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About & Contact


DARA Big Data postgraduate students with Takalani Nemaungani from the South African Government's Dept of Science & Innovation


DARA Big Data was born in 2017 out of an identified need for data science skills training in African countries, namely the countries that will be most impacted by the SKA (Square Kilometre Array) Telescope. This will be the world’s largest radio telescope when completed and will be partly situated in South Africa. Partner countries across Africa will then create a continental radio telescope network known as the African VLBI Network, or AVN. These countries are Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia


DARA Big Data’s remit is to equip students in those 8 countries with the skills to translate and analyse the huge amounts of data that will be produced by the telescope. These skills are applicable in many other areas; training covers not only astronomy but also agriculture, medical sciences and data-driven policy-making. The project is led by Prof Anna Scaife of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics (JBCA) at the University of Manchester, and works collaboratively with partner organisations in South Africa and Universities across the UK (Leeds, Hertfordshire, Sussex, York)

The project's aim is to ensure that African students can participate fully in the technological advances of what is often called the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR); the rapid global shift that extensively uses AI, robotics and the billions of smart devices connected to the ‘Internet of Things’. With intensive skills training young people across the continent will benefit greatly from the vast opportunities arising from both 4IR and the SKA.

  • For any enquiries please contact Linzi Stirrup (DARA Big Data project manager)

All content on this website written and/or edited by Linzi Stirrup. 

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