Senior Project Manager for the SKA1-Mid Telescope

SK11 9DL, Jodrell Bank, Macclesfield
Competitive salary plus flexible benefits
03 Jan 2018
03 Feb 2018
Job Function
Project Manager
Contract Type
Full Time

Reference: SPM/01

Reports To: Head of Project Management Group

Location: SKA HQ, Jodrell Bank, Cheshire, UK, with significant time spent in South Africa

Closing Date for applications: Closing date for receipt of completed applications is 4th February 2018.  For details of how to apply please see below.

Organisation and Project Background

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a global project to build a multi-purpose radio telescope that will play a major role in answering key questions in modern astrophysics and cosmology.  Ten governments are now participating in the project, with others engaged in discussions regarding possible membership.  Over the next few months, this global headquarters will expand with the construction of an extension to the existing building to accommodate the additional staff needed for the Construction and Operations phases of the SKA telescope facilities that will ultimately be located in South Africa and Australia. Negotiations are currently underway between the governments of SKA member countries with the aim of establishing the SKA as an Inter-Governmental Organisation (IGO).  These negotiations are expected to be concluded in 2018 and the IGO to be established thereafter.



SKA Organisation is currently co-ordinating the design activities in the ‘Pre-Construction’ phase of the project.  The company leads the SKA system design and oversees the detailed design being undertaken by globally distributed design consortia. These design workpackages are due to conclude in 2018 with Critical Design Reviews and then the project will proceed to a Procurement Preparation phase and then the SKA1 Construction phase.

The Role

The SKA Organisation Project Managers report to the SKA Head of Project Management Group and are responsible for the overall management, control and successful delivery of the specific design work packages under their stewardship in Pre-Construction.  In the Procurement Preparation phase they will then be responsible for managing the creation of procurement packs for the delivery of their assigned parts of the construction project, and will assist in the assessment of bids and contract negotiation.  In Construction they will then manage these contracts through to successful completion.  The Project Managers will form the primary managerial link between the SKA Organisation and the contractors.

This Senior PM role will be specifically managing the delivery of the SKA1-Mid telescope, comprising over 130 dishes and the networking and processing equipment, software and infrastructure needed to support them, and so experience of managing engineering projects is essential.  It is expected that the post holder will be based in South Africa for significant periods of time.

Within the SKA Organisation, the successful applicant will work closely with other project managers, engineers, scientists and operations planners. He/she will lead a matrixed team and co-ordinate their efforts to advise and support the contractors engaged in the delivery of SKA1-Mid.

Although the primary focus of the role will be the management effort of the SKA1-Mid telescope, he/she will also be required to actively participate and support the SKA Head of Project Management Group and the SKA Programme Director in all aspects of the overall project management and control. He/she will ensure that the SKA1-Mid project management products are integrated into the project level tools and systems for monitoring and reporting, resource management, issue resolution, risk management, configuration management and review.

Because of the distributed nature of the SKA project and the matrix organisation used within SKA Organisation, the communication and interaction with the contractors and other project managers and engineers will be an important aspect of the Senior Project Manager’s responsibilities.

The Senior Project Manager for SKA1-Mid will be the person who has the drive and the capability to ensure that the SKA1-Mid telescope is delivered to time, cost and quality. This will include contributing to the final stages of the Pre-Construction phase in which the Construction Plan and Proposal are developed and submitted for approval, the procurement phase and then the delivery of the full SKA1-Mid Construction phase including handover to operations.

Key Duties, Accountabilities and Responsibilities

The post holder will:

  • Contribute to the final stages of the Pre-Construction phase, ensuring the SKA1-Mid telescope is accurately represented in the Construction Plan and Proposal;
  • Lead the work on the SKA1-Mid Early Production Array, where this has been approved;
  • Lead the Procurement Preparation activities for the SKA1-Mid telescope;
  • Deliver the SKA1-Mid telescope and successfully handover to operations;
  • Lead the matrixed SKA1-Mid project team at SKA HQ;
  • Oversee the management of the SKA1-Mid construction contracts;
  • Ensure project controls implemented for SKA1-Mid such that it is delivered to the expected cost, time and quality and stakeholders are appropriately engaged;
  • Travel, as required, to any of the SKA countries and elsewhere as required.

Mandatory Qualifications, Experience and Knowledge:

  • Recognised university degree-level education/training in engineering or physical sciences;
  • Membership of, or eligibility for membership of, recognised national or international project management and/or engineering institutes;
  • A proven track record of managing delivery in multi-disciplinary, multi-national projects;
  • Experience of working collaboratively with geographically dispersed teams;
  • Experience of project management of engineering projects; and
  • Good English oral and written communication skills.

Desirable Qualifications, Experience and Knowledge:

  • Post-graduate qualification in management, engineering or physical sciences;
  • Experience in large scale science infrastructure projects;
  • Industry experience, and/or a track record in successful collaborative links with industry; and
  • Familiarity with the formalism for, and requirements of, quality control environments such as ISO9001.

In addition, the role will be required to:

  • Undertake training in the financial, occupational health and safety, and human resource management procedures applicable to the SKA or its partners.
  • Undertake any other reasonable duties as directed by the post holder’s line manager or a member of SKA Organisation Senior Leadership Team.

For more information on the SKA project visit The SKA Organisation offers a competitive salary, a generous company pension scheme and a flexible benefits package. The successful applicant’s workplace will be located at the SKA Office’s headquarters at Jodrell Bank with extensive time spent in South Africa.

How to apply:

Please send a CV and covering letter, including details of your current remuneration, to, quoting reference SPM/01.  Applications should include:

  • A summary of significant accomplishments and project experience, detailing how you meet the mandatory and desirable qualifications, experience and knowledge criteria;
  • The names of at least three professional referees, at least one of whom must be your current employer (or most recent employer if not working); and
  • Details of your current (or most recent) remuneration package.

Closing date for receipt of applications is 4th February 2018.

Equal Opportunities Statement

SKA Organisation is committed to being an equal opportunities employer. Our aim to is recruit and retain the most talented individuals, regardless of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion or nationality.

At all stages of the recruitment process and beyond, we strive to treat applicants and employees with a high standard of care, honesty and politeness.

Women have traditionally been under-represented in the fields of science and engineering; SKA Organisation welcomes and encourages female applicants.

Where applicants with a disability need facilities or adjustments to enable them to participate in the recruitment process, these will be provided. If you need equipment or adjustments to enable you to complete your application and/or attend an interview, then please let us know.

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