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Announcement: AERAP Diplomatic Networking Event

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Brussels, September 19, 2013: The African-European Radio Astronomy Platform (AERAP) is organizing a Diplomatic Networking Event to be held on October 1, 2013 in Brussels.

Since the European Parliament’s adoption of Written Declaration 45 on “Science Capacity Building in Africa: promoting European-African radio astronomy partnerships” in March of 2012 which led to the establishment of the African-European Radio Astronomy Platform (AERAP) in May of 2012, AERAP has organised several stakeholder consultations and workshops to advance radio astronomy cooperation between Africa and Europe.  

These facilitated networking between potential partners and laid the ground for the AERAP Framework Programme for Cooperation which proposes a multitude of African-European radio astronomy projects. Many of these project ideas will be realised within the framework of Horizon 2020, Development Cooperation Instruments (DCIs) and the European Development Fund (EDF).

The overall goal of AERAP is to advance scientific discovery, improve knowledge and stimulate competitiveness across both continents. 
The AERAP Diplomatic Networking Event will be an opportunity for participants to meet members of the African diplomatic community and to learn more about Africa’s efforts towards science capacity building. 

The Networking Event will be held on October 1, 2013 in Brussels which will include a presentation on AERAP and the Framework Programme for Cooperation and speeches from several MEPs.

Over the past year AERAP’s focus has been on the development of the “AERAP Framework Programme for Cooperation”, which will present a comprehensive agenda for advancing radio astronomy partnership between Africa and Europe. It seeks to mobilize AERAP’s key stakeholders on both continents to join forces in advancing scientific cooperation and human capital development thus leveraging the socio-economic benefits of radio astronomy investments.

The Programme identifies opportunities for cooperation in thematic priorities such as scientific research cooperation and instrumentation development, research infrastructure investments, ICT and big data, renewable energy solutions for radio astronomy, human capital development and astronomy as tool for science education.

Those invited to the Diplomatic Networking Event include: MEPs, Ambassadors and science councillors of African embassies in Brussels, mainly from the African countries participating in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project (South Africa, Botswana, Madagascar, Namibia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Kenya, Zambia and Ghana) as well as the African VLBI Network (AVN).

There is a strong rationale for Europe to take part in this process since European scientists will greatly benefit from the new observation capacities and vast range of business opportunities also for European industry will be provided.


The Networking Event Details:

Date: October 1, 2013

Time: 18h30 – 20h00

Location: the Hotel Leopold-Rue du Luxembourg 35, 1050, Brussels


Media Enquiries

Svea Miesch

ISC Intelligence in Science

Email: svea.miesch@iscintelligence.com

Tel: +32 2 8888 100



Jessica Hadjis

ISC Intelligence in Science

Email: jessica.hadjis@iscintelligence.com

Phone: +32 2 88 88 100

Mob: +32 487 163 107


Editor’s Note

The African-European Radio Astronomy Platform (AERAP)
AERAP  is a response to the calls of the European Parliament, through the adoption of the Written Declaration 45/2011, and of the Heads of State of the African Union, through their decision “Assembly/AU/Dec.407 CXVIII”, for radio astronomy to be a priority focus area for Africa—EU cooperation. AERAP is a new stakeholder forum of industry, academia and the public sector established to define and implement priorities for radio astronomy cooperation between Africa and Europe. The overall goals of the platform are to leverage radio astronomy, advance scientific discovery, improve knowledge transfer and stimulate competitiveness across both continents. The platform will also enable effective dialogue to build a shared vision for international cooperation in radio astronomy.

Further information on AERAP: www.aerap.org


The Square Kilometre Array (SKA)

SKA is a global science and engineering project led by the SKA Organisation, a not-for-profit company with its headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Manchester, UK. The SKA will address fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe including how the first stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang, how galaxies have evolved since then, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and the search for life beyond Earth. 

Thousands of linked radio wave receptors will be located in Australia and in Southern Africa. Combining the signals from the antennas in each region will create a telescope with a collecting area equivalent to a dish with an area of about one square kilometre.

Members of the SKA Organisation are Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Republic of South Africa, Sweden and United Kingdom. India is an associate member.

For further information: please contact William Garnier, Chief Communications Officer of the SKA Organisation (w.garnier@skatelescope.org)

or visit the website of the SKA Organisation: www.skatelescope.org


VLBI network to be deployed across Africa

An African radio telescope network would fill in a major gap in the global VLBI network and that is what South Africa and its SKA partner countries are working towards. Such a network will also boost engineering and science skills development across the continent.

There are at least 26 satellite ground segment dishes, possibly more, spread out over Africa which could become a part of this new VLBI network.

Further information: http://www.ska.ac.za/newsletter/issues/14/12.php