Brussels/Stockholm, August 29, 2014: The Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa to Sweden, H.E. Ms Mandisa Marasha, together with Professor John Conway, Onsala Space Observatory and Representatives of the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, will host a Roundtable Discussion on industrial opportunities within the SKA on September 9, 2014.
The goal of the meeting will be to discuss the potential benefits of involvement of Swedish industry in technology and infrastructure for SKA and discuss further steps to realise this involvement.
The SKA is one of the most visionary and ambitious science projects of the 21st century, involving partners across five continents. SKA is huge in scope and will eventually comprise thousands of individual radio antennas/dishes spread over thousands of kilometers.
As the first large scale science infrastructure to be sited in Africa, the SKA provides unique opportunities for high-tech development. By engaging young people it provides powerful impetus for science and engineering education in Africa.
The science needs to drive technology development in antennas, Big Data and exaR08;scale computing, with these developments being guaranteed to have broader societal impact.
The total construction of the first phase of the SKA will cost €650M with the final cost for the full SKA being over €2 billion. As a partner in the construction project Sweden will be guaranteed industrial return, which can be in both specific technology areas and in site infrastructure.
The meeting will include a welcome from the Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa, Ms Mandisa Marasha, as well as an introduction and description of the goals of the meeting by Kjell Möller, Chair Onsala Space Observatory Steering Committee.
There will also be a presentation on the African-European Radio Astronomy Platform (AERAP) supporting mutually beneficial Africa-EU radio astronomy R&D cooperation by Declan Kirrane, Managing Director of ISC in Brussels.
Other speakers include Dr Simon Berry, Head of Policy, SKA Organisation Headquarters, Jodrell Bank, UK; and Dr Alistair McPherson, Head of Project, SKA Organisation Headquarters Jodrell Bank.
The meeting will also highlight the SKA’s potential in breakthroughs in information technology that will impact medical, environmental, societal, defence, commercial and resource sectors.
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The Square Kilometre Array (SKA)
The eleven nations that presently comprise the SKA Organisation (SKAO) are Australia, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden and the UK. Half of the G8 countries and eight of the G20 are currently involved in the SKA project. Several countries are in active discussion about joining the organisation.
SKAO is charged with coordinating the design for the SKA Observatory. The SKAO is currently headquartered in a new, purposeR08;built office at Jodrell Bank in the UK, though the Observatory itself will operate in two southern hemisphere sites, in Africa and Australia. The SKAO members have already committed funding (over €120M) for the design phase which is underway and due to be complete in 2016.
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 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.