Brussels, 18 July 2014: The South African Delegation visited the Netherlands on 14-18 July 2014 with the aim of further strengthening partnerships in Astronomy and Big Data.
During the visit the delegates discussed the existing collaborations between the Netherlands and South Africa, as well as explored possible extensions in the context of the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE), the European VLBI Network (EVN), the African VLBI Network (AVN) and MeerKAT and LOFAR radio telescopes. Other new challenges in the areas of mutual interest also formed an important part of the discussions.
The delegation also dedicated attention to AERAP - and its latest progress in harnessing research and technological advances in Africa and Europe through radio astronomy cooperation - in their discussion with the representatives of IBM, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON), Groningen University and JIVE.
The meetings further confirmed that within the context of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), both the Netherlands and South Africa have a strong interest in Astronomy and Big Data driven scientific research.
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The African-European Radio Astronomy Platform (AERAP)
The African European Radio Astronomy Platform (AERAP) was launched in May 2012 as a response to Written Declaration 45/2011 on “Science Capacity Building in Africa: promoting European-African radio astronomy partnerships”, which was adopted by the European Parliament on 15 March 2012 and which recognised the value of research infrastructures in facilitating cooperation with Africa, promoting human capital development and addressing societal challenges.
AERAP’s main objectives are to 1) harness research and technological advances through radio astronomy cooperation, 2) facilitate high-level interaction with policy and decision-makers of the European Union and African Union and their Member States regarding radio astronomy cooperation, 3) promote science capacity building as a tool for competitiveness and 4) improve knowledge transfer between industry/SMEs and academia.
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 Southern Africa and Australia. 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 kilometer.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit the website of the SKA Organisation: www.skatelescope.org