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SKA Communications and Outreach Network

SKA Communications and Outreach Network (SKACON)

The SKA Communications and Outreach Network (SKACON) is composed of communications, outreach and education professionals in SKA partner countries (includes member and prospective member countries) who serve as liaison with the SKA Organisation Communications team on matters of communications, outreach, stakeholder engagement. They also act as local contacts for the media in connection with SKA developments, media requests, press releases, etc. At the same time, they may help to provide useful contacts between the media as well as SKA-related scientists and engineers in their respective country. The SKACON members either belong to the institution which represents a member country in the SKA Board or are strongly connected to such institution and the national players (media, academia, etc.). In certain cases, when several institutions in the country are involved in the SKA, several representatives per country can be allowed. The SKACON members are designated by the Board members in their respective countries. The SKACON aims to be an evolving entity, open to science communicators from countries which are not yet member countries of the SKA.

Specific tasks for SKACON members include:

By being part of the SKACON, members agree to dedicate time and undertake the following:

  • Take part in monthly catch-up calls and other meetings as much as possible
  • Act as local contacts for media
  • Make sure national SKA-related materials and resources are up-to-date and shared within the SKACON.
  • Ensure that the SKA Communications Strategy and the SKA Brand is adhered to and properly used.
  • Work with the SKA Organisation to develop the international communications and outreach strategy.
  • Update the other SKACON members on activities, news and potential issues
  • Adapt generated material to their audiences: this includes translating material (where relevant), adapting it by focusing on topics of interest, highlighting local aspect, etc.

The SKA Director of Communications, Outreach and Education supervises the SKACON. The SKACON convenes in person every 2 or 3 years. Regular communication and interaction amongst the SKACON members is done through an email exploder and, and via monthly teleconferences organised by the SKACON’s vice-chair.

SKACON Steering Committee (SKACOSC)

The SKACON has its Steering Committee (SKACOSC, “SC” or Comms SC), chaired by the SKA Director of Communications, Outreach and Education, co-chaired by the SKA Organisation Deputy Communications and Outreach Manager, and comprising one representative per member country.

The main objective of the SC is to ensure high-level coordination, management, planning and control of the global SKA communications strategy. To achieve this, all SC members agree to communicate regularly about their own strategies, activities and plans, and share material for re-use by the other partners. Each member is requested to collaborate and contribute resources and expertise and all members agree to work together wherever possible.

The SC convenes quarterly teleconferences and a face-to-face meeting, at least once a year and on an ad-hoc basis as deemed necessary by the SC members. Other persons may be invited to attend meetings of the SC at the invitation of the SC members.

The fundamental aims of the SC are to achieve consensus where possible, avoid duplication of work where our aims and activities coincide, and promote one another’s mutual success, maintaining productive relationships and goodwill. SC members will also be involved in monitoring the use of the SKA brand.  

Members of the SKACON and SC are listed in the table below (in bold are SC members).

Name Institution Country
William Garnier – Chair SKAO SKAO GHQ
Mathieu Isidro – Vice Chair SKAO SKAO GHQ
Cassandra Cavallaro SKAO SKAO GHQ
Pran Govender SKAO SKAO GHQ
Bob Eccles Department of Industry Australia
Kirsten Fredericksen CSIRO Australia
Pete Wheeler ICRAR Australia
Kathryn MacLeod NRC Canada
Shui Min SKA China Office China
Yang Jie SKA China Office China
Léa Fournier Maison SKA France France
Frank Bigiel Bonn University Germany
Cosima Eibensteiner Bonn University Germany
Norbert Junkes MPIfR Germany
Tirth Choudhury NCRA India
Daria Guidetti INAF Italy
Eleonora Ferroni INAF Italy
Kenji Hasegawa Nagoya University Japan
Toshihiro Handa Kagoshima University Japan
Frank Nuijens ASTRON the Netherlands
Elise Brouwer ASTRON the Netherlands
Alice Spruit ASTRON the Netherlands
Herminia Saraiva PT Space Portugal
Sonia Anton University of Coimbra Portugal
Domingos Barbosa Instituto de Telecomunicações Portugal
Khulu Phasiwe SARAO South Africa
Anton Binneman SARAO South Africa
Julián Garrido IAA (CSIC) Spain
Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro IAA (CSIC) Spain
Marcos Villaverde IAA (CSIC) Spain
Julio Gallardo IAA (CSIC) Spain
Robert Cumming OSO Sweden
Hanna Sathiapal FHNW Switzerland
Hamsa Padmanabhan UniGE Switzerland
Emma Tolley EPFL Switzerland
Deborah Smith STFC United Kingdom
Jake Gilmore STFC United Kingdom
Becky Parker-Ellis STFC United Kingdom
Dan Hillier STFC United Kingdom
Samantha Firth STFC United Kingdom
Hilary Kay University of Manchester United Kingdom

Working Groups

To enhance implementation and coordination of transversal projects with global reach and potential local implications, the SKACON includes various Working Groups (WG). These WGs intend to make the best use of the different level of expertise amongst SKACON members. The scope of the WGs is to focus on specific initiatives within a defined theme, to assess the potential impact of proposed initiatives against the available resources across the partnership’s communications offices, and to make recommendations to the SC. The objective of these WGs is to ensure the communications and outreach projects to be undertaken at a global level have the maximum impact vs. available resources ratio. Current WGs include:

Evaluation WG (Chair: William Garnier) to define and develop metrics mechanisms to better assess the impact and efficiency of current and future projects both using a qualitative and quantitative approach.
Visitor Centre WG (Chair: vacant) to provide best practice and key messages to be used in all visitor centres including SKA content, both in host countries and non-host countries.
Virtual Reality WG (Chair: Mathieu Isidro) to coordinate the development of VR between the SKA countries, share resources and materials developped and ensure complementarity between the different apps/platforms.
Other WGs under consideration include a SKA Ambassador Programme WG and a Education Programmes WG. These WGs shall include members of the SKACON and can also include outsiders whose expertise is relevant for the WG in question.