No 32 – 30/03/2016

SGAA/SSAA News No 32 – 30/03/2016

1. Feedback to ESO Users Committee (DEADLINE APRIL 3rd)
2. Call for MERAC Funding (DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 1rst)
3. Call for “Astronomy Outreach” projects (DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 1rst)
4. Swiss SKA day, 18 may 2016, Lausanne
5. Exoplanets I, Davos Congress Center, Switzerland: 3-8 July 2016
6. 1st Swiss SCOSTEP workshop, 4-5 October 2016, ISSI Bern
7. SSAA General Assembly, Davos, 6-7 October2016
1. Feedback to ESO Users Committee (DEADLINE APRIL 3RD)
(see also mail to all SSAA Members on March 22, this is a remind)
Dear SSAA members,
The ESO Users Committee would like to have the feedback of ESO’s telescope users for the upcoming User’s Committee meeting (April 18th, 2016).
To do so, we have set-up a poll that can be accessed at .
The poll closing date is April 3rd in the evening but don’t wait until April 3rd since it takes only ~10 minutes to answer the questions.  The answers to the poll will help me voice the opinion of the Swiss community to the ESO DG.
I am also aware that the “poll technic” has limitations, so if you feel that your opinion cannot be expressed in the poll, please, send me an email with your feedback.
All the best,
Damien Ségransan
Swiss representative to ESO Users Committee
Phone : (+41) (0)223 792 479
Observatoire Astronomique, Université de Genève
51 ch des Maillettes, CH-1290 Versoix, Switzerland
2. Call for MERAC Funding (DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 1rst)
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. 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
3. Call for “Astronomy Outreach” projects (DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 1rst)
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
The deadline for the call is: September 1rst, 2016.
Requests may also be supported outside this call, if funding permits.
4. Swiss SKA day, 18 may 2016, Lausanne
Dear colleagues,
a “Swiss SKA day” will take place Wednesday 18 may 2016 (10-17h)
at the EPFL in Lausanne. The SKA directorate, the former director of
the SKA South Africa project, researchers from Swiss universities,
and representatives of industry will present the SKA and Swiss interests
for it.
Please book the date in your agenda. The program and detailed
information will be circulated in due time.
We look forward to seeing many of you in Lausanne.
Daniel Schaerer and Jean-Paul Kneib
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. 1st Swiss SCOSTEP workshop, 4-5 October 2016, ISSI Bern
The Scientific Committee on Solar Terrestrial Physics (SCOSTEP) is an international organization with the goal of strengthening and promoting international solar-terrestrial physics research. As of 2016 Switzerland is a member of SCOSTEP and a National Committee has been established with the goal of promoting and representing the solar-terrestrial community within Switzerland and internationally.
This workshop aims at bringing together Swiss scientists with an interest in solar-terrestrial physics, covering the topics of fundamental solar physics, solar variability, Sun-Earth relations, and future missions and observations. It encourages a lively exchange between participants to identify synergies, foster collaborations, and strengthen the community.
More information and registration on
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:  6 -7  October 2016.
We invite PhD students finishing their thesis this year or next year
who would like to make an oral presentation
during the GA in Davos to submit a proposal
for the 1tst June 2016 to, with copy
For more information concerning the SGAA/SSAA, astronomy in
Switzerland, and related topics visit our Website
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