We are seeking to fill two positions, one as Director of the SKA-Low Telescope, the other as Director of SKA-Mid. This advert is for the Director of the SKA-Low Telescope.
The Director will establish and ultimately lead the operations of one of two SKA telescopes, a complex, high-tech, state-of-the art scientific facility, with staff and elements of the respective telescope systems located at a Science Operations Centre, an Engineering Operations Centre, a Science Processing Centre, and at the remote telescope site. The Telescope Director will have a high degree of autonomy, but the successful candidates will also be responsible for instilling a cohesive approach to Telescope operations, and will be an inclusive and collaborative leader.
Working initially as part of a small team based at the relevant SKA Science Operations Centre (SOC), the Telescope Director will lead a rapidly-growing cohort working at the SOC, the Engineering Operations Centre (EOC) and at the remote telescope site. The Telescope Director will be responsible for growing and implementing local operations activities according to the SKA Operations Plan, and will provide input to the continued evolution of the operational model of the Observatory as a whole.
During the Construction Phase, currently expected to last until 2028, the Telescope Director will work closely with the relevant Site Construction Director to ensure coordination of all SKAO activities. This period of overlap between the ramp up of the operations team and the extensive multi-national construction project will extend over nearly a decade, and the role of the Telescope Directors will be to establish the operational entities, more or less from scratch, managing a complex environment and set of relationships and stakeholders.
The Telescope Director will report to the Director of Operations, and will be a member of the SKAO Executive Group and the broader Senior Leadership Team (SLT). Once the Observatory enters the Operations Phase, the Telescope Director will be the most senior representative of the Observatory in the relevant Telescope Host Country.
The Telescope Director will direct the operations activities of all SKA staff based in the relevant telescope Host Country – comprising employees of SKAO and of the relevant partner organisation (CSIRO in the case of SKA-Low). The Telescope Director will be responsible for all in-country SKA operations of the SKA-Low Telescope, including the data flow and related systems, and will be accountable for their execution. The Telescope Director will be supported by a Telescope Deputy Director, who will be employed by the relevant partner organisation and will report to the Telescope Director. The Telescope Director and Telescope Deputy Director will be expected to work closely together.
The Telescope Director will work with the Director of Operations to ensure effective delivery of the SKA mission, the alignment of the operation of the relevant telescope with SKA Observatory policy and practice, and a high degree of consistency between the operations of the two SKA Telescopes. The Telescope Director will be a key player in ensuring the SKA Operations is consistent with the SKA ethos of One Observatory, Two Telescopes, Three Continents.
As a member of SKAO’s Executive Group, the Telescope Director will work closely with other senior SKA leaders to ensure a very close coupling between the Executive Group and telescope operations, will contribute to prioritisation and both strategic and operational planning of future development of the Observatory, and will be the key representative of Telescope Host Country issues at the Executive.
Under the direction of the SKA Director of Operations, the SKA-Low Telescope Director will:
- Lead all elements of the operation of SKA-Low in the relevant Telescope Host Country;
- Represent the SKA Observatory’s interests in the relevant Telescope Host Country, including cultivating and managing strategic relationships in Australia and communicating the SKA’s vision, especially as they relate to Telescope Operations, on behalf of the Director of Operations and the Director-General;
- Oversee the recruitment of the SKA-Low operations team in Australia;
- Direct all SKA-Low operations staff in Australia;
- Supervise the SKA-Low Telescope Deputy Director;
- Finalise and implement the SKAO Establishment and Delivery Plan as it relates to the operation of SKA-Low, working with the Director of Operations to ensure consistency with SKA policies and procedures;
- Work closely with the relevant SKA’s Telescope Host Country partner (CSIRO) to ensure the safe, effective and efficient operation of SKA-Low;
- Foster a collaborative relationship between local business enabling staff and the function leads at GHQ, ensuring consistency of practice;
- Work closely with the relevant SKA Site Construction Director during the SKA Construction Phase, especially in relation to the commissioning and early science of the telescope;
- Facilitate the close interaction between the Observatory and the SKA Regional Centre in the relevant Telescope Host Country;
- Assume responsibility for the setting of operational priorities and resource planning;
- Assume responsibility for the budget and financial reporting for in-country telescope operations;
- Provide regular information and status reports to the Director of Operations and Director-General as required.
The duties of the Telescope Director are not limited to the above and a flexible approach and ability to adapt to an evolving situation is required.
The role will be based at the relevant SOC (Perth). Regular travel between the SOC, EOC and remote telescope site in Western Australia will be required. Periodic travel.