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SKA South Africa encourages participation in the Square Kilometre Array engineering design

5 April 2013, Johannesburg, South Africa -  SKA South Africa today announced that South African industry and institutions with appropriate existing expertise may be eligible for financial assistance on a shared cost, shared risk basis towards participation in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) design phase, extending to 2016.

“The SKA is an iconic and global science project and we are excited to be able to assist local industry and institutions with appropriate skills in participation in the initial design phase” said Dr Jasper Horrell, General Manager: Science Computing and Innovation at SKA SA. “This involvement should serve to strengthen the global competitiveness of local organisations in high tech domains, focused on the SKA, but extending beyond radio astronomy”.

Expressions of Interest are invited from registered South African organisations wishing to participate as partners in the SKA South Africa response to the Request for Proposal for the Pre-Construction Phase of the SKA project. Financial assistance for local organisations is being targeted in the areas of Dishes, Central Signal Processor (correlator/beamformer), Science Data Processor and Signal & Data Transport and Synchronisation & Timing. Instructions for registering interest and pre-qualification application forms for financial assistance are available from public.ska.ac.za/industry. Organisations must respond before 17h00 on 22 April 2013 (SAST).

SKA South Africa will facilitate the introduction of programme partners into the appropriate work package consortia.

The International Square Kilometre Array Organisation (SKAO) issued a Request for Proposals (RfP) during March 2013 for participation in the SKA Pre-Construction Phase (until 2016). Formal responses are due by 10 June 2013. Details of the RfP call are available here.

For more information on the bid process and work package areas: Organisations fitting participation criteria are encouraged to attend the SKA South Africa Information Day to be hosted at 13h30 on the 12th April 2013 at the SKA SA Johannesburg and Cape Town offices, linked via telecon, for further discussions and information dissemination on the bid process, work package areas and the associated financial assistance programme. In order to attend the Information Day, please RSVP by 3 pm on Tuesday 9th April to industry@ska.ac.za and note that places may be limited.

About the SKA
The Square Kilometre Array will be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. The total collecting area will be approximately one square kilometre giving 50 times the sensitivity, and 10 000 times the survey speed, of the best current-day telescopes. The SKA will be built in Southern Africa and in Australia. Thousands of receptors will extend to distances of 3 000 km from the central regions. The SKA will address fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe including how the first stars and galaxies formed after the big bang, how dark energy is accelerating the expansion of the Universe, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and the search for life beyond Earth. Construction of phase one of the SKA is scheduled to start in 2016. The SKA Organisation, with its headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Manchester, UK, was established in December 2011 as a not-for-profit company in order to formalise relationships between the international partners and centralise the leadership of the project.

Members of the SKA Organisation as of March 2013:

  • Australia: Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
  • Canada: National Research Council
  • China: Ministry of Science and Technology
  • Germany: Federal Ministry of Education and Research
  • Italy: National Institute for Astrophysics
  • Netherlands: Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research
  • New Zealand: Ministry of Economic Development
  • Republic of South Africa: National Research Foundation
  • Sweden: Onsala Space Observatory
  • United Kingdom: Science and Technology Facilities Council

Associate member:

  • India: National Centre for Radio Astrophysics

SKA website: www.skatelescope.org

Media contact for this release:
Carla Sharpe, Business Development Manager. Office number: 021 506 7300. Email: carla@ska.ac.za

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