COWI provides project consultancy services for two prestigious large telescope facilities

COWI, a leading Danish Consultancy company, has provided multidisciplinary economic, technical and organizational assessment advice to both ESO’s and GMTO’s extremely large telescope projects.

Building the world’s largest earth-based telescopes requires thorough analyses of the development project in order to achieve the ambitious anticipated results from the large investments involved. COWI possesses such expertise and, therefore, won tenders from ESO, and then later also from GMTO.

Consultancy and analysis covering a wide range of crucial aspects 

COWI carried out in-depth analysis for ESO (The European Southern Observatory) prior to the construction of what is planned to be the world’s largest telescope, the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). This consultancy covered many aspects, including financial basis, organizational structure, scheduling, quality assurance processes, and risk analysis of investments.

Recommended by ESO to their competitor

Shortly after, ESO’s American counterpart GMTO, needed a similar analysis for their own project, the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMTO). Although the two organizations, ESO and GMTO are competing with each other to be the first to launch their large telescope into full operation, it was ESO that recommended to GMTO that they attach COWI as their advisor for key project disciplines. Prior to final agreement with the GMT investors COWI completed a Cost and Organizational Review to comprehensively examine project cost information, including contingency estimates and schedules, as well as the GMTO organizational structure. 

“We see it as a special commendation of our work when a client recommends us to a competitor,” says Jens Ove Skjærbæk, Senior Consultant at COWI.

The ESO and GMTO contracts cement COWI’s reputation as a reliable and respected engineering and economics consultancy provider for Big Science development projects.

The GMT and E-ELT: The first of these to be completed will achieve the status of the world’s largest telescope – 3-4 times larger than current observation capacity. COWI has provided project analyses and consultancy for both facilities.

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