The SKA-France coordination

The SKA-France coordination was set up in the summer 2016 jointly by the Institute for Earth Sciences and Astronomy (CNRS/INSU), Paris Observatory, Côte d’Azur Observatory, Bordeaux University and Orléans University.

SKA-France has the specific responsibility to prepare and coordinate the French contributions to the international SKA Project in the period before the SKA construction phase. This includes the communication of technical, strategic, and political information amongst all the SKA participants in France.

The structure of SKA-France is based on:

  • a Board of Directors, made up of the directors of the institutes mentioned above, the Programme Officer responsible for SKA at CNRS/INSU and the Industrial Liaison Officer at CNRS/INSU. The Board is responsible for the strategiccoordination of activities related to SKA between the variousinstitutes involved in France;
  • a National Coordinator, who presides over the SKA-France Advisory Committee (see below) and coordinates the scientific, technical and industrial French contributions to SKA. The Board of Directors appointed Chiara Ferrari (astronomer at the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur) as theSKA-France Coordinator for a mandate of 3 years, beginning 1st July2016;
  • an Advisory Committee, made up of the SKA-France coordinator, a representative of French laboratories already involved inSKA developments, the director of theCNRS Action Spécifique SKA-LOFAR and the CNRS Industry Liaison Officer. The Committee’s main aim is to facilitate the communication between the variousscientific groups working in France on SKA.

SKA-France web page and monthly bulletin

Detailed information about the objectives and organisation of SKA-France, as well as events and news can be found at the SKA-France web page (whose home page is shown in the following image).

Starting from October 2016, a SKA-France bulletin is published every month, which is intended to keep the community updated about the development of the SKA project, the advancements of the SKA-France coordination and upcoming events.


Scientific and technological workshops

A First SKA French Industry Day was organised in Nice on December 2015 (see Since July 2016, SKA-France has started to organise focused industrial and technological workshops, whose main results are presented in detail on the SKA-France web page and very shortly summarised in the following:


Companies that have participated at the First SKA French Industry Day (December 12, 2015; Nice) and at the SKA-France meetings.

Imaging Processing & HPC

The French astronomical community has an expertise developed over many years in signal processing domain, widely exploited by observational projects in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. In recent years, unique algorithms have been conceived for radioastronomical interferometric data (calibration, imaging, deconvolution). Through our workshops, we have set up three working groups (Co-design; Parallelisation; Proof of concept) that will allow the collaboration of French researchers working on algorithm conception with main HPC companies, interested to exploit the largest global big-data challenge offered by the SKA.


Participants to the second SKA-France High-Performance Computing Workshop (Paris, September 9, 2016)


French companies play a leading role worldwide in the domain of green energy production, with important collaborations, in particular, with South Africa. Two workshops on this theme has allowed us to set the stage with the main French companies of the field. We have presented the SKA project, as well as its needs and possible issues related to energy production and, above all, storage in the South African and Australian deserts.

SKA highlight about the image processing work developed in France

The SKA Organisation has published a highlight about state-of-the-art algorithms developed in France on November 10, 2016, during the SKA 2016 meeting in Goa, India.

French teams from Observatoire de Paris, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, AIM Laboratory, ENS Cachan and Université Paris X are actively working on new generation algorithms for calibration and deconvolution of radio astronomical observations.

In collaboration with international teams from SKA South Africa and LOFAR Surveys, these algorithms have very successfully being applied to SKA precursor and pathfinder observations, allowing to get “super-resolution” maps of the observed radio sky, as well as a calibration strategy which is equivalent of adaptive optics for radio astronomy.


Results of classical (left) and new generation direction-dependent calibration (right; Tasse et al.) on a small portion of the so-called «Bootes field» observed for 8 hours with the LOFAR telescope at 150MHz (data courtesy: LOFAR Surveys, Röttgering et al.

The image above shows one of the results presented in the recent SKA highlight, for which full information are provided at the following links:

Report provided by Chiara Ferrari, Coordinator of SKA-France