No 35 – 22/06/2017

SGAA/SSAA News No 35 – 22/06/2017

1. Call for MERAC Funding 
2. Invitation to apply for travel grants 2017 from the CSR, deadline, end of June
3. Joint Annual Meeting of the Swiss and Austrian Physical Societies, 21-25 August 2017, CERN, Geneva 
4. Saas-Fee lectures 2018
5. First IAU PhD Prize Winners Announced
6. Next General Assembly of the SSAA, Zürich, 6 October 2017

1. Call for MERAC Funding: deadline for submission of projects: September 1rst

The SSAA is pleased to announce the second 2017 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 (March 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 to

2. Invitation to apply for travel grants 2017 from the CSR

The SCANT Committee on Space Research (CSR) invites applications for 
travel grants that are space science related:
– Presentations of CH space experiments at international meetings;
– Meetings to discuss new space projects;
– or similar space related topics.

This year, the CSR has CHF 4000.- to allocate.

Applications to the CSR should be sent to
Werner Schmutz, PMOD/WRC, Dorfstrasse 33, 7260 Davos Dorf;
either by regular mail or by e-mail to,
with a copy to the treasurer Roland Walter,">

Applications will be collected until end of June 2017 and then the CSR 
board will decide about the allocation of the travel support. The grant 
distributions will be communicated by mid of July 2017.

The requests should include date, place, and the reason for the travel, 
as well as an estimate of the overall costs. Support by the CSR will be 
a partial contribution. If the applicant wants the CSR to consider to 
cover the whole travel costs an extra justification is requested.

Werner Schmutz
President CSR

3. Joint Annual Meeting of the Swiss Physical Society and the Austrian Physical Society
  21-25 August 2017, CERN, Geneva

In past year, the Swiss Society of Astronomy and Astrophysics
and the Austrian Society joined the Swiss and Austrian Physical Societies
for their annual meeting.

In the frame of this meeting a small half day colloquium will be held with theme:

Interacting stars: from the origin of massive black holes to star-planet interactions.

During that meeting, that there will be two invited plenary discourses with an astronomical topic

Willy Benz (Uni Bern) : The CHEOPS mission: Goals and challenges
Philippe Jetzer (Uni Zürich): Gravitational waves: a new window to explore the Universe

4. The 48th Saas-Fee Advanced Course of the Swiss Society for Astrophysics and Astronomy will be devoted to:

Black-Hole Formation and Growth

Saas-Fee, Switzerland
January 28 to February 3, 2018

The advanced Course will review the state of knowledge, open questions and forecasts and will cover the following topics: Foundation of Gravity, early Universe, primordial black-holes, black holes at all scales, black-hole merging and gravitational waves, black-hole accretion and feedback, black hole growth on cosmological time scales.

27 hours of lectures will be given in English by three experts:

Course 1: Black holes across cosmic history
Prof. Tiziana Di Matteo (Carnegie Mellon University)

Course 2: Black hole merging and gravitational waves
Prof. Neil Cornish (Montana State University)

Course 3: Black hole accretion and feedback
Prof. Andrew King (University of Leicester)

The lectures will be held in the morning and in the late afternoon leaving free time for informal discussions, studies, and outdoor activities (skiing) in the afternoons. The course is intended mainly for post graduate, PhD students, astronomers and physicists who wish to broaden their knowledge. The lecture notes will be published by Springer-Verlag in the Saas-Fee lecture series.
5. First IAU PhD Prize Winners Announced

IAU is very pleased to announce the winners of the first IAU PhD prizes.

Be prepared to propose excellent candidates for next year call. Regards.

Corinne Charbonnel

6. Next General Assembly of the SSAA 

It will be held in Zürich on Friday 6 october 2017.
A detailed program of the GA assembly will be posted in September.

The webpage for the next GA is

Please register to


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