|Description:|| The European Square Kilometre Array Consortium (ESKAC) met at the INAF Head Quarters in Rome last week. With the SKA becoming an increasingly important force in radio astronomy, the role of ESKAC will need to grow in order to ensure that Europe contributes to the international project in a coherent and co-ordinated way. A small executive was unanimously elected at the meeting in Rome with Thijs van der Hulst (Groningen) serving as the ESKAC chair, ably supported by Steve Rawlings (Oxford) and Wim van Driel (Obs de Paris) - as vice-chairs (the image above presents the ESKAC members and several distinguished observers/guests). |
ESKAC will organise the European financial contribution to the SKA Project Developement Office (SPDO) in Manchester with JIVE acting as the banker (with the support of ASTRON FZ). ESKAC will also elect European members to the SSEC (SKA Science & Engineering Committee) and promote various scientific, technical and policy developments in Europe that will form a major contribution to the global SKA project.
During the meeting, Arnold van Ardenne (ASTRON) and Peter Wilkinson (JBCfA) presented the case for the development of a new post-SKADS Aperture Array "readiness demonstrator", for which national funding will be sought under the over-arching umbrella and co-ordination of ESKAC. This was very much welcomed by the consortium partners, and is seen as a natural step beyond EMBRACE and 2PAD, and an essential development towards the inclusion of Aperture Array systems as a vital component of the SKA Phase 1 facility.