Findings worth tuning into.

Finalist for the 2023 Engagement Australia Excellence Awards and Curtin Global Awards

The MWA Collaboration has been listed as a finalist for multiple awards: the 2023 Curtin Global Awards, in the category impactful collaboration, and the 2023 Engagement Australia Excellence Awards, in the category Excellence in International Engagement. This category recognises “outstanding international collaborations that raise the profile of tertiary education and make a substantial difference to communities both overseas and in Australia and New Zealand”.

The MWA project is an international collaboration led by Curtin University, to construct and operate a low-frequency radio telescope. This year, we celebrate a decade of telescope operations, and the numerous scientific achievements of the MWA’s diverse researchers and collaborators, including its governing collaborators (Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States) and individual contributors from Europe, North America, the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific, South Asia, and South Africa. As a precursor facility for the much larger future Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the MWA sustains a diverse, inclusive and international research culture, and supports a training ground for students and researchers who will use the SKA-Low telescope once its construction is complete on Australian soil. The MWA has produced (globally) 33 PhD, 4 Masters and 6 Honours theses, with 17 more student projects underway. Many graduates have been afforded opportunities for global mobility and research through their MWA involvement.

While the MWA and the SKA have been designed for astrophysics research that expands our knowledge of the Universe, they also provide a focal point for upskilling the population and exist within the broader space-based economy. MWA technologies, and the skill-sets generated, are relevant across many sectors of the economy, including earth observation, improving agricultural, water, and environmental management, to space situational awareness and exploration, and telecommunications satellite infrastructure and positioning (GPS) technologies. Ernst and Young has modelled the significant economic and social benefit the MWA has brought to the nation, determining that the $34.8 million Australia has invested in the project to date has driven an $81.1 million uplift to our Gross Domestic Product.

Situated on Wajarri Yamaji country in the Murchison region of Western Australia, the MWA collaboration respects and celebrates the ancient cultural wisdom of Indigenous astronomers is a core focus of the MWA collaboration. “Ilgarijiri – Things Belonging to the Sky”, a collaboration between the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) and artists from Yamaji Art, was motivated by the MWA. The project resulted in sell-out art exhibitions around the world, raising significant funds for the Yamaji Art community. Building on Ilgarijiri, the creation of the ‘Star Dreaming’ film with direct contribution from the MWA Director, Professor Steven Tingay, brought together storytelling between modern scientific astronomy and the oldest living culture of Australia’s First Nations people.

Not only is the MWA telling us more than we’ve ever known about the first stars and galaxies formed more than 13 billion years ago, it’s also an international success story that demonstrates what can be achieved when the world’s subject matter experts engage and collaborate across science, engineering, computing and education. With a renewed focus on astronomy and space science in the public consciousness, the MWA is proud to make children look upwards and consider more distant horizons.

To view the full list of Engagement Australia finalists, head to: 


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