Published on December 1, 2021

Apply to be part of one of the NextGen Plenary panels during the IAC 2022!

Students and Young Professionals, We Want Your Input!

Apply to be part of one of the NextGen Plenary panels during the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2022, in Paris. Come and showcase your ideas and work in front of an audience of senior space leaders in government, industry and academia!

The two proposed panels will cover these topics:

1) Space and the Arts: From STEM to STEAM
2) AI4Space: Perspectives from the Next Generation

Is your work, research, or activities related to any of the two? Read on and apply!

The NextGen Plenary - An Overview

The International Astronautical Congress (IAC), the premiere international space event, displays successes and trends of the sector through its Plenary Programme with proposals selected via competition. The NextGen Plenary (NGP) gives students and young professionals from around the world the opportunity to showcase their work and projects in front of the international space community. The plenary is moderated in a format similar to a talk show, interweaving clips from the panelists with questions and comments from the moderator, other panelists, and the audience. The video clips will be used to enhance the audience’s understanding of the ideas of the plenary participants. This is an exciting opportunity that you do not want to miss!

How does the NGP Process work?

  • This current document is a call for applicants to be selected as panelists for one of the two plenary proposals, currently being drafted by the NGP Steering Committee for submission to the IAF.
  • Panelists will be selected via a global competitive process (see Application Process below) by subject matter experts to identify the best candidates and showcase the diversity of successful efforts related to the two proposal topics.
  • Though both the plenaries are still in the application stage, if approved, one of the proposed panels will be selected by IAF as the Next Generation Plenary panel to take place during the week of 18-22 September 2022, in Paris, France at IAC2022. We will be notified of the selection outcome following the IAF Spring Meetings in March 2021.
  • The Next Generation Plenary Steering Committee is committed to the success of both our proposed panels and in the event the plenary application process is unsuccessful, we will find an appropriate alternative venue for the panels during IAC2022.

The 2022 NextGen Plenary Topics

TOPIC 1 - Space and the Arts: From STEM to STEAM

This topic aims to highlight the different artistic and creative endeavors happening in the space sector. In popular culture, we are seeing artists like Sian Proctor and actors like William Shatner using creative means to share their experiences in space with the broader public. In this new space age, with space becoming accessible to more people, the lines between science and artistic expression will continue to blur.

Art and creativity are some of the most fundamental means of human expression. As we look to the wonders of space and science, many draw on their creative skills to share this awe with their local and global communities. From space artists to poets, architects to communicators, art comes in many forms. Recognizing the importance of highlighting these projects, many commercial companies have launched artist-in-residence programs. We also see events and workshops hosted around these themes and communities forming to engage in the space sector through a creative lens. This year, our Next Generation Plenary will focus on how students and young professionals use their creative skills to contribute artistic expression to the space sector. This can encompass functional art, literature, architecture, poetry, science communication, and more.

Are you a creative individual using your artistic skills to contribute to the space sector and to engage the broader public? A student researching how art and architecture will influence our future in space? Perhaps you are a young professional engaged in an artist-in-residency program at a commercial space company? Maybe you are leveraging creative avenues to conduct science communication? We want to share your STEAM work in space, and we encourage you to apply today!


The plenary serves to:

  • Highlight significant contributions from the next generation of students and space professionals who participate in artistic endeavors in the space sector
  • Showcase unique ways in which students and young professionals have leveraged different art forms (including literature, functional art, architecture, creative communication ) to engage the broader public with the space sector

Panelists will be selected who demonstrate outstanding existing contributions to one or more of the following categories:

  • Researching/studying how art and architecture influence the space sector
  • Utilizing creative art forms in their current work or studies geared towards the space sector
  • Demonstrating how art and creative communication endeavors can be used to engage the public with space sector initiatives

TOPIC 2 - AI4Space: Perspectives from the Next Generation

This topic aims to highlight how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming the space sector. AI can be applied to much more than imagery analysis or data processing. From mission and hardware design to navigation, communication, and operations - AI has revolutionized and disrupted the space sector today.

AI has the potential to pave the way for the design of cheaper, more resilient and lighter hardware. Smart satellites could decide for themselves where sensors and cameras should be pointed. Swarms of AI-led rovers could flexibly and autonomously explore the surface of other planets, whilst digital assistants could support astronauts in any of their tasks without active communication with Mission Control.

We are seeking to highlight the work of the next generation and how they are leveraging AI to contribute to the advancement of the space sector. Inputs from students and young professionals working on improving accessibility within the sector - and doing so by leveraging these technologies - are especially welcome.

Are you currently studying a way to crack a long-lasting problem in space with the help of AI? Is your work related to changing how space missions are designed and executed by applying Machine Learning algorithms? Are you working on the technical and legal implications of autonomous satellite operations? Do you dream of how the next wave of space activities could be unleashed by the use of AI? We would love to share your work with the wider community, showcasing you and your talent on the 2022 NextGen Plenary stage - please consider applying!


