SKA-Mid Head of Science Operations

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Saturday, October 29, 2022
Archive Date: 
Saturday, November 26, 2022
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Management
Institution Classification/Type: 
SKA Observatory
Cape Town
Western Cape
South Africa
Job Announcement Text: 

A unique opportunity for an experienced radio astronomer with significant Observatory experience to guide the operational planning and commissioning of the SKA-Mid Telescope and shape the strategic direction of the SKA-Mid Science Operations as we head towards full operations.

Up to 25% of time in this role will be available for personal scientific research.

In line with the SKAO commitment to become an employer of choice for women in STEM we strongly encourage applications from women for this role. We offer family friendly policies and the ability to work flexibly to support this aim. Those applicants wishing to explore flexible working are openly encouraged to discuss their individual need for flexibility or specific working patterns during the recruitment process.


  • Continually refine and provide input to the strategic direction of the SKA-Mid Science Operations team to support the SKAO in the delivery of an efficient and effective science program.
  • Recruit and manage a high performing and inclusive team of operations scientists, telescope operators and data analysts, and ensure the development of the Science Operations Group, motivating and mentoring staff to meet the current and future requirements of the Observatory.
  • Collaborate closely with SARAO in the management and development of SARAO-employed staff in the Science Operations Group.
  • Work as one of the senior staff of the SKAO in South Africa, as part of the SKA-Mid Management Team, contributing to the overall operations of SKA Mid.
  • Work collaboratively with the Heads of Science Operations in the UK and Australia through a Science Operations functional group to deliver a cohesive Science Operations vision. This is likely to require some travel to both GHQ in the UK and the SKA-Low Science Operations Center in Australia.
  • In collaboration with the Science Operations team in the UK, make a leading contribution to the development and continual refinement of the Mid operations, commissioning and science verification plans, and in defining the requirements for early array releases and test procedures.
  • Lead the SKA-Mid Science Operations Group in their contribution to SKA commissioning, working with the commissioning team in the UK.
  • Implement and effectively deliver SKA-Mid science verification and operations, as the arrays are handed over from construction to operations.
  • Effectively interface with the SKA user community, promote SKAO activities, gather community feedback, influence where appropriate, and facilitate appropriate support through the SKAO Helpdesk and other activities.
  • Take a leading role directing the development of software required for Science Operations (controls, data acquisition, observation management),  and make requests for new features, some of which may be telescope specific.
  • Work closely with engineering teams to monitor and evaluate telescope performance to ensure agreed SKA data quality standards are met.
  • Support SKAO-specific SKA Regional Centre operations and serve as point of contact for the local SKA Regional Centre.
  • Optionally undertake a programme of personal scientific research up to 25% of employed hours and appropriately enable other science-focussed staff to do the same.
  • Communicate openly, effectively and respectfully with internal and external stakeholders in the interest of good business practice, collaboration and enhancement of SKAO’s reputation.

For full details & to apply visit:

Included Benefits: 

ZAR 945,000 - 1,100,000 (basic salary) depending on experience, plus excellent benefits

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Selection Deadline: 
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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