Africa calling: stars, sky and the greater good

If you think about the skills required for the social and economic progress needed by developing countries, radio astronomy is probably not very high on your list.

However, the assumptions one makes about applied technical sciences and their worth to such nations might be unwarranted if a new research project is anything to go by.

Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy (Dara) aims to train a new, and in many cases a first, cohort of radio astronomers in sub-Saharan African countries. The University of Leeds-led project began as a Royal Society grant belonging to Melvin Hoare, Professor of Astrophysics.

Professor Hoare did some initial radio astronomy training in Ghana via the funding, before gaining a substantial grant in 2015 from the Newton Fund – which is part of the UK’s overseas aid commitments, and is delivered through the Science and Technology Facilities Council. With that grant, Dara trained scientists in Zambia, Kenya, Namibia and Botswana. Now, thanks to a further £2.7 million injection from the fund, it is being rolled out in Ghana, Madagascar, Mozambique and Mauritius.

Read more about Dara on the Times Higher Education website.