Information and Programme – Africa-Europe collaborations: current status and the road to 2024

EAS2022 – Special Session (SS38)

Aims and scope

This special session builds on two previous highly successful sessions at EAS2018 (SS23: Reflection on European – African research collaborations in astronomy and space science: opportunities, achievements, challenges, and needs) and EAS2020 (SS15: Africa-European collaborations in astronomy and space science: room to grow). 

Astronomy is one of the emerging fields in Africa that experienced amazing developments over the last 10 years (see e.g., McBride et al. 2018, Povic et al. 2018). Collaborations with different European research centres, universities, societies, etc., played an important role in that. Over the last two years, many new initiatives and collaborations arose: the African Astronomical Society (AfAS) became one of the vibrant and dynamic societies, South Africa won the bid to host the IAU General Assembly (GA) in 2024, the African Network of Women in Astronomy (AfNWA) was established, the Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy (DARA) and Africa Initiative for Planetary and Space Sciences (AFIPS) carried out many activities through close collaboration between Africa and Europe, new research initiatives arose between the two continents such are the Pan-Africa Planetary and Space Science Network (PAPSSN), Mobility in Africa for Training, Education and Research: Network for Astrophysics (MATERNA), Astronomy and Astrophysics Arising Across Africa (5A), and many others. In addition to this, strong collaborations between the two continents in terms of the development of infrastructure in observational astronomy and with site testing experienced also important developments. 

With this special session, we aim to have a general reflection on the current status of Africa-Europe collaborations in astronomy by highlighting the current activities and initiatives, but also opportunities, achievements, challenges, and needs, and to use this bi-annual meeting to strengthen the links between the two continents for the benefit of all. This is especially important for together building the road to 2024 IAU GA, the first one to be held in Africa. For bringing a deeper discussion on the IAU GA 2024, we will host a lunch session, in addition to the special session.