award of medals and prizes, maintains an extensive library, supports education through grants and outreach activities and represents UK astronomy nationally and internationally. Its more than 3800 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories as well as historians of astronomy and others.

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