Senior Project Manager SKA-Mid (10131)

At the SKAO we are coordinating a global effort to deliver one fo the largest science facilities on the planet. The SKAO telescopes will be next-generation instruments that will help to answer key questions in astrophysics, drive technological innovation and support human capital development. 

More than a dozen partner countries and over a thousand scientists and engineers around the world are already on board, making the SKA project an international collaboration like no other, and one of the most ambitious science and engineering endeavours of the 21st century.

Headquartered in the UK, with telescope sites in Australia and South Africa, the SKAO will be one observatory operating two telescopes, an endeavour spanning three continents. Multinational by design, in early 2021 the SKAO became an intergovernmental organisation, one of only a select handful of science infrastructures to do so worldwide.

Our Global HQ is located near the buzzing city of Manchester at the historic Jodrell Bank Observatory, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Cheshire countryside. It is home to a rapidly expanding international team of more than a hundred, working in a highly collaborative and inclusive way, in coordination with SKAO teams in Australia and South Africa as part of a global astronomy and engineering community.

Being part of Team SKA means contributing to something extraordinary: a uniquely exciting project to advance human knowledge that will last for decades. In return, we offer a diverse multicultural working environment, 30 days annual leave plus public holidays, a generous pension scheme, regular social events, a family-friendly environment and much more. Come and join us!

Senior Project Manager SKA-Mid

A unique opportunity for an experienced project manager who enjoys delivering complex engineering projects with international teams in a multicultural environment.

Job Location
UK with frequent international travel
Area / Department
Engineering and Project Management
Contract Type
Competitive salary with generous pension and leave benefits
Closing Date
Ref No

The Role

The Senior Project Manager SKA-Mid will be responsible for the overall delivery of the SKA1-Mid telescope facility to the agreed plan. The SKA1-Mid telescope facility includes over 130 dishes as well as the networking and processing equipment, software and infrastructure needed to support them.

The Senior Project Manager SKA-Mid will provide guidance to the delivery teams in the management of external contract products and services through to acceptance, leading on all status reporting, planning and control (cost, schedule, scope, quality, risk, issue, safety and change management) for the SKA1-Mid facility and ensuring that all stakeholders are appropriately engaged and informed.

Reporting to the Head of Project Management, the Senior Project Manager SKA-Mid will work closely with the Programme Director and lead the Mid Telescope Delivery Team, which is the highest management authority for the facility level of the SKA Observatory and solution level for software development.

The successful candidate will be organised, detail oriented, pragmatic and mission-focused, will enjoy managing, planning, coordinating and aligning roadmaps with multinational teams and stakeholders, and will have the drive and capability to ensure that the SKA1-Mid telescope is delivered as planned.

The role is based in the UK but the post holder will be expected to travel nationally and internationally.

Full-time hours will be 35 hours per week and flexible working may be considered compatible with reviews, milestones and sites activities.

Key Responsibilities, Accountabilities and Duties

The Senior Project Manager SKA-Mid will:

  • Represent the SKA1-Mid facility at Observatory level internally and externally;
  • Lead the remaining Procurement Preparation activities for the SKA1-Mid telescope;
  • Work with procurement specialists and members of the Assurance and Operations teams as needed;
  • Lead the matrixed SKA1-Mid project team;
  • Line manage Project Managers dedicated to Mid and matrix manage others involved in the delivery of both telescopes, as appropriate;
  • During the Construction stage, oversee the management of the SKA1-Mid construction contracts;
  • Ensure project controls implementation and delivery of SKA1-Mid to the expected cost, time and quality parameters;
  • Ensure all stakeholders are appropriately engaged and informed;
  • Successfully deliver the SKA1-Mid telescope and handover to Operations;
  • Undertake the necessary training in order to perform in their role successfully (e.g. NEC contracts, occupational health and safety, etc.);
  • Undertake any other reasonable duties as directed by the Head of Project Management or a member of the SKA Observatory Senior Leadership Team;
  • Undertake frequent travel to the SKA telescope site in South Africa and occasional international travel to contractor sites (usually for one week 5-6 times a year).

Mandatory Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • 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 of complex engineering projects in a multi-disciplinary, international setting (typically at least 10 years);
  • Experience of successfully managing contract deliveries as client or contractor;
  • Experience of project management of engineering projects within a radio astronomy/telecommunications/defence/space or systems development environment;
  • Ability to learn and embrace new technologies and use hybrid waterfall and agile delivery methodologies;
  • Strong analytical and organisational skills;
  • People management and team leadership skills with experience of working collaboratively with geographically dispersed teams over multiple companies and time-zones;
  • Experience in leading professional staff/project team with the ability to coach and mentor;
  • Ability to influence and change behaviour through effective relationship building;
  • Fluent in the English language with excellent oral and written communication skills;
  • Flexible team player who is adaptable to change;
  • Willingness to travel nationally and internationally as required (usually for one week 5-6 times a year).

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Post-graduate qualification in management, engineering or physical sciences;
  • Experience of delivery of engineering projects in Southern Africa;
  • Experience in NEC contracting;
  • Experience in large scale science infrastructure projects;
  • Experience with project management tools such as Primavera or Microsoft Project and with collaboration tools such as Confluence, Jira, G-Suite, Miro etc.
  • Familiarity with the formalism for, and requirements of, quality control environments such as ISO9001.

Equality Diversity and Inclusion Statement

SKA Observatory recognises that our diversity is a strength. We aim to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone feels they belong, and diverse perspectives and ideas thrive. As such, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion are at the core of SKA Observatory’s agenda.

Our aim to is recruit and retain the most talented individuals, regardless of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, nationality or background. 

 Women have traditionally been under-represented in the fields of science and engineering; SKA Observatory 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.

SKA Observatory welcome all candidates, especially those from member countries.

The “How to Apply” information contained within the SKA Observatory recruitment portal provides more detail regarding our application and selection approach.