Organised by SciCom on behalf of the Government of South Africa
- Dublin, Saturday 14 July, 2012

Turning Astronomy into Business Clusters

Astronomy is big business. South Africa, allied with eight other African countries, is planning to build the world’s most powerful radio telescope - an instrument 50-100 times more sensitive and 10,000 times faster than any radio imaging telescope ever built.

More than 70 institutes in 20 countries, together with industry partners such as Intel, are participating in the scientific and technical design.

This science to business project is truly of global significance and a potential opportunity for ESOF delegates. The design, construction and operation of the telescope will have a potentially global impact on skills development in science, engineering and associated industries.

This interactive round table will bring together leading researchers, business leaders and policy-makers to spotlight the latest advances and opportunities in astronomy science to business.

Via a flexible format of brief presentations led by an experienced moderator with ample space for questions, answers and reactions, speakers will shed new light on just what goes into making radio telescopes and what it means for diverse enterprises and regions.

In particular, technology development in antennas, fibre networks, signal processing, and software and computing, with spin-off innovations in these areas set to benefit other systems that process large volumes of data, will be spotlighted.

The session will be highly demonstrable with a focus on tech transfer, business and recruitment opportunities.

Moderator: Professor Peter Tindemans, Secretary General, Euroscience


  • Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology, Government of South Africa
  • Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General, European Commission, Research and Innovation.
  • Mr Mmboneni Muofhe, South African Department of Science and Technology
  • Dr Michiel Haarlem, Interim Director-General of the SKA Organisation 
  • Dr Ronald Stark, The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NOW) 
  • Dr Gerlinde Bidoe, Nokia Siemens Networks.