Newton STFC-NARIT Capacity Building for Thai Radio Astronomy

Lead Research Organisation: University of Hertfordshire
Department Name: School of Physics, Astronomy and Maths

Abstract

Thailand is planning a major investment in radio astronomy, with the development of a new 40m diameter radio telescope over the next 5 years (the Thai National Radio Observatory). This facility is a strategic priority for Thai research as radio astronomy incorporates many key skills of value to a developing knowledge economy (engineering, electronics, information technology, computational and communications technology). However the project comes with significant human capacity and skills development challenges in that currently Thailand has few radio astronomers or engineers who can design, construct and operate the telescope. Our project is designed to address these challenges using the UK's long heritage and highly developed skills in radio astronomy. The UK has a leadership role in the world's next generation radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array, and so places a high strategic priority on the global development of radio astronomy and the training of future generations of radio astronomers who will exploit this long-term project.

We will partner with the Thai astronomical and technical community to transfer specific technical knowledge of radio astronomy instrumentation and to also bolster the Thai astronomical skill base. We will carry out a joint programme programme of training, targeted outreach to undergraduates, and bilateral exchanges to strengthen the Thai radio astronomy community and develop skilled human capital via training in radio astronomy, required computer skills and instrumentation. Our programme will not only help to develop the skills that Thailand needs for the Thai National Radio Observatory but will also have impact on the wider economy through the development of skilled graduates and postgraduates in electronics, information & communications technology and advanced data processing.

Planned Impact

The ultimate goal of this proposal is to drive economic impact in Thailand through the development of highly skilled STEM graduates and undergraduates. Astronomy has a long tradition of inspiring generations of students to take up science and technology studies. The fundamental questions of the Universe that are posed by astronomy encourage students to develop an inquisitive mindset and wide-ranging problem solving skills, combined with training in presentation, investigation, numeracy, analysis and computation. Following their studies many astronomy students then go on to apply these high level skills to other areas of the wider knowledge-based economy. This is particularly true of radio astronomy, where technological developments in radio interferometry were applied to solve the problems of wireless communication between computers, ultimately resulting in WiFi.

This proposal has significant scope for further impact due to the number of students that we will reach: approximately 500 students will receive seminars from UK and Thai academics, culminating in advanced skills transfer to 20 undergraduate students during a summer school. Furthermore we will also explore methods and collaboration in reaching further generations of students through outreach staff exchanges. The direct technical skills required to construct advanced instrumentation (e.g. in heterodyne receiver design and low noise amplifiers) will be developed through technical staff visits to the UK. Scientific collaboration between UK and Thai radio astronomers will be built up through mutual visits. We see this project as setting the initial stage for future UK-Thai cooperation in radio astronomy, and as a result providing the pull-through factor to increase STEM education in Thailand and the depth of international cooperation in the UK. Both of these are strategic priorities for each country.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Our grant was to build capacity in radio astronomy within Thailand through cooperation with the UK. Thai engineers and scientists have visited the UK on multiple occasions to carry out joint research projects in radio astronomy (pulsars and masers) and instrumentation (Low Noise Amplifiers, Receiver construction). We have successfully built capacity in Thailand and have contributed to STEM recruitment through a campaign of seminars and a Summer School in Radio Astronomy.
Exploitation Route Our findings will be taken forward in the continuation of this project over the next two years.
Sectors Electronics,Other

 
Description We have contributed to STEM recruitment in Thailand through a targeted programme of seminars and a summer school for Thai undergraduates.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Other
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Newton STFC-NARIT
Amount £549,562 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/R006555/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2018 
End 03/2020
 
Description Cpacity Building for Thai Radio Astronomy 
Organisation National Astronomical Research Institute Of Thailand
Country Thailand 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Leading capacity building project between UK and Thailand. Delivering research training in radio astronomy within Thailand. Coordinating exchange programme between UK and Thai academics
Collaborator Contribution Delivering research training in radio astronomy within Thailand. Carrying out exchange programme between UK and Thai academics
Impact No outputs have resulted from this programme yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Cpacity Building for Thai Radio Astronomy 
Organisation Thailand's National Electronics and Computer Technology Center
Country Thailand 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Leading capacity building project between UK and Thailand. Delivering research training in radio astronomy within Thailand. Coordinating exchange programme between UK and Thai academics
Collaborator Contribution Delivering research training in radio astronomy within Thailand. Carrying out exchange programme between UK and Thai academics
Impact No outputs have resulted from this programme yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Cpacity Building for Thai Radio Astronomy 
Organisation University of Leeds
Department School of Physics and Astronomy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Leading capacity building project between UK and Thailand. Delivering research training in radio astronomy within Thailand. Coordinating exchange programme between UK and Thai academics
Collaborator Contribution Delivering research training in radio astronomy within Thailand. Carrying out exchange programme between UK and Thai academics
Impact No outputs have resulted from this programme yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Cpacity Building for Thai Radio Astronomy 
Organisation University of Manchester
Department School of Physics and Astronomy Manchester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Leading capacity building project between UK and Thailand. Delivering research training in radio astronomy within Thailand. Coordinating exchange programme between UK and Thai academics
Collaborator Contribution Delivering research training in radio astronomy within Thailand. Carrying out exchange programme between UK and Thai academics
Impact No outputs have resulted from this programme yet.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Radio Astronomy Summer School - Thailand 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact A week long summer school in research techniques, programming and radio astronomy aimed at Thai undergraduates interested by a previous seminar series. This was hosted at NARIT and they have reported increased interest in postgraduate degrees from the attending students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Research seminar tour - Thailand 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Seminar tour of 3 Thai universities to speak with current engineering and physics undergraduate students. Approximately 75 students attended these events which sparked discussion and awareness of the Thai developments in radio astronomy and potential careers within radio astronomy technology development.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017