Hello, my name is Phil Diamond. I am a Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester and the Director of the Jodrell BankCentre for Astrophysics (JBCA).
JBCA is a group of 170 people, including students. We are based at three sites: the Alan Turing Building on the University campus in Manchester; Jodrell Bank Observatory and a small R&D group at Sackville Street also on the campus. We run MERLIN, the UK 's radio imaging facility, on behalf of STFC. MERLIN is undergoing an £8M upgrade involving the installation of a 600km dark fibre network and new broadband electronics; the new facility, e-MERLIN, is expected to be complete in 2009.
I am the Co-ordinator of RadioNet, an EC-funded Integrated Infrastructure Initiative for European radio astronomy.
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is the future of world radio astronomy. Institutes all around the world are engaged in the design and development of the SKA. I am the past Chairman of the International SKA Steering Committee (ISSC), and remain a member of the ISSC Executive Committee. A new development is the funding of the SKA Preparatory Phase proposal PrepSKA, for which I will be the Co-ordinator. PrepSKA begins in January 2008 and will, as one aspect of its co-ordinating activity, bring the SKA Programme Development Office and a team of engineers to the University of Manchester to produce the design for the SKA.