A number of design concepts for the SKA are now in the pathfinder and demonstration phase; the final SKA
SKA industry interaction basics
The international SKA project, and its associated national and regional consortia programs, welcomes interest from potential industry partners. In general terms any joint research and development is viewed as a shared-risk endeavour, with SKA consortia and industry each contributing to defined activities. In some countries industry may benefit from offset or government funding programs. The SKA Organisation is currently preparing a formal policy for intellectual property (IP) management intellectual property. Broadly, industry partners exploit their own IP contributions in arenas outside the SKA project but innovations are generally available to the SKA project free of any licensing charge.
Advantages of early stage collaboration
Some benefits of joint R&D with the SKA community are:
- The opportunity to grow and hone the creative energies of the best professionals in an imaginative project whose aim is no less than to chart the history of the Universe;
- The ability to perfect leading-edge techniques and products in a very demanding application and to interact with highly technologically sophisticated users;
- The ability to generate and share information with other R&D partners – both institutional and industrial – in a benign and commercially non-threatening environment;
- The visibility flowing from association with an innovative, high profile, international mega-science project; and
- The potential for early involvement and favourable positioning in a €1.5 billion project spanning a wide range of engineering and computing disciplines.
Stages in engagement
The SKA project plan contains a number of key dates, each of which is relevant to commercial entities interested in the project. A list of dates and potential opportunities around these times is shown in the table below.
|2009||The two precursor (SKA demonstrator) sites issue contracts for early infrastructure deployment.||Western Australia (ASKAP), and South Africa (MeerKAT).|
|2009||Concept definition stage for various technical domains in SPDO design costing.||Antennas, Signal Transport, Signal processing, Software and Computing.|
|2010-11||Pathfinder and precursor groups develop and test new technologies. Precursors continue deployment.||LOFAR, MWA, FAST, ATA, EVLA, eEVN, eMERLIN.|
|2012||SPDO finalises baseline design and costed system.
Site recommendation by the SSEC.
|Partly based on input and experience from industry.|
|2013-15||Detailed SKA design and production engineering.||Tooling, prototype and fabrication opportunities.|
|2015||Construction of on-site mid-frequency aperture array demonstrator.||Industry participation in infrastructure provision, and instrument design and construction.|
|2016-19||Construction of SKA.||Maximum industry involvement at levels of final design, project management, and construction contracts and sub-contracts.|
|2019||SKA Phase 1 operational.||Industry opportunities in commissioning, operations and maintenance.|
|2020||SKA Phase 1 complete.||Continuing operations and maintenance role for industry.|
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