The SKA Global Headquarters, located near to, and with views of the iconic Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Manchester, UK, will be the home of the SKA Observatory, the intergovernmental organisation set up to build and operate the Square Kilometre Array, the world’s largest radio telescope. Home to some 135 staff from around the world, it will be tasked with managing the construction and remotely monitoring the operation of the telescope, itself located in southern Africa and Western Australia.
The process for selecting the permanent headquarters began in 2014 when, following an agreed plan, members of SKA Organisation were invited to submit bids. Two bids were received, from Italy and the United Kingdom, both of which were judged to be excellent and both suitable for the project’s needs. After thorough consideration, the Members of the SKA Organisation expressed their preference for the United Kingdom’s Jodrell Bank site as the future home for the SKA headquarters, thanks to the strong package offered by the UK government.
The UK plan, backed by the UK government via the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the University of Manchester and Cheshire East Council, as well as Oxford and Cambridge Universities, envisages designing and constructing a unique campus for one of the most inspirational science projects of the 21st Century. The headquarters will be constructed to meet the needs of the SKA project and there is space to grow if the project requires it in the future.
Early works are due to start in December 2016 and construction is expected to last around 12 months. A webpage with more information about the building is available here.