The Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) is an intergovernmental organisation bringing together nations from around the world. Its mission is to build and operate cutting-edge radio telescopes to transform our understanding of the Universe, and deliver benefits to society through global collaboration and innovation. The observatory has a global footprint and consists of the SKAO Global Headquarters in the UK, the SKAO’s two telescopes at radio-quiet sites in South Africa and Australia, and associated facilities to support the operations of the telescopes.

The global network of SKA Regional Centres (SRCNet) will be made up of SRCs (nodes) distributed around the world in SKA Member countries (Members: Australia, Canada, China, France (Cooperation Agreement), Germany (Cooperation Agreement), India (Cooperation Agreement), Italy, Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, Sweden (Cooperation Agreement), Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Observers: Japan and South Korea) and they will be the only route for scientific users to access and analyse SKA data products. Six components have been identified for the SRCNet’s community and SKA Observatory facing functionalities: Data Logistics, Commonality, Data Processing, Data Archiving and Curation, Scalable Resource Management and Allocation, and User Support.

Each SRC will be required to conform to agreed standards in protocols, data architecture and information management policies to ensure that they appear as a single federated entity to SKA users. The SKAO will formally accredit each SRC. Together, the SRCNet Nodes will provide a collection of services and infrastructure that will comprise a global capability to distribute, process and curate the data from the SKA telescopes. SRCNet will also provide the basic governance and operational model and structures, and the baseline functionality that scientists need to interact with SKA data. Collectively these resources and services enable the science user community to realise the transformational science opportunities of the SKA.

The aims of the UK SKA Regional Centre (UKSRC) Project are to grow the UKSRC’s and SRCNet’s capabilities and skills, and to deploy an initial version of SRCNet at the national level through engagement with SKA precursor and pathfinder science programs and international SRCNet prototyping teams. This will bring benefits to the precursor/pathfinder science teams and advance the design of the planned deployment baseline SRCNet through real world data challenges and prototypes. These early developments will prepare the proto-SRCNet for possible engagement in early science verification/operations.

eScienceLab contribution

  • WP2.2: FAIR Data Archive - stewardship, archive, data stack
    • Co-Lead: Rachael Ainsworth
  • WP4: Training and Outreach - delivers professional training and outreach for both UKSRC staff and the community
    • Lead: Rachael Ainsworth