Astronomy is big business. South Africa, allied with the African Union and eight other African countries, is making major investments in radio astronomy in partnership with the European scientific community and industry. This includes a bid to host the world’s most powerful radio telescope - an instrument 50-100 times more sensitive and 10,000 times faster than any radio imaging telescope ever built. More than 70 institutes in 20 countries, together with industry partners such as Intel, Nokia, Siemens, Microsoft and Cisco are participating in the scientific and technical design. South Africa has already constructed a pathfinder telescope and with African partners are developing plans for an African VLBI Network. This science to business project is truly of transformational scientific significance. The design, construction and operation of the telescope will have a potentially global impact on skills development in science, engineering and associated industries around the world. This interactive round table complements the EU-Africa Partnership Programme with demonstrable science to business.
It will bring together top researchers, business leaders and policy-makers to spotlight the latest advances and opportunities in world-leading science instrumentation. Via a flexible format of brief presentations led by an experienced moderator with ample space for questions, answers and reactions, speakers will shed new light on just what goes into making radio telescopes from the factory floor to the field. The outcome will be a sharpened understanding of what it means for diverse enterprises and regions. In particular, technology development in antennas, fibre networks, signal processing, and software and computing, with spin-off innovations in these areas set to benefit other systems that process large volumes of data, will be spotlighted. The session will be highly visual with a focus on tech transfer, business and recruitment opportunities. It will specifically give valuable insights into the dynamics of strategic international business partnerships such as Africa and Europe.