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Seconds out – round 2!
Juno at Jupiter (artist's impression)
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Seconds out – round 2!

RAS200 logo

Image Credit: RAS

The RAS is looking for more innovative outreach ideas, to celebrate our 200th birthday.

Burlington House was buzzing last week as more than 30 representatives of community organizations came together to find out more about RAS200, the outreach project that reaches places others do not – or so we hope!

For many people in science, the idea of a spacecraft arriving at Jupiter is fundamentally exciting; but a lot of people don't hear about space missions and don't find them very exciting when they do. These are the people the RAS would like to engage through RAS200. 

The RAS will be 200 years old in 2020 and, as part of the celebration of that anniversary, the Society has set aside £1 million for innovative outreach about astronomy, planetary sciences, solar-terrestrial physics and geophysics. The first awards were made in 2015 and representatives of The Prince's Trust, who recieved an award, were at the meeting to answer questions.

Steve MIller, Chair of the RAS Steering Committee, gave an overview of the scheme, but most of the day was spent on networking and question and answer sessions. These established key points about this initiative: that it is intended to fund projects different from the usual science outreach approach; that the RAS are looking for innovation; that it is about funding people and ideas, more than bricks and mortar projects. And, at this stage, it is about finding as many potential partners as possible and coming together to talk about ideas, ahead of funding decisons next year.

The next stage is a series of Town Hall meetings across the UK in late summer and autumn of this year, then RAS200 will be open to outline proposals from 10 October onwards. In 2017 a shortlist of projects will be drawn up and the final decision will be announced at the RAS AGM in May.

The RAS is funding the RAS200 projects to mark its bicentenary in 2020.  The goal is to establish a much wider outreach presence for our sciences, as part of the process of this venerable learned society turning outwards to meet the new challenges that will come in the next 200 years.

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Dr Sue Bowler

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Dr Sue Bowler

Dr Sue Bowler is Editor of A&G and A&G Forum.

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