The SKA takes off with a €143M contribution from the UK

News from the 12th SKA Board of Directors Meeting: UK Science Minister, the Rt Hon David Willetts, announced funding of £100M (€120M) for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. STFC also confirmed that it is investing £19M (€23M) over the next four years in the SKA project, raising the total amount contributed to €143M.

UK Science Minister David Willetts speaking at Jodrell Bank Observatory announcing £100M in funding for the SKA

On 11th March, the CEO of the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC), presidents of the University of Manchester, IBM and other industry representatives, representatives from all 11 member countries, including China, attended the SKA Board of Directors meeting. Representatives from Spain, Portugal and other members of the EU witnessed the first investment in SKA construction. BBC and other news media outlets broadcasted it live and reported on it.

There are two phases in the construction of SKA, which are SKA1 (2018-2023) and SKA2 (2024-). Now there are 10 full member countries and 1 associate member country in the SKA Organisation (SKAO), and more member states are also expected to join in the effort. SKA1 has been cost-capped at €650M, which is 10% of SKA’s budget.

Minister Willetts declared that the SKA is the world’s next great science project after the International Space Station and the Large Hadron Collider. Prof. Phil Diamond, Director General of the SKA Organisation, emphasized that with such a major investment secured from the UK government, there was no stopping the SKA project.

For more details please see the SKA website

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