We are creating a unified UKRI website that brings together the existing research council, Innovate UK and Research England websites.
If you would like to be involved in its development let us know.

UK SKA Industry Community

The UK is contributing £100M towards the construction of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Radio Telescope. This project represents significant investment on behalf of the UK and confirms the UK’s leading role in key aspects of the project. The SKA will be the largest radio telescope and scientific instrument on the planet once construction is complete. It will be 50 times more sensitive than the Hubble Space Telescope (even though its ground-based) but critically it will need to manage more data per day than the world’s total daily internet traffic – a requirement that is driving transformative technological innovation in Big Data computing and data handling with huge potential for societal and economic benefit.

The HQ is to be based at the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank site, near Manchester. The UK is actively seeking to support UK companies in this project in the following ways:

  1. UK industry benefits from innovation that is driven by investment in the SKA, resulting in commercial spin-offs from technology that has been developed through the construction of Phase 1 of the SKA. The timeline towards construction in 2018 is given below.
  2. UK Industry attains a return on investment through:
    • UK companies winning contracts to build components for the SKA
    • UK companies winning contracts in high-tech sectors that are considered strategically important for the UK economy and that are likely to provide further future benefits. In particular:
      • Engineering Construction and Maintenance
      • Advanced Materials and Manufacturing
      • Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
      • Computer Processing, Networks and Equipment
      • Software Development
      • Systems Integration and Maintenance

STFC is working with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Innovate UK, KTN and UKTI to develop and execute the industry strategy and support UK Industry. STFC provide a single point contact for Industry to engage with the SKA. This support is there to nurture new spin offs, open new markets for UK Industry to SKA Member countries and allow companies to tender for SKA construction contracts.

Previous investments in radio astronomy and Big Science have resulted in the development of new technologies and products. For example, the development of various types of medical diagnostic equipment (CAT scans, MRIs, X-ray, ultrasound), WIFI, GPS algorithms and development of specific computer languages.

STFC has set up an UK SKA Industry Database to build a community of companies with SKA interests and to keep industry informed of the latest project developments. If you would like to register your company, please would you complete this form.


For questions and more information, please contact Carol Watts.

UK SKA Industry Day

On April 27th, STFC held an SKA industry day to bring together 140 people from industry with key researchers who are working on the design for the SKA from Cambridge University, Manchester University, Oxford University, the STFC and the SKA Organisation.

The day was opened by Science Minister Jo Johnson, who described how the SKA had captured the imagination of people all around the world. The morning featured talks describing the aims, challenges and requirements for the SKA and this was followed by posters, specialised talks and networking in the afternoon.

The password-protected presentations are available via the link below. If you would like access to the presentations, please would you email Carol Watts.

View Presentations

UK SKA Science Data Processor (SDP) Industry Day

An SDP Industry Day was held at the University of Cambridge on 29th June 2016. The aim was to start the process of positioning UK industry for the construction phase of SDP work package and related tenders, with a view to building strong consortia.

Talks included a description of the SDP work package, engaging UK industry with SKA, the latest on SKA procurement, and industry capabilities.

The password-protected presentations are available via the link below. If you would like access to the presentations, please would you email Carol Watts.

View Presentations


Last updated: 23 August 2018


Science and Technology Facilities Council
Switchboard: +44 (0)1793 442000