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SKA: local engineering and technical skills 'as anybody in the world'

According to News24, South Africa is building local capacity to tackle its share of the massive Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project in the Northern Cape Province. The project aims to build over 3,000 radio telescopes that will enable astronomers to look 12 billion years back in time and examine the infant universe. "What we did in the early stages of the project," Professor Justin Jonas, associate director of Science and Engineering, SKA South Africa said, "was we hired the very best people, and put them in contact with the most experienced people in the world."
"So we now found ourselves in the situation, certainly on the engineering front and technical side, that we're as experienced and skilled up as anybody in the world," Jonas told News24. The South African team also secured international co-operation, and research chairs at local universities have been established to accelerate development of the technology expected to drive the project. A number of researchers have come to SA to ensure that students will have the correct skills to participate in the programme.

The longer term goal is to produce local experts who could expand the project, slated for completion in 2024, Jonas said.

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