One of the motivations for establishing CIRA in 2008 was to contribute high-impact engineering and science to the international SKA project.
CIRA has taken a leading role through its involvement in SKA pre-construction consortia and high-profile work packages, with its operations of the Murchison Widefield Array SKA precursor telescope, and through its integral role in the construction and operation of SKA_LOW aperture array verification systems near the Western Australia SKA site.
CIRA now consists of over 40 scientific and engineering staff engaged across a broad spectrum of activities, many straddling both disciplines.
Scientific staff undertake research into accreting black holes, the evolution of galaxies, the formation of the first structures and luminous objects in the Universe, and pulsars and transient phenomena. They have assumed leading roles in advising the SKA organisation on scientific priorities and providing input to the instrument’s technical specifications.
CIRA’s engineering staff deploy and operate instrumentation for the MWA and SKA test arrays, and research, develop and test new technology for radio astronomy in the twenty first century. They interact with government and industry organisations to solve the formidable engineering challenges of realising a mega-science project on the scale of the SKA.