Vacancy: Project Officer

Project Officer: IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (Contract)

The International Astronomical Union (IAU), in partnership with the South African National Research Foundation (NRF), has established the global Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Cape Town, South Africa.  The OAD began its work on 1st March 2011 and ambitiously set out to use astronomy as a tool for global development, in fulfillment of the IAU’s decadal strategic plan. This office is the centre of the IAU’s education and development activities worldwide in the areas of (i) astronomy for universities and research; (ii) astronomy for children and schools; and (iii) astronomy for the public. Milestones achieved so far include the establishment of three regional nodes of the OAD, three Task Forces with international expertise, the funding and oversight of astronomy education and development projects, competitively selected in an annual call and review process and collaborations with several international partner organizations (more information on

The OAD seeks an inspired individual who will help continue the realization of the vision “Astronomy for a better world”.  The position of Project Officer should be filled by a committed person who reflects the guiding principles of the OAD, with strong computing and excellent communication skills. The Project Officer will be based at the OAD in Cape Town and will be responsible for the implementation and coordination of specific tasks listed below.

Minimum requirements:

  • University degree in astronomy or related field
  • International experience relevant to the tasks of the OAD
  • Fluent in English and at least one other international language
  • Demonstrated abilities in communication and presentation (both written and verbal)
  • Computing/Web skills and knowledge of social networking

Desirable work experience and attributes:

  • Outstanding interpersonal skills
  • Some experience with project management and financial planning
  • Able to travel alone internationally for periods up to a few weeks


  • Coordinate the OAD’s project-related activities such as the annual call for proposals and special projects (main task)
  • Regular communication with stakeholders and management of email lists
  • Coordinate translation/interpretation services as required
  • Oversee OAD website, databases, social media (twitter, facebook, etc)
  • Attend and present at international conferences on behalf of the OAD
  • Provide assistance to the Director on international fundraising, coordination of volunteers and other tasks, as needed.

Contract period and salary:

  • The contract will run from the date of appointment until 31 December 2015 and may be renewed depending on continued funding for the OAD beyond this date and satisfactory performance.
  • Salary will be based on the candidate’s qualifications and experience, up to the level of a post-doctoral researcher in South Africa.

Selection process will start after 15 July 2014.

If you have any queries about the OAD or this job in particular please contact Kevin Govender (

Correspondence will be conducted with short-listed candidates only.

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