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New centre next step towards SKA

THE opening of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research at the University of Western Australia this week is the next step towards WA potentially securing the $2.5 billion Square Kilometre Array project.

Premier Colin Barnett said ICRAR, a joint venture between UWA and Curtin University with research nodes at both universities, would attract more than 30 new scientists and engineers to Perth and play a significant role in the realisation of one of the world's biggest science project involving 19 collaborating nations.

"The commodities of the 21st century will be food, energy and ideas," Mr Barnett said.

"Developing the scientific community and industry in WA with projects like this will help build a smarter Western Australia.

"The state government has invested $20 million to help establish this truly collaborative centre that will create significant benefits for WA."

Mr Barnett said ICRAR, which will research astronomical science and technologies, is one of the four critical elements to secure the SKA along with Australia's recent partnership with New Zealand in a joint bid to host the SKA, known as anzSKA, the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory and the $80 million Pawsey High Performance Computing Centre for SKA Research.

ICRAR will be led by director Peter Quinn and deputy-directors Steven Tingay, Lister Staveley-Smith and Peter Hall.

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