Construction of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope will require a concerted international effort spanning over more than a decade. There will be a range of opportunities for Australian and New Zealand industry and research organisations to take part in the various phases of R&D, planning and construction – and finally in operating and maintaining the telescope over its planned 50 year lifespan.
The SKA is currently in the ‘pre-construction’ phase, which involves the detailed system design and technology development work needed for the SKA to be 'construction ready'. During this phase, the system and sub-system designs, verification instruments, implementation plans and other documentation needed for SKA construction will be developed. The work will be split into a number of 'work packages' which will be undertaken by consortia of international industry bodies and research agencies and the SKA Office, which is based in the United Kingdom.
Please note that generally speaking the SKA project is not procuring actual construction, manufacturing services or components at this stage. It is expected that such commercial opportunities will be offered during the construction phases of the project which are likely to start around 2017.
Australian SKA Pre-Construction Grants Program
The Australian Government will provide $18.8 million over four years in grant funding to support the involvement of Australian organisations in the SKA Pre-Construction Phase through the SKA Pre-Construction Grants Program. The funding provided under the Program will assist Australian Organisations participate as members of consortia in responding to the Request for Proposals exercise conducted by the SKA Organisation. Applications for funding under the Program closed on 15 April 2013 and the outcomes were announced on 28 May 2013.
Request for Proposals
On 13 March 2013 (Australian time), the SKA Organisation released its Request for Proposals (RfP), inviting industry bodies and research organisations to participate in the design of the SKA telescope. The deadline to submit responses to the RfP was 10 June 2013. The RfP and accompanying documentation can be downloaded here from the SKA Organisation’s website.
Expressions of Interest
The Australian and New Zealand Governments separately conducted Expression of Interest (EOI) processes to identify organisations within each country interested in participating in the pre-construction project. The objective of the EOI process was for organisations to identify specific capabilities and resources potentially available to contribute to pre-construction work. Please note that responses did not constitute a proposal to undertake work.
A summary of the responses provided under the Australian EOI process can be downloaded from the EOI Responses page.
Information on the New Zealand EOI process can be viewed at the New Zealand Opportunities page.
Please contact one of the following email addresses if you would like to receive updates on the pre-construction project or if you have general enquiries about the SKA and the pre-construction project: