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Helping to build Australia’s SKA telescope

Australian businesses have the chance to join in building a world-class radio telescope in Western Australia.

If you are interested in supplying this project, you can find all the information and support you need on this page. This includes help navigating the procurement process and winning work.

Supply the SKA project

Australia will host the low-frequency array, SKA-Low, in remote Western Australia. This multi-year project:

  • starts construction in late 2021 to early 2022
  • is expected to finish construction and start operations in 2029.

Contracts will include work in infrastructure and antenna array deployment, as well as opportunities throughout the 50-year operations phase.

Initial infrastructure includes:

  • constructing a temporary accommodation facility
  • ground preparation, access roads, an airstrip, and power and fibre networks
  • constructing radio frequency interference shielded buildings.

Some work packages are reserved for Australian businesses, in proportion to our contribution to the project. Others will be sourced globally.

Understand the SKAO procurement process

The international SKA Observatory (SKAO) is responsible for procurement during the construction and operation phases.

Depending on the value of the opportunity, the SKAO will invite suppliers to tender or quote. Before you are invited to tender, you will need to respond to a market survey (expression of interest) and pre-qualify.

The SKAO will evaluate offers in 2 ways:

  • For relatively straightforward offers for commodity goods or basic services, the SKAO will choose the lowest-priced offer that achieves predetermined technical standards.
  • For complex, high-value contracts, particularly significant design elements, services and works, the SKAO will weigh technical requirements and price, and choose the offer with the highest score.

Read more about the procurement process and requirements on the SKAO website

Find opportunities for Australian suppliers

You can access all procurement opportunities on the SKAO supplier procurement web portal.

You need to create an account to submit offers, monitor procurements and get notifications. Let us know if you need help navigating the portal. Email ska.ilo [at] industry.gov.au for assistance.

Partial-scope opportunities

You can also nominate interest in partial-scope elements via the SKA listing on the ICN Gateway.

We aim to connect companies interested in partial-scope supply with prime contractors. Please note there are no guarantees.

Get help from the Australian SKA Office and Industry Liaison Officer

The Australian SKA Office coordinates Australia’s involvement in the SKA project with support from the Australian Industry Liaison Officer (ILO). The ILO also:

  • promotes opportunities to Australian industries
  • promotes Australian suppliers to the SKAO
  • helps build business-to-business and business-to-research sector connections
  • develops business capability.

Email ska.ilo [at] industry.gov.au

Build your capability with the SKA SMART Project

Working on large projects brings unique opportunities and challenges. The Supplying the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) SMART Project helps Australian small to medium enterprises (SMEs) navigate the complexity of the international mega-science project environment.

The Australian ILO facilitates the SMART Projects and Supply Chains service as part of the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs’ Programme.

Development opportunities

As a participating business, you can develop capabilities to become more competitive in this environment, including:

  • assessing major project opportunities
  • winning major project work
  • effectively supplying and collaborating within major projects.

The focus is on current SKA project opportunities. But the capabilities you develop will also help you pursue:

  • future SKA telescope operations and maintenance work
  • other high-value, strategic or mega-science projects.

Grant opportunities

You may be able to access a matched Growth Grant of up to $20,000 to action recommendations from your participation in the project.

Project activities

The Australian ILO will provide advice, guidance and network connections. Activities are tailored to your business, experience with major projects, potential position in the SKA project supply chain, and time constraints. These include:

  • self-assessment tools
  • workshops or webinars
  • one-on-one guidance.

Eligibility requirements

Businesses must meet the Entrepreneur’s Programme eligibility requirements for SMART Projects and Supply Chains. If you have any questions about eligibility email EPGrowthSupport [at] industry.gov.au or phone 1800 793 261.

Participating in the project

To join the SKA SMART Project, you need to apply directly to our ILO. Email ska.ilo [at] industry.gov.au

Access the SKA network and get updates

Join the Australasian SKA Industry Cluster (ASKAIC) for project updates, networking and other opportunities. It’s a network of Australasian companies and stakeholders interested in the SKA project.

Contact us

Email Australia’s SKA Industry Liaison Officer: ska.ilo [at] industry.gov.au

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Last updated: 20 July 2021

Content ID: 69709