The IAU Executive Committee Working Group on Coordination of Ground and Space Astrophysics will be holding at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Cape Town, South Africa, from 3 to 7 February 2020.

The objective of this workshop is to explore the challenges in making international multi-messenger collaborations function and to draft a white paper with recommended best practice. If this is to succeed it will require the active participation of the major projects and observatories around the world. 

The following observatories/projects will be represented:

  • Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA)
  • Chinese Space Projects:
    • Insight – Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT)
    • Gravitational wave high-energy Electromagnetic Counterpart All-sky Monitor (GECAM)
    • Space Variable Objects Monitor (SVOM)
    • Einstein Probe (EP)
    • enhanced X-ray Timing and Polarimetry (eXTP)
  • European Southern Observatory (ESO)
  • IceCube Neutrino Observatory
  • Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST)
  • Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO)
  • The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO/Virgo)
  • Mobile Astronomical System of TElescope Robots (MASTER)
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – Headquarters
  • Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory (Swift)
  • Sitian (司天) Project
  • Square Kilometre Array (SKA)
  • Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF)



Laura Cadonati (Georgia Tech, USA)

Brad Cenko (co-chair; NASA, USA)

Valerie Connaughton (NASA, USA)

Rob Fender (Oxford University, UK)

Derek Fox (Penn State University, USA)

Paul Groot (Radbound University, Netherlands)

Mansi Kasliwal (Caltech, USA)

Tara Murphy (University of Sydney, Australia)

Samaya Nissanke (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Alberto Sesana (University of Birmingham, UK)

Shigeru Yoshida (Chiba University, Japan)

Patricia Whitelock (co-chair; SAAO, UCT)

Bin-bin Zhang (Nanjing University, China)


Valencia Cloete (SAAO)

Daniel Cunnama (SAAO)

Christian Hettlage (SAAO)

Sivuyile Manxoyi (SAAO)

Nazli Mohamed (SAAO)

Glenda Snowball (SAAO)

Patricia Whitelock (chair; SAAO, UCT)


Accommodation will be provided for invitees at the Protea Hotel in Mowbray, Cape Town.

The hotel is situated close to the conference venue. The Wild Fig restaurant is located nearby.

The SAAO has block-booked hotel rooms for the workshop, but these must be confirmed before 31 October 2019 or they will be cancelled. We cannot confirm your room until we have received a copy of your airline ticket. Please send this to as soon as possible.

Note that February is peak holiday season for Cape Town, so please confirm your flights early and register before 31 October.

Contact Lianne Clarke  ( for travel arrangements outside of the conference.


Transport between hotel/SAAO and airport

This is for your own expense

It is possible to hire cars from the usual international companies.

We recommend booking your shuttle with Ross Pinto <>. A single trip between the airport and the hotel/SAAO will cost R260 per person (less if there are more people).

Uber is popular in Cape Town and the cost will probably be slightly less.

It is also possible to arrange transport via the hotel, who will charge R320 per person.

 You can also simply catch a taxi from the airport, but in that case we recommend going to the official taxi counter at arrivals, rather than one of the touts.


To be considered for an invitation

This workshop is limited to a maximum of 50 people and is by invitation only. We anticipate sending out invitations between June and August 2019 and already have a lengthy list of potential participants. If you think that you should have an invitation please complete the form below. Note that it will not be possible to accommodate everyone interested in transients, but we are keen in involving as many interdependent projects as we can.