No 31 – 15/12/2015

SGAA/SSAA News No 31 – 15/12/2015
1. Travel support SSAA – invitation to apply for grants
2. Call for “Astronomy Outreach” projects
3. Call for for MERAC Funding and Travel Awards
4. 46th Saas-Fee Advanced Course, Les Diablerets, 13-19 March 2016
5. Exoplanets I, Davos Congress Center, Switzerland: 3-8 July 2016
6. General Assembly 2015 material on the Web
7. Next General Assembly of the SSAA, Davos, 6-7 October 2016

1. Travel support SSAA – invitation to apply for grants

In 2016 the SSAA (Swiss Society for Astrophysics and Astronomy) will
have some money from the sc|nat available for travel grants.

The SSAA now invites applicants to apply until March 1rst 2016
to with copy

The request should provide the date, place, and the reason for the
travel, as well as the cost to be covered by the SSAA. There are two
types of travel grants:

(a) international collaboration (CHF 4000.-)

Travel money for international collaboration is preferentially given for
travels to meetings where Swiss participation is considered to be
useful, for visits at other institutions (for research projects), and
observing runs. The person should be a SGAA member and an active
researcher in astrophysics.

(b) support for young scientists (CHF 5000.-)

Travel money for young scientists is given preferentially to Ph.D.
students but also young Post-Docs, whereby the money may be used for
observing runs, visits to other institutions, conferences, research
schools etc. In the application it should be clarified in a few words
why this travel is important for the research project of the applicant.
Particularly encouraged to apply are young researchers who are in a
situation where it is not so easy to get the money from other

2. Call for “Astronomy Outreach” projects

In 2016, the SSAA offers financial support of up to 5000 CHF for
projects on Astronomy Outreach.

Funding is possible for diverse outreach projects, including support for
exhibitions, the preparation of material for schools, the organization
of events, and alike. Projects will be funded on a competitive basis.

Please send a brief project description and your budget request
to with copy

The deadline for the call is: March 31, 2016.
Requests may also be supported outside this call, if funding permits.


3. Call for MERAC Funding and Travel Awards

The SSAA is pleased to announce the 2016 call for MERAC awards.

Since 2013 the SSAA committee distributes Funding and Travel
Awards (20’000 Euro in total) sponsored by Foundation MERAC (Mobilising
European Research in Astrophysics and Cosmology), a nonprofit foundation
in Switzerland to recognize, encourage and promote the research and
mobility of young European Astrophysicists and Cosmologists.

The recipients of the MERAC awards are listed here:

The objectives of the grants are to cover travel costs, participation
at international conferences, short stays abroad, costs for collaborations,
or alike, to support the development of research projects by young
astrophysicists (graduate students and young postdocs are eligible for MERAC
fellowships). The grants do not cover expenses for scientific apparatus
or equipment.

The grants are subject to the following conditions:
– The grantee must be employed by or affiliated with a Swiss research
institute or University.
– The grants must be used to cover project costs, not or only partially
covered by other institutions.
– The grant has to be used within two years, after which unused funding
must be reimbursed to the SSAA.
– The grantee provides the SSAA with a financial report and short final
report on the use of the grant.
– The grantee allows the MERAC Foundation to make his/her biography and
project summary public.

Applications will be received twice per year (february 1, and september 1).
They must include a short biography, a research project description with
a summary, and a budget estimate. In case of a multiple applications, the
list of other solicited funds shall be given. The applications should be
limited to a maximum of 5 pages, in a single pdf file, to be sent to
to with copy

4. 46th Saas-Fee Advanced Course, Les Diablerets, 13-19 March 2016

46th “Saas-Fee Advanced Course” of the Swiss Society
for Astrophysics and Astronomy (SSAA)


13-19 March 2016, Les Diablerets, Switzerland


– Prof. Mark Dijkstra         : Physics of the Hydrogen Lyman-alpha radiation transfer
– Prof. J. Xavier Prochaska   : Cosmological uses of the Lyman-alpha line in absorption
– Prof. Masami Ouchi          : Cosmological uses of the Lyman-alpha line in emission
– As. Prof. Matthew Hayes     : Observations of Lyman-alpha radiation transfer effects
in nearby galaxies


5. Exoplanets I, Davos Congress Center, Switzerland: 3-8 July 2016

The astronomical community is in an expansion phase of exoplanet science,
especially with several American and European space missions (TESS, CHEOPS, PLATO, JWST)
on the horizon (2017 to 2024). The new Exoplanets conference series aims
to consolidate all aspects of exoplanet science and strike a balance between:

Exoplanet theory, observations and instrumentation;
Exoplanet discovery and atmospheric characterization;
Transiting and directly imaged exoplanets;
Ground- and space-based surveys/missions;
American and European participation.
We aim to expand upon the “Planets” in the “Protostars & Planets” conference series
by shifting the focus to exoplanet science. We expect about 60% of the program to
consist of contributed (rather than invited) talks.
Abstraction submission will open on 1st Feb 2016.
You may already pre-register to indicate interest.

The conference will take place from 3rd to 8th July 2016 (Sunday to Friday)
at the Davos Congress Center, Switzerland, site of the World Economic Forum.
The registration fee (350 CHF) will cover coffee/tea sessions (twice daily),
lunch (once daily) and a conference dinner. Financial aid will be provided
for a limited number of students and junior researchers.

More information on the website:


6. General Assembly 2015 material on the Web

The material (reports, presentations etc.) of the 2015 General Assembly
of the SSAA, held on 15-16 oct 2015 at Locarno, are available on the SSAA
website at


7. Next General Assembly of the SSAA, Davos, 6-7 October 2016

The Next General Assembly will be held at Davos
hosted by Physikalish-Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos
World Radiation Center

Dates:  beginning of October (6-7 October).


For more information concerning the SGAA/SSAA, astronomy in
Switzerland, and related topics visit our Website

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