Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy


A joint UK-South Africa Newton Fund human capital development project

to help drive economic development in Africa.

This project aims to develop high tech skills using radio astronomy in a number of African countries. Radio astronomy encompasses all of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills that underpin the emergence of a strong developed economy. The modern astronomer needs knowledge in physics, mathematics, chemistry and computing. To develop, maintain and run radio telescopes and instrumentation requires key skills in technology and engineering. The targeted countries will be acquiring radio telescopes to form the African VLBI Network as part of their participation in the South African Square Kilometre Array project. We aim to inspire and train a new and diverse generation of young people to engage with these skills. Our training programme engenders a research ethos as well as communication and diagnostic skills that are transferable to many aspects of a developing economy. The training team includes experienced entrepreneurs from the space sector to open the minds of the trainees to the possibilities in the industrial and commercial sectors. This Newton Fund programme will provide a pool of talented young people who have been inspired by astronomy to play a leading role in the emergence of new economies.

DARA: Now and Future

Presenter: Prof Melvin Hoare - DARA Principal Investigator

Date & Time: 8 April 2020, 11-12:00 UK Time

Registration closing date: 6 April 2020 

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Annual Network Meeting  2020 - 18 - 20 May 2020
South Africa

The 2020 annual network meeting will take place in Muldersdrift near Johannesburg, South Africa.  ​DARA invites its UK, SA and African partners to the meeting, together with the advanced training trainees and the 2019-20 basic training programme trainees.

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Basic Training Unit 1 in Madagascar
17 - 27 February 2020

University of Antananarivo

Eleven Malagasy students from the Universite d’Antananarivo and the Ecole Normale Superior recently completed their training at the Institut et Observatorie de Geophysique d’Antananarivo (IOGA). 

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Basic Training Unit 1 in Zambia
13 - 24 January 2019

Technical University of Kenya

Ten Zambian students with interests in physics and astronomy recently completed their unit 1 training at the University of Zambia in Lusaka. The training event was organised by the Faculty of Natural Sciences at UNZA, under the guidance of Dr Habatwa Mweene. 

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Basic Training Unit 1 in Kenya
3 - 15 November 2019

Technical University of Kenya

Eleven students attended the unit 1 training in TUK Nairobi. To suit their differing backgrounds the course struck a balance between the essentials of astrophysics and an introduction to radio astronomy concepts.

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Basic Training Unit 4 in Zambia
1 - 12 July 2019

University of Zambia, Lusaka

The two-week workshop was split such that the students were introduced to the theory behind interferometry and to common software packages used in radio astronomy including CASA. During the second week, the students followed several tutorials to calibrate and image data from the EVN and e-MERLIN telescopes.

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Basic Training Unit 4 in Mozambique
19 - 28 June 2019

The workshop was held at Eduardo Mondlane University (EMU), in Maputo, from June 19 to June 26, 2019. Sonia Anton from University of Aveiro in Portugal, Dalmiro Maia from the University of Porto in Portugal, and Pietro Zucca from ASTRON in the Netherlands. 

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FCT PhD Fellowships 2020 

Closing Date: 28 April 2020 (pre-applications 13 April 2020)

The Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) has opened a call for PhD fellowships, from 2nd of March to 28th of April 2020. The positions are for up to 4 years (tuition fees are covered).

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