SKAO highlighted in South Korea-UK landmark accord

on 27 November 2023
South Korea’s interest in the SKA Observatory has been noted during a state visit by the country’s president to the United Kingdom.

President Yoon Suk Yeol's visit included an address to the UK Parliament, and an official joint statement issued following the event said that: “Early discussions have also begun on a Cooperation Agreement to enhance the Republic of Korea's cooperation in the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO), the multi-billion-pound international project to build the world's largest radio telescope. The UK hosts the headquarters of the Observatory and is contributing £270 million towards the project, which will transform our understanding of the Universe and physics”.

The statement continues: “Having the Republic of Korea on board will open up opportunities to create even stronger links with the global science community.”

The SKAO welcomes this positive statement, which further cements the long-standing relationship between the Observatory and the South Korean astronomy community.

“I am pleased to see the SKAO mentioned in the joint statement as a source of engagement between scientists on different continents, in the true spirit of our global Observatory. KASI has been a valued partner of the SKAO for many years and the Korean community continues to show enthusiasm for SKA science goals, as we have seen at recent national and regional events,” said SKAO Director-General Prof. Philip Diamond.

The Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI) has supported SKA-related research activities for many years, and is currently an observer at the SKAO Council on behalf of the government.

South Korea recently hosted the East-Asia SKA Workshop, with involvement from several SKAO scientists. The meeting underlined SKA science interest in the country, including in studies of neutral hydrogen distribution, active galactic nuclei, cosmic magnetism and transients.

Researchers at KASI and within Korean universities possess specialist knowledge in broadband data transmission and processing, as well as phased array feed and cloud computing, all of which are highly relevant to the SKAO.

“We will continue to develop these relationships and collaborations, and I hope that soon we might welcome South Korea to our family of SKAO member states,” concluded Prof. Philip Diamond.