The African-European Astronomy Partnerships Conference
The African-European Astronomy Partnerships Conference – Scientific and Technical Segment, a high-level event promoting stronger scientific collaboration between Africa and Europe, is set to take place in Brussels, 20 June 2011. The keynote address, highlighting “Science Capacity Building in Africa,” will be delivered by Bernie Fanaroff, Project Director of the South African Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Telescope Project. Fanaroff, who after gaining his PhD from Cambridge University had a distinguished career serving as the Deputy Director General in the Office of President Nelson Mandela, will be meeting with officials and stakeholders in addition to participating in the Conference organized by the South African Department of Science and Technology.
The African-European Astronomy Partnerships Conference – Scientific and Technical Segment, the second segment of a wider discussion to promote stronger collaboration in the field of science and technology (S&T) between the two continents, will provide an opportunity for high-level policy discussions on enhancing Africa-Europe S&T cooperation. The event will look at how such collaboration can significantly advance excellence in global frontier research whilst delivering mutual benefits for both continents and advancing human capital and socio-economic development, including infrastructure. The event will present new African astronomy projects such as the MeerKAT radio telescope and the planned Africa VLBI Network as well as the exciting cooperation opportunities they offer to Europe. Discussions will focus on how astronomy partnerships contribute to human capital development for research, enable innovation and technological spin-offs, and support sustainable development, including the fight against poverty in Africa.
In his keynote address, Fanaroff will highlight success stories in African-European scientific collaboration in addition to exciting developments in South African astronomy. The speech will provide an update on progress for the SKA precursor telescopes (Kat-7 and MeerKAT) whilst considering the non-science benefits of astronomy investments (including those related to education programs, ICT infrastructures and energy innovation). Fanaroff will conclude setting out how sustained investment in education and training for the SKA can be a catalyst in building a dynamic smart economy in South Africa and its neighboring countries.