Germany pulls out of SKA

Germany has announced it will withdraw from the Square Kilometre Array organisation in June next year.

Artist's impression of SKA dishes (image: SKA Organisation/Swinburne Astronomy Productions)

Artist’s impression of SKA dishes (image: SKA Organisation/Swinburne Astronomy Productions)

Germany has announced it will withdraw from the Square Kilometre Array organisation (SKA) in June next year, the science & technology ministry has said.

“According to the SKA website, Germany informed the SKA on Thursday about its intention to leave the organisation,” spokesman Lunga Ngqengelele said in a statement.

He said while the decision was regrettable, science & technology minister Naledi Pandor was satisfied this was not due to lack of confidence in the SKA project.

“This is rather because of difficult national financial circumstances around the funding of large research infrastructures in Germany and Europe,” said Ngqengelele.

On its website, the SKA said Germany’s decision would have no immediate consequences on the project due to the limited German funding issued so far.

“Involvement from German institutions, industry and scientists in the SKA’s science working groups, and in design work, is unlikely to be affected in the short term,” the organisation said.

However, as the project entered its construction phase in 2017/2018, German industry would be most affected as it would no longer be in a position to bid for major engineering contracts to be awarded for construction of the SKA.

The SKA project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with a square kilometre (one million square metres) of collecting area.

The project is taking place in South Africa’s Karoo region and in Australia.

Ngqengelele said Pandor would in the coming weeks set up a meeting with her German counterpart to further discuss the issue.  — Sapa

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  • sp4wn

    Right after the elections this is announced – nothing to do with confidence in Zooma and his pack of pigs?

  • Mark Williams

    Don’t quite understand this.Why at this late stage?

  • http://wogan.me Wogan

    Guys, calm down, I think this has less to do with South Africa, and more to do with the fact that the European economy roughly resembles a sinking ship at the moment, and Germany’s about the only country keeping it afloat.

    In that context, it’s really easy to see why they’d pull funding for something that wouldn’t yield long-term economic benefits to the region. When people do the OPPOSITE of this (eg: Eskom maintaining the BHP Billiton deal/Mozambique uplink despite our national grid falling apart), we all complain – so why shouldn’t the Germans complain about sending money overseas for a project that has no bearing on most of their lives?

  • http://www.twitter.com/paulosergiomdc Paulo Sérgio Martins

    God, Europe and myopia regarding science and research & development.. Taken in the context of the continent’s stated objective to become a leading global center said topics, European actions are disappointing. In the US government cutbacks have at least been countered by private sector advances, but the story is the same, the US and EU are loosing focus of longterm goals

  • Vuyani Billy Nyathikazi

    we are dead!!!

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