Development through Radio Astronomy Global Network

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

We propose to build partnerships between the three separate projects in development through radio astronomy that we have already established via the Newton Fund in Africa, Latin America and South East Asia. This collaboration will form a global network of expertise in the mobilization of radio astronomy for economic development. The network will establish and build 'south-south' connections that will help the sharing of experiences and lessons learned in how to translate the high tech skills of radio astronomy into local job creation and entrepreneurship. The activities in this project centre on four international workshops that each focus on a key aspect of economic development through radio astronomy research. These include the conversion of old telecommunications dishes into radio telescopes, the formation of regional collaborations using networks of radio telescopes working together, utilizing the big data aspects of radio astronomy for translation into other areas of industry and commerce, and the transfer of the high tech skills in radio astronomy into the related areas of space science, geodesy, satellite communications and telecommunications and entrepreneurship. We will encourage other low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in the three continental regions to join the established activities and build strong regional collaborations around this theme. This will help cement the UK's position as a world leader in radio astronomy and its applications.

Planned Impact

The proposed workshops in this project will transfer knowledge in how the skills, techniques and technologies involved radio astronomy can be used for economic development in a range of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). These include mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering skills involved in the conversion of old 32 m telecommunications dishes into radio telescopes and equipping them with state-of-the-art receivers. The development of regional collaborations around the use of networks of converted dishes as an interferometer will be discussed as a way to spread these skills more widely and build new scientific partnerships. The potential for big data techniques in radio astronomy to be utilized for enhancing wealth creation in industrial and commercial sectors will be highlighted. Our industrial partners and their contacts will demonstrate the various ways in which synergies between radio astronomy and the related areas of space science, satellite communications, deep space communications and telecommunications can be exploited to generate jobs and revenue. As a result of this project we will have build a global network of expertise in the use of radio astronomy for economic development in LMICs and strengthened the position of the UK in this field.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description GSSTI - GCRF 
Organisation University of Manchester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Leeds organised jointly with GSSTI and University of Manchester an international workshop on Dish Conversion for 50 participants from 24 different countries, many of which were from low and middle income countries (LMICs).
Collaborator Contribution GSSTI hosted the workshop in Accra in January 2019.
Impact Many participants from LMICs reported that they would seek to initiate dish conversions in their countries that will ultimately create jobs and result in skills transfer. A website repository of documents to assist with the dish conversion process was established. The meeting was opened by the Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI).
Start Year 2018
 
Description NARIT - GCRF 
Organisation National Astronomical Research Institute Of Thailand
Country Thailand 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Leeds, together with Manchester and Herts will organise a workshop on Big Data and Digital Technologies in radio astronomy at NARIT in Thailand in Sep 2019.
Collaborator Contribution NARIT will host the workshop.
Impact None yet.
Start Year 2018
 
Description NARIT - GCRF 
Organisation University of Hertfordshire
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Leeds, together with Manchester and Herts will organise a workshop on Big Data and Digital Technologies in radio astronomy at NARIT in Thailand in Sep 2019.
Collaborator Contribution NARIT will host the workshop.
Impact None yet.
Start Year 2018
 
Description NARIT - GCRF 
Organisation University of Manchester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Leeds, together with Manchester and Herts will organise a workshop on Big Data and Digital Technologies in radio astronomy at NARIT in Thailand in Sep 2019.
Collaborator Contribution NARIT will host the workshop.
Impact None yet.
Start Year 2018
 
Description UNAM - GCRF 
Organisation National Autonomous University of Mexico
Country Mexico 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Leeds, together with Herts and UCLan organised an international workshop on Regional VLBI in Mexico City in February 2019. 45 participants from 30 countries including many from LMICs attended.
Collaborator Contribution UNAM hosted the workshop in Mexico City.
Impact The Latin American participants have drawn up a letter of intent for their governments that they would like to establish a Latin American VLBI Network consisting of converted dishes in each of their countries. The African participants will start a forum to bring together the various initiatives on radio astronomy within countries participating in the African VLBI Network/SKA as well as other African countries. The SE Asian participants will initiate regular communications and annual meetings to help countries with converted dishes and new dishes to join the East Asian VLBI Network.
Start Year 2018
 
Description UNAM - GCRF 
Organisation University of Central Lancashire
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Leeds, together with Herts and UCLan organised an international workshop on Regional VLBI in Mexico City in February 2019. 45 participants from 30 countries including many from LMICs attended.
Collaborator Contribution UNAM hosted the workshop in Mexico City.
Impact The Latin American participants have drawn up a letter of intent for their governments that they would like to establish a Latin American VLBI Network consisting of converted dishes in each of their countries. The African participants will start a forum to bring together the various initiatives on radio astronomy within countries participating in the African VLBI Network/SKA as well as other African countries. The SE Asian participants will initiate regular communications and annual meetings to help countries with converted dishes and new dishes to join the East Asian VLBI Network.
Start Year 2018
 
Description UNAM - GCRF 
Organisation University of Hertfordshire
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Leeds, together with Herts and UCLan organised an international workshop on Regional VLBI in Mexico City in February 2019. 45 participants from 30 countries including many from LMICs attended.
Collaborator Contribution UNAM hosted the workshop in Mexico City.
Impact The Latin American participants have drawn up a letter of intent for their governments that they would like to establish a Latin American VLBI Network consisting of converted dishes in each of their countries. The African participants will start a forum to bring together the various initiatives on radio astronomy within countries participating in the African VLBI Network/SKA as well as other African countries. The SE Asian participants will initiate regular communications and annual meetings to help countries with converted dishes and new dishes to join the East Asian VLBI Network.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Dish Conversion Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact International workshop on Dish Conversion that brought together 24 participants from LMICs who aspire to convert a dish in to a radio telescope with experts from countries who have successfully converted a dish already.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://dragn.info/dish-conversion/
 
Description Regional VLBI Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop on the science and development opportunties that can be carried out with a regional VLBI network. Participants from 30 LMICs joined together with experts who run regional and global VLBI networks. Plans made to advance regional VLBI in Latin America, Africa and SE Asia.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://star.herts.ac.uk/regvlbi/