AARNet-led bid wins funding to help design world’s largest radio telescope

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The Australian Government has made almost $19 million available to Australian organisations to help design the ground-breaking international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project.

Recipients of this funding are AARNet, CSIRO, RPC Technologies, International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (Curtin University of Technology), Aurecon Australia, Cisco Systems Australia and Swinburne University.

Co-hosted in Australia and South Africa, the SKA will be the world’s largest radio telescope. It is being funded by countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas as well as Australia and New Zealand.

“This is a gigantic international science project that will change the way astronomy is done world-wide, and it will be co-hosted here in Australia,” Minister for Science and Research Senator Don Farrell said.

“These grants will help Australian organisations to win the opportunity to work with leading international players on the design of the SKA and, by doing so, demonstrate our world-class research and development capabilities.”

This funding is to support AARNet, CSIRO and CISCO Systems Australia in the consortium, led by the University of Manchester, which is seeking to undertake the design of the SKA’s Signal and Data Transport network.

AARNet and CSIRO have worked together to design, build and operate the network infrastructure to support ASKAP and the Murchison Widefield Array.

AARNet’s contribution will be in the areas of network infrastructure and transmission technology for the Australian components of the SKA, with a particular emphasis on integration with the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP).

Other international partners in the consortium include SKA South Africa, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (India), the University of Aveiro (Portugal) and the University of Granada (Spain).

All the grants are conditional upon the recipients being selected by the international SKA Organisation to undertake SKA work packages, worth around $114 million. An announcement of the successful tenderers will be made later this year.

By awarding these grants, the Government has secured more than $17.5 million in co-investment from the successful organisations.

Importantly, the funding will go beyond the recipients and support collaborative activity with other Australian companies – activity that will engage a breadth of industry from manufacturing to renewable energy.

View full details of all the recipients and work-packages

View media release from the Office of the Minister for Science and Research

Learn more about the Square Kilometre Array

Visit CSIRO’s Australian Telescope National Facility website

Visit the SKA Australia website

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