The IAA strengthens CSIC's international role in the SKA Observatory

The IAA has been endowed by the CSIC with nearly one hundred thousand euros to strengthen the capacities of the scientific community that will use SKAO through the Spanish SKA Regional Centre. 

"CSIC4SKA", led by the IAA-CSIC, was one of five projects funded under the CSIC Programme for Large European Research Infrastructures.


The "CSIC4SKA" project, led by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC) and with the participation of members of other CSIC centres (IFCA, ICE and CAB), is one of the five projects that have obtained funding from the CSIC Programme for Large European Research Infrastructures (INFRAS 2024 Call), with an endowment of nearly 100,000 euros. This call aims to position the CSIC in large European infrastructures and international consortia, as well as to promote participation in the main next-generation scientific facilities included in the Roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI).

One of these ESFRI infrastructures is the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO), an international effort to build two next-generation radio interferometers that will be the ultimate big data challenge in astronomy. The SKAO telescopes will surpass in sensitivity and observing speed the best current radio astronomical facilities and will be decisive in scientific discoveries at the frontier of knowledge. The IAA-CSIC coordinates the Spanish scientific and technological participation in SKAO, an instrument that will revolutionise the fields of astrophysics, astrobiology and fundamental physics.


Telescopes of the SKA Observatory. Source: SKAO


The volume of data generated by SKAO will be so immense, some 700 petabytes per year, that the creation of a network of distributed interoperable processing centres around the globe (the so-called SKA Regional Centres, SRCs) is essential. This network is specifically designed to distribute the data generated by SKAO and to provide computational resources and support to the international astronomical community. The IAA-CSIC leads the initiative for the development of the Spanish SKA Regional Centre (espSRC), whose first prototype is fully functional from 2021.

"The aim of CSIC4SKA is to provide the CSIC research community with a set of tools to simulate a future SKAO observation of different astronomical objects" explains Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro, researcher at IAA-CSIC and main coordinator of the project. "The astronomical community will be able to "observe" these targets and catalogues as if they were doing it with the "eyes" of the SKAO. In addition, all related software will be developed under Open Science principles".

The espSRC will be one of nine international nodes integrated in the first version of the SKA Regional Centres network. "Another important aspect of CSIC4SKA will be to look for a suitable collaboration model with national computing service providers in the framework of the development of espSRC," says Susana Sánchez, technical coordinator of espSRC. In addition, technical interfaces and organisational models for integrating high-performance computing (HPC) resources within espSRC.1 will be evaluated.

"CSIC4SKA will take advantage of all the experience acquired by the IAA-CSIC to consolidate CSIC's position in SKAO during the establishment of the network of Regional Centres, a crucial phase in the construction of this unique infrastructure in the history of mankind," concludes Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro.



epSRC prototype at the IAA-CSIC. Credit: Marcos Villaverde


More info: 
  • Marcos Villaverde (IAA-CSIC) -