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African-European Radio Astronomy Platform: Leveraging objectives of the European Parliament's Written Declaration 45/2011

Submitter: Arnold van Ardenne
Description: Following a landmark decision by the European Parliament, to ask the international astronomy community to promote African-European radio astronomy collaborations, a workshop was held in Brussels on 29 May, 2012.

During the workshop recent policy developments in EU-Africa cooperation were presented, such as a European Parliament Written Declaration and an African Union Assembly Decision, which endorsed radio astronomy as a priority focus area for Africa-EU cooperation. Discussions focused on how the radio astronomy community could best leverage Africa-EU funding opportunities resulting from this favourable policy environment for scientific and education cooperation. This includes researcher mobility and student and staff exchange programmes, as well as industrial partnerships in areas such as ICT, energy and advanced manufacturing.

Dr. Michiel van Haarlem, Interim Director General of the SKA Organisation: "We are looking forward to working together with African colleagues on the SKA. This will be part of a global collaboration with African countries, Australia and New Zealand."

Prof. George Miley, Vice President of the International Astronomical Union and International Coordinator of the EU Universe Awareness project: "Astronomy is a unique instrument for development. It links cutting edge technologies, frontier sciences and our deepest cultural layers. South Africa has been a role model for the International Astronomical Union in exploiting astronomy for capacity building. A large part of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will be built in Africa. This will be an enormous iconic project for Africa, Europe and World and an enormous boost for capability-building in Africa".

Of course, there is more, including the collaboration of the African Array with JIVE (see AJDI dated June 1, 2012) and a possible URSI-IEEE European-African conference.

The workshop was closed by Mr. Daan du Toit, the South African Department of Science and Technology's representative office in Brussels, announcing the launch of the African-European Radio Astronomy Platform (AERAP) to further the collaboration.
Copyright: ASPO, with text from the media release distributed by SKA SA on behalf of AERAP
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