SKAO Global Headquarters, UK, Wednesday 28 April 2021 – The newly born SKA Observatory (SKAO) has unveiled its brand following approval by the SKAO Council at its second meeting today.
The brand launch signals a new chapter in the SKA Project’s history, after the SKAO officially came into being as an intergovernmental organisation on 15 January 2021. Following several years of design work, the newly created Observatory will oversee the construction and operation of two telescopes over the next decade. The SKAO’s telescopes will be the two most advanced radio telescope networks on Earth and promise to answer fundamental questions about the Universe.
The SKAO’s mission is to build and operate cutting-edge radio telescopes to transform our understanding of the Universe, and deliver benefits to society through global collaboration and innovation.
– SKAO Mission Statement
A detailed Brand Book outlines the Observatory’s vision, its mission and the values that define its identity and make it unique: diversity and inclusion, excellence, collaboration, creativity and innovation, and sustainability, as well as the logo and visual identity that stem from these.
These guiding principles will lead the delivery of the Project, but also how the Observatory conducts its activities and relationships with its many stakeholders.
“The SKAO brand unveiled today befits the scale and ambition of the SKA Project, and defines our vision for our impact on the world, our mission as a world-leading Observatory, and our core values,” says SKAO Director-General Prof. Philip Diamond. “All these elements will guide us as we embark on this exciting new decade for the project towards delivering world-class science that will transform our understanding of the Universe.”
The current SKA brand was developed in 2011 when the SKA Organisation was formed to oversee the pre-construction activities for the SKA Project. It was itself a modernisation of the original SKA brand developed in 2001 from a community competition. These two decades of work have seen the SKA Project grow monumentally in scope and ambition and go through two major changes, from a community-driven and scientist-led collaboration of institutes to a company backed by funding agencies and now to an intergovernmental organisation established and funded by sovereign states. The SKAO now joins a select group of intergovernmental organisations dedicated to fundamental research, and is only the second such organisation to be dedicated to astronomy. The brand launch coincides with the official transition of the current entity (the SKA Organisation) from a limited company to an intergovernmental organisation on 1 May.
Undertaken as a collaborative process over a five-year period, the brand work was led by SKAO communications professionals consulting more than 400 stakeholders in 40 countries, including colleagues from partner organisations, SKAO governance bodies, the professional astronomy community, engineers working on the project, SKAO staff, science and astronomy communicators, and members of the public. It is the first time in the Project’s 30-year history such extensive analysis has been undertaken, an essential process as the SKA Project now enters a critical chapter with the start of construction activities in the next few months.
“We wanted this process to be as inclusive as possible from the start, to reflect collectively on the fundamentals of our new observatory: why does this international endeavour exist? What are we hoping to achieve together? And how will we be contributing to society? None of these things are necessarily self-evident, as with our many stakeholders, the SKA Project is many things to many people,” says William Garnier, the SKAO’s Director of Communications.
“I am extremely pleased with where we landed, and feel this brand we are launching today truly reflects who we are and who we are meant to become as a global observatory. We would really like to thank all stakeholders for their valuable inputs, including our partners at the intergovernmental organisations CERN, ESO, ESA and EMBL, as well as UK Research and Innovation, the Royal Astronomical Society and Vera Rubin Observatory, for their help and advice during this process.”
Read our Brand FAQ to learn more about this change
Read our Brand Book for full details on the SKAO brand
About the SKAO
The SKAO, formally known as the SKA Observatory, is a global collaboration of Member States whose mission is to build and operate cutting-edge radio telescopes to transform our understanding of the Universe, and deliver benefits to society through global collaboration and innovation.
Headquartered in the UK, its two telescope arrays will be constructed in Australia and South Africa and be the two most advanced radio telescope networks on Earth. A later expansion is envisioned in both countries and other African partner countries. Together with other state-of-the-art research facilities, the SKAO’s telescopes will explore the unknown frontiers of science and deepen our understanding of key processes, including the formation and evolution of galaxies, fundamental physics in extreme environments and the origins of life. Through the development of innovative technologies and its contribution to addressing societal challenges, the SKAO will play its part to address the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and deliver significant benefits across its membership and beyond.
Director of Communications, Outreach & Education