AUT radio astronomy makes finals of World Summit Award

06 Apr, 2011
AUT radio astronomy makes finals of World Summit Award

AUT University has made it to the finals of the World Summit Award for its work in radio astronomy.

AUT’s Institute of Radio Astronomy and Space Research (IRASR) will represent New Zealand in the e-Science and Technology category of the award which honours excellence in multimedia and e-content creation across more than 160 nations. The award has a special emphasis on projects which show the benefits of information and communication technology for the development of society at large.

The creation of AUT’s world-class radio astronomy observatory capable of doing modern e-Research is one of eight projects chosen to represent New Zealand at the finals to be judged in Hong Kong this month (April). 

As well as doing its own space research, the IRASR collaborates with international space organisations including NASA and the European and Japanese space agencies to observe and monitor interplanetary spacecraft and probes. It is also part of a joint bid with Australia’s CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA); an international megascience project to build the world’s most powerful radio telescope. The decision on whether SKA will be hosted in Australia and New Zealand or southern Africa will be made next year.

IRASR director Professor Sergei Gulyaev says the SKA project will drive technology development in antennas, fibre networks, signal processing and software and computing. Spin off innovations in these areas will benefit other systems that process large volumes of data. The design, construction and operation of the SKA has the potential to impact skills development in science, engineering and in associated industries not only in the host countries but in all project partners.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce congratulated the eight New Zealand organisations saying, “I am especially pleased to see projects that are taking advantage of our developing broadband infrastructure, like the AUT radio astronomical observatory.”


*    e-Science and Technology
AUT University has taken advantage of New Zealand’s remote location to boost the radio astronomical observational capability of New Zealand and Australia with its a world class observatory, utilising new fibre connections within New Zealand and across the Tasman Sea.

*    e-Culture and Heritage
Vaeggen (The WALL) is a massive but mobile interactive video installation showcasing the cultural past present and future of Copenhagen city created by the New Zealand Company Gibson Group.

*    e-Government and Institutions
The Land Use and Carbon Analysis System (LUCAS) is a Ministry for the Environment project that provides objective verifiable data to report on greenhouse gas emissions and removals that result from land use change.

*    e-Entertainment and Games
MiniMonos (little Monkeys in Spanish) is an online world where children learn about environmental issues. Developed in New Zealand it now boasts more than 100,000 members worldwide.

*    e-Health and Environment
SPARX is an animated 3D game designed to help young people combat depression. It has been developed by the University of Auckland, Ministry of Health and Media Interactive.
*    e-Business and Commerce
Areoscan is a web based service that enables the user to create a 3D model of any area or object using digital photographs for applications in surveying, architecture and design.

*    e-Inclusion and Participation
The Mixing Room, made by Lumen Digital and located at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, is a multi-user social experience where over young refugees tell their stories through art, film, poetry, performance and digital media.
*    e-Learning and Education
Designed by Kiwa Media for children s books, original images and illustrations, QBook uses touch-screen technology, as an interactive format offering instant translations into multi lingual voice narration.

More information on the World Summit Awards and New Zealand finalists is available at