Work be­gins on £16.5m cen­tre

Macclesfield Express - - BEFORE THE BENCH - RHI­AN­NON MC­DOWALL

WORK to build a cut­ting-edge re­search cen­tre at Jo­drell Bank has be­gun.

The £16.5mil­lion build­ing will be the global head­quar­ters for the world’s largest ra­dio tele­scope project, known as the Square Kilo­me­tre Ar­ray (SKA), and will be home to more than 135 staff from across 13 coun­tries.

Coun David Brown, deputy leader of Cheshire East Coun­cil, which con­trib­uted £1m to­wards the project, at­tended a cer­e­mony mark­ing the of­fi­cial start of build­ing work.

He said: “To have this amaz­ing, in­ter­na­tional, ground-break­ing re­search cen­tre head­quar­tered here in Cheshire East is a his­toric mo­ment and we con­grat­u­late the Univer­sity and the team at Jo­drell Bank for propos­ing to host this pres­ti­gious project.

“Host­ing the SKA global head­quar­ters is a big coup for Cheshire East, and will no doubt ben­e­fit this area hugely in terms of jobs, ku­dos and eco­nomic growth.

“It falls squarely within the Cheshire Sci­ence Corri- dor and North­ern Pow­er­house con­cepts, and this is why we are deeply com­mit­ted to it.”

The ground-break­ing event, held at Jo­drell Bank, run by The Univer­sity of Manch­ester, was also at­tended by Philip Dia- mond, di­rec­tor gen­eral of the SKA Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

He said: “In the next 10 years, the SKA Global Head­quar­ters will be­come a real nexus for ra­dioas­tron­omy in­ter­na­tion­ally, and is a fan­tas­tic con­tin­u­a­tion of the proud his­tory of ra­dio-as­tron­omy at Jo­drell Bank.”

The bid to make Jo­drell Bank the head­quar­ters of the SKA was backed by the UK Govern­ment via the Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Fa­cil­i­ties Coun­cil, The Univer­sity of Manch­ester and Cheshire East Coun­cil, as well as Ox­ford and Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ties.

The 4,200sqm re­search cen­tre is ex­pected to open in June 2018.

Staff at the new head­quar­ters will be re­spon­si­ble for man­ag­ing the con­struc­tion and op­er­a­tions of the SQA tele­scopes in South­ern Africa and Western Aus­tralia, which, when fin­ished, will be a hun­dred times faster at map­ping the sky than to­day’s best ra­dio as­tron­omy fa­cil­i­ties.

From left: Proffes­sor Gra­hame Blair from STFC, Prof Philip Di­a­mond, SKA di­rec­tor gen­eral, Prof Colin Bai­ley, vice-chan­cel­lor of the Univer­sity of Manch­ester and coun­cil­lor David Brown, mark the ground­break­ing of the SKA Global Head­quar­ters at Jo­drell Bank

Ed­die Sto­bart has named a truck Amelia Dream af­ter Amelia Car­roll (in­set) from Poyn­ton

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