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SKA Observatory Unveils New Brand For A New Era

The newly born SKA Observatory (SKAO) has unveiled its brand following approval by the SKAO Council at its second meeting.

Published by the editorial team, 4 May 2021

The brand launch signals a new chapter in the SKA Project’s history, after the SKAO officially came into being as an intergovernmental organisation on 15 January 2021. Following several years of design work, the newly created Observatory will oversee the construction and operation of two telescopes over the next decade. The SKAO’s telescopes will be the two most advanced radio telescope networks on Earth and promise to answer fundamental questions about the Universe.

A detailed Brand Book outlines the Observatory’s vision, its mission and the values that define its identity and make it unique: diversity and inclusion, excellence, collaboration, creativity and innovation, and sustainability, as well as the logo and visual identity that stem from these. The SKAO’s mission is to build and operate cutting-edge radio telescopes to transform our understanding of the Universe, and deliver benefits to society through global collaboration and innovation.

These guiding principles will lead the delivery of the Project, but also how the Observatory conducts its activities and relationships with its many stakeholders.

“The SKAO brand unveiled today befits the scale and ambition of the SKA Project, and defines our vision for our impact on the world, our mission as a world-leading Observatory, and our core values,” says SKAO Director-General Prof. Philip Diamond. “All these elements will guide us as we embark on this exciting new decade for the project towards delivering world-class science that will transform our understanding of the Universe.”

“The launch of the new SKAO Brand is an important step in the development of the SKA project. It unifies and supports the multinational endeavour to build the most sensitive radio telescope in a collaboration that far exceeds the capacity of the individual countries,” says Dr. Michiel van Haarlem, Head of the NL SKA Office at ASTRON in the Netherlands.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands congratulates the SKA Observatory for completing the transition into the intergovernmental organisation of SKAO. The new, distinctive and impressive brand highlights this important milestone. Building the largest radio telescope in the world is highly important for The Netherlands. As the minister for Education, Culture and Science, Ingrid van Engelshoven, says: “We are investing 39 million Euros in the project, and that investment will generate unique knowledge for our society, but also employment, activity for our industry and innovation. For example, in the fields of IT and sustainable energy. The Netherlands will also strengthen its leading position in science worldwide.”

The current SKA brand was developed in 2011 when the SKA Organisation was formed to oversee the pre-construction activities for the SKA Project. It was itself a modernisation of the original SKA brand developed in 2001 from a community competition. These two decades of work have seen the SKA Project grow monumentally in scope and ambition and go through two major changes, from a community-driven and scientist-led collaboration of institutes to a company backed by funding agencies and now to an intergovernmental organisation established and funded by sovereign states, amongst which The Netherlands. The SKAO now joins a select group of intergovernmental organisations dedicated to fundamental research, and is only the second such organisation to be dedicated to astronomy. The brand launch coincides with the official transition of the current entity (the SKA Organisation) from a limited company to an intergovernmental organisation on 1 May.

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