Proposals for Commission Working Groups

The Division C commission presidents, in consultation with their organizing committees, may propose new working groups (WGs) for their commissions at any time. This is done in accordance with the IAU Bye-Laws, which can be found in their entirety on the IAU website.

Bye-law 24 reads:

  • 24. With the approval of the Division, a Commission may establish Working Groups to study well-defined scientific issues and report to the Commission. Unless specifically re-appointed by the same procedure, such Working Groups cease to exist at the next following General Assembly.

Working rule 40a is also relevant to this process:

  • 40.a. Within the first year after a General Assembly – with a business meeting of the Division at the General Assembly itself as a natural starting point – the Steering Committee shall discuss with its Commissions, and within the Steering Committee itself, if changes in its Commission and Working Group structure may enable it to accomplish its mission better in the future. As a rule, Working Groups may be created (following the rules in Bye-Law 21 and Bye-Law 23) at any time for new activities that are either of a known, finite duration or are exploratory in nature. If experience, possibly from an existing Working Group, indicates that a major section of the Division’s activities require a coordinating body for a longer period (a decade or more), the creation of a new Commission may be in order (Statutes, § 22), and a corresponding Call for Proposals for Commissions considered.

In Division C an application for a Commission WG should be made by the commission president and include the following information:

  1. The name of the WG
  2. The name of the proposed chair
  3. The names of at least two WG members to serve on the OC (there may be more)
  4. A summary of the work to be done
  5. The timescale for the work to be completed (some WGs may complete their work in three years; others may have a longer existence, but they still need to reapply after each triennium)

The following explanatory notes may be useful:

  •  WGs should not be just one or two people, but a minimum of three. Sometimes they will be many more. A small WG doesn’t need to distinguish between an OC and members. A large one needs a small OC and perhaps dozens of members. The Division need not concern itself with such details, as the Commission presidents can ensure that their WGs are properly structured and have an OC if needed. The application should include the names of the chair and of at least two others to demonstrate this to be a viable group. The names of more active members may be included.
  • If a WG ever became really big, it can in principle evolve into a new Commission after applying to the EC, but that will happen fairly infrequently and probably not at all.
  • The work summary must make clear how the work of the proposed WG is compatible with the goals of Division C, as specified by the Division C Description statement on the IAU website.
  • Another reason for requesting the work summary is to be sure the work is not going to be completed in just a few months (in which case no need to form a WG) and to be sure that significant progress can be made in three years.
  • If the application is to continue an existing WG, then the past work undertaken should be included in the application and the past outcomes achieved should be summarized.

John Hearnshaw

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