The International centre for Radio Astronomy Research, or ICRAR, had its official launch in Perth on 1 September 2009. The centre is a joint venture between Curtin University of Technology and The University of Western Australia (UWA) and is sponsored by the State Government with strong collaborative support from partners such as CSIRO and iVEC.
With standing room only in the 300-seat capacity auditorium of UWA’s University Club, the Centre launched to a veritable buzz of excitement as the West Australian Premier, Colin Barnett, the State Treasurer, Minister Troy Buswell, Prof. Richard Schilizzi, Director of the international SKA Program Development Office, Lyn Beazley, WA’s Chief Scientist and the Hon Gary Gray, representing Federal Science Minister Kim Carr, delivered the offical proceedings.
Tasked with playing a pivotal role in Australia's effort to secure the $2.5 billion Square Kilometre Array (SKA), ICRAR will attract more than 30 new international astronomers, scientists and experts in related fields.
The Centre is being led by some of Australia’s most eminent astronomers from the two universities. They include Director Professor Peter Quinn and Deputy-Directors Professors Steven Tingay, Lister Staveley-Smith and Peter Hall. Quinn, Tingay and Staveley-Smith are Premier’s Fellows and Hall is Australia’s only Professor of Radio Astronomy Engineering.
SPDO Director Richard Schilizzi said the centre shows that the infrastructure for radio astronomy in Australia is very strong.
WA Premier Colin Barnett said ‘ICRAR would show Australia and the state were capable of delivering world-class technology and facilities’ and ‘create opportunities for local industry to participate in the wider SKA project.’