Work begins on £16.5m centre
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