BRICS member countries to focus on collaboration in astronomy

Astronomers from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) will meet in Durban from 29 to 30 October to discuss new areas of cooperation.


The BRICS Astronomy Workshop is held under the umbrella of the BRICS Astronomy Working Group, which is led by South Africa and comprises government officials and experts leading astronomy in the five BRICS countries.


The workshop is the latest of a series of events to be hosted by South Africa following its assumption of the BRICS Presidency in January.  In the lead-up to the 10th BRICS Summit in July, the Department of Science and Technology hosted a BRICS forum for young scientists, followed by a meeting of BRICS ministers of science, technology and innovation.


The BRICS Astronomy Working Group seeks to promote cooperation in astronomy to support the development of astronomical sciences, human capital, new technologies and applications. The group's long-term goal is to develop a flagship project such as a joint BRICS instrumentation and telescope project, and the BRICS Astronomy Workshop provides a platform for the countries to work on project proposals.


At its previous meeting in India last year, the working group signed the 2017-2020 BRICS Astronomy Framework for Scientific Cooperation. The framework defines priority areas of cooperation, including big data, astrophysics, cosmology, and galaxy formation and evolution.


While all the BRICS countries have a tradition of excellence astronomy, with many scientists making important contributions to the field over the years, South Africa was a natural choice to lead the working group, having won the bid to co-host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).


There is already strong cooperation in astronomy among BRICS countries. South Africa, China and India are members of the SKA Organisation. South Africa's MeerKAT radio telescope, China's Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), and India's Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) have formed the basis for increasing collaboration among scientists and engineers from the three countries. And China, India and Russia have significant space and astronomy programmes that could benefit Brazil and South Africa.


Details of the event:


DATE:       29 to 30 October 2018

VENUE:    Protea Hotel, Umhlanga

TIME:        09:00 – 17:00


For media attendance and enquiries, please contact Veronica Mohapeloa at 083 400 5750 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or Thabang Setlhare at 072 659 9690 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Issued by the Department of Science and Technology


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