Australia wants Indian scientists to join them in building the "world's biggest" telescope, its minister for innovation, industry, science and research senator Kim Carr said on Monday.
"We want Indian scientists to participate in the prestigious project of world's largest telescope - Square Kilometre Array (SKA)," Carr told media.
The SKA would be a new generation radio telescope having a discovery potential 10,000 times greater than the best present day instruments. It will give astronomers remarkable insights into the formation of the early Universe, including the emergence of the first stars, galaxies and other structures, he said.
Australian astronomers are regularly using India's Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) located near Pune for observation for the last few years.
Carr will be talking to the Department of Science and Technology in New Delhi tomorrow for Indian participation in the SKA project.
Earlier this month, the Australian Government had announced $40.2 million to support the country's bid to host the world's biggest telescope.
The amount will be provided over four years to support Australia's bid to host SKA, in partnership with New Zealand.
This funding will assist Australia's bid and support pre-construction design and development work if the bid is successful, Carr said.
Recently, South Africa has agreed to join the project, he said.
Scientists and engineers from leading institutions in the world will work together on the SKA, estimated to be a USD 2.1 billion project, Carr said.
Talking about Australia-India cooperation on innovation, science and R&D, he said the recently established Australia India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF) of $130 million ($65 million from each country) has already worked on 90 different projects using $31 million in the fields of agriculture, water, energy, nanoscience, biotechnology to improve the standard of living of people.
"We are also trying to create a new broadband network for research students," he said adding 600 Indian students are doing PhD in different universities in Australia.