NWO and National Research Foundation of South Africa strengthen scientific cooperation in Astronomy

THE HAGUE, 26-Jan-2017 — /EuropaWire/ — The Netherlands and South Africa have a joint interest in promoting and strengthening scientific cooperation in Astronomy (including Enabling Technologies for Astronomy). In 2012, NWO and NRF (the National Research Foundation of South Africa) have established a bilateral program that funds travel and workshops for teams of scientists that cooperate on research projects of common interest. In December 2016, NWO and NRF decided to award seven joint projects.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) that will be built partly in South Africa, is an important driver for collaboration, but there are also multiple opportunities for collaboration in optical and multiwavelength astronomy. Many synergies exist between science and technology programs in both countries. Examples include the International LOFAR Telescope and the MeerKAT telescope (both SKA pathfinders), the radio telescopes in Hartebeesthoek and Westerbork, and the Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe (JIVE) and the African VLBI Network (AVN).

In December 2016, NWO and NRF decided to award seven joint projects in Astronomy and enabling technologies for Astronomy. The awarded projects are:

  • Toward an Optimal Observing Strategy of Observing Cosmic Dawn and Epoch of Reionization with the Square Kilometre Array – Prof. L. Koopmans, University of Groningen, Dr. G. Bernardi, Rhodes University & SKA-SA
  • Brightest cluster galaxies and cluster cores: understanding a symbiotic relationship – Dr. H. Hoekstra, Leiden University, Dr. S. Loubser, North-West University
  • HI Surveys and Science with SKA pathfinders – Dr. E. de Blok, ASTRON, Dr. S. Blyth, University of Cape Town
  • Astrophysical transients, their hosts and their physics – Prof. P. Groot , Radboud University, Prof. P. Woudt, University of Cape Town
  • Next-generation Algorithms & Techniques for Radio Interferometry: Maximizing the Scientific Output of MeerKAT, LOFAR and the SKA – Ir. J.G. Bij de Vaate ASTRON, Prof. O. Smirnov, Rhodes University
  • Exploitation of the South African Large Telescope – studying the formation and evolution of dwarf elliptical galaxies – Prof. R. Peletier, University of Groningen, Dr. S. Crawford, SAAO
  • Put a ring on it: looking for rings around the exoplanet Beta Pic b – Dr. M. Kenworthy, Leiden University, Dr. S. Crawford, SAAO


Spokespersons NWO

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