The Royal Astronomical Society is running a major outreach and engagement programme, RAS 200: Sky and Earth, to commemorate the Society’s 200th anniversary in 2020.

Details can be found at

With a budget of £1 million its aim is to fund around 10 projects (about £100,000 each) to engage the wider public with the sciences we support, with our key goal being to work with groups that until now have been ‘hard to reach’.

To that end, we are approaching a diverse range of organisations where we have had little or no involvement in the past, but that are well placed to work with the wider community and who would be potential project partners or leads.

The next stage of the project is taking place in the autumn, with regional ‘Town Hall’ meetings taking place at a number of locations around the UK.

The meeting will bring together potential national partners and / or their local representatives with more local groups, who are likely to provide the volunteer effort needed to make funded projects a success. The meetings will have a short overview of RAS 200, followed by initial pitches for ideas and a ‘speed networking’ session to allow partners to develop combined plans. We will also be opening a two-stage process for applications for funding. Firstly applications will submit a ‘letter of intent’ or outline proposal. A review group will select a subset of these to go forward and to be invited to submit a more detailed application. After a second review, the first set of projects should receive funding from the spring of 2015.

To find out more please attend our meeting on Sunday 23 November, 1.30pm, at the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre. Please note admission to the meeting will be by ticket only. To confirm your attendance please RSVP to by Thursday13 November in order for the RAS to properly prepare for the event.

RAS 200 is one of the most ambitious projects the RAS has undertaken. We very much welcome your support for and involvement in this exciting programme.

Dr Sheila Kanani, Education, Outreach and Diversity Officer, Royal Astronomical Society