Kiwi researchers secure leading role in SKA project

  • Steven Joyce
Science and Innovation

Two New Zealand research groups have secured prominent positions in one of the world’s largest and most ambitious science projects – the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced today.

AUT University and Victoria University of Wellington will lead two work areas in the pre-construction of the SKA. These two areas are in the Central Signal Processor and the Science Data Processor work packages, working alongside other New Zealand experts.

“The SKA is a global effort to create the biggest and most technologically advanced radio telescope ever built. It will enable astronomers to monitor the sky in unprecedented detail and survey the entire sky thousands of times faster than any system currently in existence,” Mr Joyce says.

“While this is a radio astronomy project, one of its exciting features is that the quantity of information that will be gathered by this instrument will be massive; it requires major leaps in information and communication technology to manage, store and interpret the data.

“One of the encouraging features of the SKA project is that a project of this size and complexity can only be achieved through collaboration which will develop and deepen our international linkages.

“The work with international groups is exciting – more than 350 scientists and engineers, from 18 countries, and from more than 100 institutions will be involved.  This is an unprecedented opportunity for New Zealand to showcase our expertise in ICT and software development.

“The Government is investing a total of $1.717 million for this project, with New Zealand institutions providing matching contributions, totalling more than $2.17 million over three years.

“During the SKA’s three-year design phase a significant number of New Zealand organisations will be involved including the University of Auckland, Massey University, Victoria University Wellington, Callaghan Innovation, Compucon New Zealand, University of Otago, IBM, Green Button and Open Parallel.”

More information on the Square Kilometre Array project is available at: