The University of Western Australia has welcomed the State Government announcement of a $20 million international radio astronomy research centre on UWA's Perth campus.
In a joint venture with Curtin University of Technology, UWA will drive Australia's bid to be the site of a new radio telescope capable of seeing the early stages of the formation of galaxies, stars and planets.
The Centre will be led by Professor Peter Quinn, a Premier's fellow in astronomy, considered one of the world's foremost experts in astronomy and astrophysics.
UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Robson said the location of the centre was recognition of UWA's continuing commitment to outstanding research in support of the national bid for the Square Kilometre Array.
"Our research expertise, in particular the work of our Premier's fellows Professor Quinn and Professor Lister Staveley-Smith, is world-class. We look forward to collaborating with Curtin University of Technology in this internationally important venture," said Professor Robson.
"Our University will be making a funding commitment, valued at around $30 million, making this one of the largest hubs for research in radio astronomy in the world."
The two billion dollar Square Kilometre Array project, commonly referred to as SKA, will be the world's largest ground-based telescope array.
If won by Australia, the array would be based in the "radio-quiet" Murchison region, north-east of Geraldton.
Professor Robson said UWA was committed to the development of the region in which the SKA project would be housed if Western Australia won the bid and had visited Geraldton last week for talks with local government, educational and other groups.