HartRAO is Hiring a Head of Operations


The Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) has an opening for a Head of Operations. The successful candidate will support, operate and maintain radio astronomy and space geodesy-related infrastructure and facilities to produce usable data. In addition, the head of operations will develop the personal and professional capability of the current and future operations’ division staff.

  • Master’s degree in science or engineering;
  • PhD in  science or engineering; and
  • Valid driver’s licence.
  • Masters’ degree with 15 years working experience in Astronomy or related environment; with a minimum of five years in a managerial capacity; 
  • PhD with ten years working experience in Astronomy or related environment; with a minimum of five years in a managerial capacity; and
  • Relevant leadership experience in a technical or scientific role.
Key responsibilities
  • Responsible for supporting the Deputy Managing Director in developing and directing strategy towards the growth and operation of the department;
  • Analysing large-scale science projects to determine the future trends, strategic direction and operational strategy;
  • Managing all strategic activities across the division;
  • Managing the divisional risk in line with the SARAO’s risk management processes;
  • Developing and implementing an annual plan for the Operations division;
  • Monitoring compliance with government regulations (such as OHS) and implementing appropriate actions;
  • Managing human resources, including development and succession planning;
  • Fostering an organisational culture that promotes ethical practices, integrity and a positive work climate, enabling the organisation to attract, retain and motivate a diverse group of quality employees;
  • Overseeing the review, implementation, and administration of all aspects of safety, health, environmental & quality assurance and radio frequency interference;
  • Overseeing the management and maintenance of facilities across all SARAO sites;
  • Developing, implementing and monitoring  budgets and ensuring that spending occurs in line with procedures and delegated authority; and
  • All other duties related to this role.
  • Knowledge and experience in Radio Astronomy;
  • Well-developed understanding of HR and financial management procedures; and
  • Knowledge of the business functions.
Desired Skills
  • Strategic thinker;
  • Excellent leadership qualities;
  • Strong mathematical literacy;
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills.
  • Ability to persuade, motivate and lead others;
  • High-level planning and organisational skills;
  • Well-developed analytical and problem-solving capability; and
  • Ability to communicate clearly on technical issues to non-specialist and senior-level audiences.

As a business unit of the NRF, SARAO is committed to employment equity, and the appointment will be made in line with the NRF Employment Equity Plan. Furthermore, SARAO reserves the right to amend or withdraw adverts at any time without notification. In addition, the closing date is the 26th of August, 2021.

About the Employer

The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) spearheads South Africa’s activities in the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope, commonly known as the SKA, in engineering, science and construction. SARAO is a national facility managed by the National Research Foundation, and it incorporates radio astronomy instruments and programmes such as the MeerKAT and KAT-7 telescopes in the Karoo, the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) in Gauteng, the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry (AVN) programme in nine African countries as well as the associated human capital development and commercialisation endeavours.

To apply for the position, kindly send your details here.

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