Chair of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) Executive Board

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Management
Institution Classification/Type: 
Murchison Widefield Array Executive Board
Western Australia
Job Announcement Text: 

The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is now seeking expressions of interest for the position of Chair of the Executive Board. Closing date 6 December 2019.

The Murchison Widefield Array

The MWA is a low-frequency radio telescope operating between 70 and 300 MHz. It is located at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Western Australia, about 350km northeast of Geraldton, Western Australia. The MWA is a precursor to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The instrument is operated by a consortium currently composed of 21 institutions from Australia, Canada, China, Japan, New Zealand and the United States, led by Curtin University in Australia.  The MWA Collaboration currently comprises some 270 individual scientists and engineers and spans a range of scientific and technical research programs in low frequency radio astronomy. 

Further details of the project can be found at 


The MWA is governed by an Executive Board comprising an independent Chair, and Board members drawn from the MWA member countries (currently 4 from Australia, 2 from China, and 1 each from Canada, US, Japan and New Zealand). The role of the Board is to oversee policy and provide strategic direction for the Collaboration. The Board, and in particular the Chair, have a close working relationship with the MWA Director, Program Manager, Principal Scientist and Principal Engineer. 

Role of Chair of the Board

The Board is seeking a Chair to facilitate the operation of the MWA Collaboration for 2020. This unpaid appointment is for one year, with the possibility of annual renewal. Ideally the appointment will commence in January 2020, though flexibility in the start date may be considered. As per the MWA Phase II Collaboration Agreement, the role of the Chair can either be drawn from the elected representatives of the Board, or as an independent Chair appointed externally from a member country. 

The role of the Chair encompasses the following:

  • Providing high-level strategic guidance for the project, including leadership on the implementation or revision of collaboration policies.
  • Ensuring the smooth functioning of the MWA Collaboration by working with national consortia in MWA member countries on their institutional membership, internal policies and future engagement with the project.
  • Negotiating the MWA membership terms for new and renewing MWA members as the project continues to expand.  
  • Arranging and chairing meetings of the Board. These include two full-day face-to-face meetings, one each in June and December, as well as 1-hour teleconferences on a periodic basis (currently held every six weeks). The Chair is required to attend the face-to-face meetings in person. The locations of these meetings will typically be in MWA member countries. Travel costs are not funded by the MWA project and are expected to be supported by the Board Chair’s employer.

The role is approximately a 0.1 FTE time commitment, though the workload is variable and requires some flexibility. The position is not remunerated and has historically been filled largely by individuals whose current employer consider such positions as part of their workload.



  • Familiarity with international astronomical collaborations is essential. 
  • The Chair must possess the ability to work with a culturally diverse collaboration of geographically distributed individuals.
  • The Chair must reside in one of the MWA member countries: currently Australia, Canada, China, Japan, New Zealand and the United States. 
  • The Chair must not be an employee of Curtin University, but there are no other restrictions on employment status. 

The MWA is a culturally diverse collaboration and the Board strongly encourages applications from minorities and women. 

Nominations Process

Expressions of Interest and a brief CV outlining relevant experience, should be sent to the current Chair, George Heald ( by December 6, 2019. 

Questions regarding any aspect of the role may also be directed to the current Board Chair.

Pay Compensation
Compensation Notes: 
This position is not remunerated.
Application Deadline: 
Monday, December 9, 2019
Selection Deadline: 
Friday, December 13, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
George Heald
Chair, MWA Executive Board
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
George Heald
MWA Board Chair application inquiry