The Swiss Commission for Astronomy (SCFA) is a Commission of the Swiss Academy of Science (ScNat). Members of the Commission are elected by the Senate of ScNat following proposals by the SCFA.
The Commission tasks are :
To represent and defend the interests of Swiss astronomy in projects and realizations in the framework of international collaborations ;
To coordinate and encourage research ;
To foster all kinds of teaching of astronomy and astrophysics in Switzerland, at the professional, amateur, and grand public levels.
The Commission works in collaboration with the Swiss Society of Astrophysics and Astronomy.
The Commission maintains contacts with the relevant administration for any questions listed under Number 2. It is recommended that any individual contact with the authorities be reported to the president of the Commission.
The Commission acts as the National Committee for all functions related to the European Southern Observatory (ESO), more specifically for all actions related to the scientific committees of this organization.
In agreement with the rules and regulations of the various ESO scientific committees, the Commission :
suggests a small number of Swiss astronomers as candidates to represent Switzerland at the Scientific and Technical Committee (STC), and
suggests two candidates to represent Switzerland at the Users Committee (UC).
When asked by the State Secretariat for Education and Research (SER), the Commission submits to the SER the names of astronomers to represent Switzerland at the ESO council.
The Commission acts as the National Committee of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). One of its members is the IAU national delegate for Switzerland.
The Commission consists in 12 members at most. Their term is of three years, renewable. Each Swiss research institute active in astronomy (teaching and/or research) should normally be represented by a senior staff member, e.g., its acting director. In special cases, the Commission can appoint one or more experts.
The Commission meets at least once a year following a call from its president or from three of its members. The members who cannot attend the meeting can be replaced by the person of their choice.
The Commission is self-organised, e.g., it elects its president. The presidential term is of two years, renewable.
Decisions of the Commission are taken at the absolute majority (half plus one) of the members present at the meeting. When a decision is needed before the next meeting of the SCFA, an electronic vote is organized.