DARA Radio Astronomy Training Programme
Africa is becoming the focus for the world of radio astronomy. It will host the mid-frequency Square Kilometre Array (SKA) – the next generation global radio astronomy facility that will be built initially in South Africa, and then rolled out across eight African partner countries, including Kenya. Prior to the SKA, the 32m Longonot dish in Kenya is earmarked for conversion into a radio telescope and will be part of a network of radio telescopes called the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network (AVN). To support this effort a basic training programme has been set up with the aim of offering any suitably qualified person the opportunity to undertake the training and become familiar with the basics of astrophysics and radio astronomy and gain hands-on experience. The programme will take place at the host institute: Technical University of Kenya. Hands-on training in radio astronomy will take place at the Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute (GSSTI) in Accra located near Johannesburg in South Africa. The training will be provided by experts in radio astronomy from the UK and South Africa. The programme is funded by the UK’s Newton Fund together with matching efforts from South Africa. Additional training in the industrial opportunities afforded by knowledge of radio astronomy techniques will be provided by experienced entrepreneurs from the satellite communications business. The basic training programme will consist of 7 weeks of lectures, workshops and hands-on sessions spread out over a year. On completion trainees will receive a certificate of completion and can request a reference letter from their trainers. Trainees will then be in a position to apply for advanced training places in radio astronomy at Masters or PhD level, a few of which are also funded by the Newton Fund project, or use their new skills to aid the development of related high tech industries in the host country.