Postion Summary:

This role involves offering project management services to SARAO program managers and management for Engineering, Technology Research, and Development initiatives aimed at facilitating the construction of the major Radio Astronomy facilities. This includes leading Technology Research and Development projects throughout the entire project lifecycle, adhering to SARAO’s established procedures and processes, which include project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, controlling, and closing phases. In addition to this, the responsibilities also encompass generating all essential project management documents, such as Project Management plans, ancillary plans, budgets, schedules, resource allocation, and progress reports as needed. The role includes delivering specific projects in accordance with contractual agreements (i.e. NEC4, FIDIC, GCC).

Key Responsibilities:

  • Provide project management services to SARAO program managers and management in the execution of Technology Research and Development projects to support the construction of major Radio Astronomy facilities
  • Project Planning & Integration: Identify project deliverables and develop success criteria; Develop project implementation plan and its subsidiary plans; Establish performance measurement baselines (scope, schedule, cost, resources & quality); Lead various reviews and acquire project plan approval
  • Project Execution: Direct and manage project work; Manage project deliverables; Acquire resources, develop and manage teams; Conduct Procurement according to established NRF policy and procedure; Contract Management according to established SARAO and SKAO procedures; [GCC, FIDIC, NEC4 (CEMAR)]; Manage quality; Implement risk responses; Manage communications; Manage stakeholder engagement; Verify and validate project deliverables
  • Effectively oversee and manage project work, including baseline analysis, stakeholder engagement, risk monitoring, scope control, schedule management, cost control, resource management, procurement, quality assurance, and integrated change control
  • Conduct lessons learned, review project performance, finalize agreements, manage the transition of the final product, service, or result, and formally close the project or phase
  • Experience in delivering projects following Traditional, Agile, and/or Hybrid project management approaches and managing remote teams
  • Monthly reporting on the project status to Programme Managers and Senior Management
  • Conduct Procurement according to established NRF policy and procedure
  • Contribute towards the development and/or maintenance of project management framework and processes
  • Support the developmental plan of junior project managers and graduate trainees

Key Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Engineering or an equivalent honours degree in a suitable Engineering field
  • ECSA or equivalent professional registration (Advantageous)
  • NEC Contract Management


  • At least 8 years experience in a project management role with demonstrated successful project delivery
  • At least 3 years of contract management experience in accordance with NEC4 (preferred) and/or NEC3 contracts
  • Planning and executing large-scale projects within the Engineering, Technology Research and Development environment
  • Extensive track record in successfully executing and managing large-scale engineering and construction projects, including contract
  • management expertise
  • Sound knowledge of project planning tools (Primavera, MS Project)


  • Project Management theory, principles, standards, and best practice
  • A Project Management Office (PMO) and/or EPCM environment
  • Procurement and Contract Management
  • Project Estimation
  • Public Finance Management Act

Additional Notes:

  • Strong decision-making
  • Excellent communication – both verbal and written, in English
  • Good analytical and planning skills
  • Efficiency in a high-pressure environment
  • Willingness to work outside normal hours
  • Proactive
  • Capable of dealing with uncertain environments and reducing uncertainty
  • Problem-solving
  • No constraints on ability to travel within South Africa and Internationally

The NRF website provides more details on the initiatives and activities.

Applicants should submit a comprehensive CV by registering and apply online through the NRF Recruitment and Selection Portal.

Applications should be accompanied by a letter of motivation indicating the applicant’s suitability for the position. The names and contact details of at least three referees should be provided.

Desired Skills:

  • Skilled in applied field of position
  • Knowledge to be relevant
  • Responsible in performing duties

About The Employer:

The National Research Foundation (NRF) supports and promotes research and human capital development through funding, the provision of National Research Facilities and science outreach platforms and programmes to the broader community in all fields of science and technology, including natural sciences, engineering, social sciences and humanities.

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 incorporates radio astronomy instruments and programmes such as the MeerKAT telescope 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.

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