Newton STFC-NARIT Capacity Building for Thai Radio Astronomy Phase 2

Project: Other

Project Details


The overall aim of our proposed project is to develop the human capital required to build, operate and fully exploit the science opportunities afforded by the Thai National Radio Telescope (TNRT). Thailand is planning a major investment in radio astronomy, with the development of a new 40m radio telescope and its integration into global VLBI networks such as the EVN, EAVN and LBA interferometers. This facility is a strategic priority for Thai research. A critical hurdle which must be overcome is to build the human capacity within Thailand to construct, operate, develop and exploit the Thai Radio Telescope. While the educational infrastructure is in place to deliver skilled Physics graduates and postgraduates to MSc and PhD level there is limited uptake of graduates into astronomy and even more limited uptake in radio astronomy. In this project we will undertake a training programme for Thai undergraduates, an bilateral exchange scheme between UK and Thai scientists and engineers, an extensive programme of technological development and skills transfer aimed at technologies and operational skills required for the TNRT, and a novel outreach programme designed to exploit Thailand's leadership in astronomy education and showcase the radio astronomy research that will be carried out by the TNRT. We aim to complete four work packages as follow:

Work Package 1: Knowledge and technical skills transfer for the TNRT. We will carry out a long-term and extensive technical exchange programme designed to give Thai scientists and engineers direct experience of building and operating cutting-edge instrumentation and VLBI facilities. The goal of this work package is to provide Thailand with the necessary skills to construct and operate their own world-class astronomical facility.

Work Package 2: Radio Astronomy Summer School for undergraduates. We will run a bespoke training course for Thai undergraduates to provide core skills training in astrophysics, radio astronomy, data reduction and analysis. This course is modelled on the successful training programme designed for the Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy project, although adapted to fit within the Thai undergraduate summer break. The goal of the summer school is to encourage the uptake of postgraduate study in radio astronomy or radio engineering.

Work Package 3: The Radio Sky. We will develop a novel outreach programme to showcase the forthcoming impact of Thai radio astronomy and the TNRT, exploiting Thailand's regional network of planetaria and central role in astronomy education. The goasl of this work package are to stimulate wider engagement in radio astronomy, increase the uptake of Thai students into STEM education, and train Thai astronomy educations and outreach specialists in radio astronomy.

Work Package 4: Bilateral exchange programme of scientific and outreach staff. We will run a continual exchange programme of scientific and outreach staff between the UK and Thailand throughout our project. We will focus on two key areas where UK and Thai strategic goals overlap: scientific exchanges to boost the existing Thai science base and foster UK-Thai collaboration and exchanges between Thai and UK astronomy outreach staff to identify outreach synergies and work on collaborative projects.
Effective start/end date1/04/1831/03/20


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