About Us

Our Purpose

To provide an enabling environment for research and knowledge production that promotes the strategic development of basic sciences and priority science areas, through science promotion, human capital development, and the provision of research infrastructure and relevant research support, in pursuit of South Africa's transition to a knowledge economy.


Mr Imraan Patel

Research Development and Support


Advances the development of a world class astronomy sector in South Africa in line with the objectives of the Multiwavelength Astronomy Strategy by putting in place relevant policies, strategies, funding instruments, partnerships and programmes in order to –

  • protect astronomical telescope sites;
  • maximise investment returns through scientific outputs and outreach, the development of requisite human capital, socio-economic benefits, innovations, industrial capabilities and community upliftment;
  • contribute to the development of astronomy in Africa.

The SKA Observatory (SKAO) was established as an intergovernmental treaty organisation in February 2021.  It is responsible for the construction and operation of the SKA telescope in both South Africa and Australia.  Construction activities for the SKA telescope commenced in July 2021 and will continue until 2029.  About 133 dishes will be added to the current 64-dish MeerKAT to produce the SKA Mid-Array telescope in South Africa.

The chief directorate has two directorates managing thematic priorities aligned to its focus areas, namely, Multiwavelength Astronomy and the Astronomy Management Authority.