Contribution of Radio Astronomy research to Europe and Africa science and i...

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South Africa Mission to the EU

17-19 Rue Montoyer

1000 Brussels


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Contribution of Radio Astronomy research to Europe and Africa science and innovation collaboration

Brussels, 31 August 2019: The African Europe Radio Astronomy Platform (AERAP) will organise a meeting on 24 September 2019 entitled “Contribution of Radio Astronomy to Europe and Africa science and innovation collaboration”. The event will take place within the context of the European Union's Research and Innovation Days.

AERAP resulted from the European Parliament's written declaration on support for science capacity building with Africa, prioritising radio astronomy. The September meeting is intended to explore how the radio astronomy community in Europe and Africa can advance collaboration and how to provide input into relevant European Union programmes which support science and innovation. The focus programmes will be Horizon Europe and the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). Both programmes have been agreed at political level, while agreement on the respective budgets will take place later this year.

In 2012, one of the most momentous decisions in recent scientific times was taken with the decision to co-site the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in the deserts of South Africa and Australia. This unique project is set to test the limits of human engineering and scientific endeavour over the next decade.

This century has seen a tremendous advance in information and digital technologies impacting all aspects of society. Data being captured by megaprojects in science, technology and engineering, by the ubiquitous sensors tracking the state of the planet, and by vast and complex collections of data that trace the patterns and trends in human behaviour, are beginning to be creatively mined in ways that fundamentally change our perception of the world, transform our economies and empower global change.

Research, technology and innovation is increasingly seen as a key driver and catalyst for furthering economic and social development of developing countries. The World Bank’s Guide for developing countries on Innovation highlights the importance of technological innovation for developing countries and their need to tap into fast changing technologies in fields such as IT, biotechnology and nanotechnology.

AERAP intends to make a constructive contribution to the dialogue surrounding the implementation of the programmes between 2021 and 2027. This will involve awareness raising amongst the astronomy community and policymakers, outlining the contribution radio astronomy science can make to key EU and AU policy objectives, including the following:

- European Open Science Cloud and related big data initiatives in Africa;

- Computational science applications in the areas of climate, environment and health, amongst others;

- Human capital development in Europe and Africa including the exchange of knowledge, know-how and researchers.

The UN has adopted a resolution titled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, in which it agreed a comprehensive, far-reaching and people-centred set of universal and transformative Sustainable Development Goals and targets. In the context of the sustainable development goals, science, technology and innovation play a central and critical role. STI, is highlighted as a strong element through the means of implementation goal but is also seen as cross-cutting to achieve many of the targets.

Draft Agenda

15h00 Introduction: Declan Kirrane, AERAP

15h05 Formal Welcome: Vinny Pillay, SA Mission, Brussels

15h10 EU – Africa science cooperation: TBC

15h40 Radio astronomy contribution to Horizon Europe and NDICI: Arnold van Ardenne, ASTRON

16h00 The African VLBI and perspectives on Big Data: Takalani Nemaungani, DST, SA

16h20 SKA science update: SKA HQ

16h40 AERAP Roadmap 2020-2023 Declan Kirrane

17h00 Roundtable discussion and comments

17h30 Conclusions

17h35 Networking reception

Date Tuesday 24th September 2019

Time 15h00-1800CET

Location South Africa Mission to the EU,

17-19 Rue Montoyer,

B-1000, Brussels

Contact Declan Kirrane

+32 494 34 60 40


SKA Organization:

SKA South Africa:


Horizon Europe


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1000 Brussels


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