This plenary serves to:

  • Highlight significant contributions to the space sector from the next generation of students and young professionals, who are leveraging AI for their activities in the space sector
  • Showcase unique ways in which students and young professionals leverage space and space technologies using AI, changing the way humans have been conducting activities in and from space

Panelists will be selected based on the demonstration of outstanding existing contributions to one or more of the following categories:

  • Researching/studying the application of AI across the verticals of the space sector, as well as on the legal/policy aspects of their applications
  • Actively working on implementing specific AI techniques applied to space-related projects
  • Demonstrating/advocating to decision-makers for technical/scientific/legal/policy/ethical matters related to the application of AI in the space sector and for space missions

Application Process

To apply, applicants must be students or young professionals between 21 and 35 years old, as of January 1st, 2022.

Round One

Create a 15-second video telling us very briefly the subject of the project you are working on that you would speak about on the panel, and why you should be selected to address the IAC. The video must be posted on YouTube as an unlisted video (NOT private). You must be on screen and must speak for the full 15 seconds. We will only watch/listen for 15 seconds, so be sure to not exceed this amount of time! In addition to uploading your video, you must complete the Plenary Panelist Application by the deadline by filling out one of the two following forms (you cannot apply to both plenaries). Deadline for Round 1 submissions: 9 January 2022 15 January 2022 (11:59 pm GMT)

  1. Topic 1: Space and the Arts: From STEM to STEAM – Applications are closed
  2. Topic 2: AI4Space: Perspectives from the Next Generation - Apply Here!

Round Two

We will select the Round Two subset of candidates from the above and notify all entrants by 1 February 2022. Specific details of Round Two requirements will be sent to the candidates in the notification. Selected candidates will be asked to create and post a three-minute video on YouTube as an unlisted video (NOT private). Deadline for Round 2 submissions: 20 February 2021 (11:59 pm GMT).

Application Guidelines

Video Details

Please record your video in a high-quality audio and video format. If you are selected as a panelist, segments of your videos will be used during the plenary and to promote the plenary in advance. Evaluators are looking for videos that are aligned with the theme of the plenary and that incite curiosity and interest among the viewer. Please limit special effects and do not use music. The video is about you, not your video editing skills. Please do not use copyrighted video, images, or music. Make sure to publish your video on YouTube as an unlisted video (NOT private) (see How to set a video as "Unlisted")

Final Selection

We will select the finalists from these entries based on their impact, efficacy of messaging, and relevance to the plenary topics; we also take into consideration the IAF’s 3G (Geography, Gender, Generation) diversity criteria. We will be looking for concrete descriptions of how you are actively engaged with Topic 1: Space and the Arts: From STEM to STEAM OR Topic 2: AI4Space: Perspectives from the Next Generation, and why this area is vital to your work or studies. The IAF will make the final selection of plenaries for the IAC in Paris by the end of March. If you are selected for a panel, you will be coached on public speaking in preparation for the plenary including monthly meetings with the other panelists and moderator. We will notify applicants of the final outcome by April 1 2022.

Application Timeline

When What
15 January 2022 Application Deadline for Round 1
1 February 2022 Outcome Notification to Round 1 Applicants
20 February 2022 Submission Deadline for Round 2
End of March 2022 Plenary Proposal Outcome announced by IAF
1 April 2022 Final Outcome Notification to Applicants

Funding your IAC2022 attendance

Plenary participants will be responsible for finding their own sponsor(s) to cover for travel, accommodation, and conference tickets to attend IAC2022 in Paris. In addition to the obvious sources of sponsorship – yourself and your family, employer or school, and industry contacts – we want to share with you some great programs for students and young professionals that occur in conjunction with the IAC2022.

The following are all distinct programs related to the IAC:

  • The IAF Emerging Space Leaders Grant Programme. See
  • The Space Generation Advisory Committee(SGAC) provides travel scholarship opportunities for students and young professionals to attend the Space Generation Congress (SGC) and International Astronautical Congress (IAC). The SGC event is held prior to the IAC in Paris. Visit <>, and their scholarship page for more information.
  • Your national space agency and its space agency education programme. National Space Agencies provide scholarships to attend events at the IAC. You can check available scholarships here: or contact your national space agency. In particular, students from Europe, Japan, Korea, Canada and the United States are encouraged to contact their national space agency: ESA, JAXA, KARI, CSA and NASA respectively.
  • The Future Space Leaders Foundation offers grants to students and young professionals in the United States. More information can be found at

Make sure to check these scholarships ahead of time - many of them are awarded through selection processes starting in January/February 2022.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact