SKAO Council

The SKAO Council (the Council) is the governing body of the SKAO. The Council held their first meeting in February 2021, shortly after the entry-into-force of the SKA Observatory as an intergovernmental organisation on 15 January 2021.
The Council represents the SKAO Member States, with Member Voting Representatives and their Advisors attending meetings.
Council Photo
Hybrid SKAO Council meeting at SKAO HQ, March 2022


The Council is responsible for “the overall strategic and scientific direction of the SKAO, its good governance, and the attainment of its purposes”.  The Council’s authority is set out in its Convention, and how it must behave is described in the Rules of Procedure.

The Council is supported by two committees:

  1. Finance Committee – to ensure “sound financial management, efficiency, transparency and accountability”.  The Finance Committee has three sub-committees.
  2. Science and Engineering Advisory Committee – which is made up of representatives who “act as individual experts and do not represent any Members’ views” to advise on a wide range of scientific matters including construction, technology, and engineering.


The Council Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson are independent, and do not represent any country.  Each Member may designate a voting representative and an advisor.

SKAO Council Chairperson: Dr Catherine Cesarsky

SKAO Council Vice-Chairperson:  Mr Daan du Toit

Members (May 2023)



Member since:

Ms Janean Richards (voting)

Dr Douglas Bock



Ms Zhao Jing (voting)

Ms Wang Rongfang

China 2021

Prof. Marco Tavani (voting)  



Ms Judith Vermeer (voting)

Dr Jessica Dempsey



Mr Ricardo Conde (voting)

Mr Luis Serina



Dr Phil Mjwara (voting)

Ms Pontsho Maruping 

South Africa


Dr Simon Berger (voting)

Prof. Jean-Paul Kneib




Ms Felicity Howe (voting)

Prof. Mark Thomson

United Kingdom



The Council also allows Observer representatives from countries or institutions who have either (a) signed an Accession Agreement and are moving towards their full membership, or (b) signed a Cooperation Agreements to provide resources, or (c) who are discussing their potential membership with the SKAO. 

These are (May 2023): the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, the Republic of France, the Federal Republic of Germany, the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) of India, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI), Spain and Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden).

Rules and Regulations

The Council must follow:

  1. The Council Convention: which explains the high-level scope of the project, its purpose, definitions, membership rights, and how the SKAO is governed.  It also outlines the SKAO’s Financial Protocols, and what has been agreed by the Members about what ‘Privileges are allowed. 
  2. The Council Rules of Procedure:  these state the composition of the Council, rules relating to conduct and attendance, and how meetings work e.g. voting and subsidiary committees.
  3. The Council Schedule of Delegation:  which confirms what authority can (or not) be delegated - who can approve what e.g. the Council must approve the SKAO budget.
Last modified on 02 May 2023