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How to turn Astronomy into Business Clusters

The Science-2-Business programme of the Euroscience Open Forum 2012 (ESOF2012 – taking place in Dublin, Ireland from 11 to 15 July 2012) includes a special session focused on “How to turn Astronomy into Business Clusters”.

14 July 2012 - 14 July 2012

The session on “How to turn astronomy into business clusters” will take place on Saturday 14 July 2012 from 08:00 to 09:30 in the “Wicklow Hall 1” at the Dublin Convention Centre. It will consider how industrial spin-off and technology commercialisation opportunities can best be leveraged from investment in astronomy. The session will be chaired by Pallab Ghosh, BBC Science Correspondent, and be introduced by South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology, Her Excellency Naledi Pandor and Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation.

Other speakers will include Mmboneni Muofhe of the South African Department of Science and Technology, Dr Ronald Stark of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and Dr Gerlinde Bedoe of Nokia Siemens Networks, who will respectively present a government, research funding organisation and industry perspective, on how astronomy can best be harnessed as driver for innovation. Dr Michiel van Haarlem, Interim Director-General of the SKA Organisation, responsible for the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope project, will present the perspective from a large-scale global research infrastructure project. By sharing these various experiences, the goal will be to identify possible best practices of how astronomy could boost the development of business clusters.

In May 2012, a new platform was established in order to strengthen partnerships between Africa and Europe in the field of radio astronomy. AERAP (African-European Radio Astronomy Platform) AERAP is a new stakeholder forum convened to define priorities for radio astronomy cooperation between Africa and Europe. It provides a framework for stakeholders from industry and academia to define research action plans across the wide range of technological areas that will be essential for the future of radio astronomy. This framework will enable major research and technological advances that will drive socioeconomic development and competitiveness in both, Africa and Europe. The overall goals of the platform are to strengthen research and innovation in Europe and Africa, improve knowledge transfer and stimulate competitiveness across both continents. AERAP will organise a series of events, presenting the opportunity to participants to gain a greater understanding of further developments in EU-Africa science cooperation, involving research institutions, and industry as well as policy makers.

The initiative to create this platform originated following the adoption of Written Declaration 45/2011 on “Science Capacity Building in Africa: promoting European-African radio astronomy partnerships”. With EU support, science collaboration between Europe and Africa will harness innovation as a tool for socio-economic development in Africa, support the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and create new opportunities for European and African scientists and industry.

For further information on AERAP please visit

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