Deputy Director: OAD

Contract type: Long Term Contract
Job Level: Skilled / Middle Management Work
Location: Cape Town, Western Cape

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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 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 was established in 2011 and is a key part of the IAU’s strategy to use astronomy for sustainable development globally. Since 2011, the OAD has granted over a million Euros of IAU funding to over 200 projects around the world, through its annual call for proposals, targeting audiences in more than 100 countries. The OAD coordinates 11 regional offices globally (based in Armenia, China, Ethiopia, Jordan, Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Portugal, Thailand, USA and Zambia), and has formed 17 partnerships with organizations sharing in the OAD vision. Currently three flagship projects are (i) astronomy for economic development (including tourism); (ii) astronomy for mental health; and (iii) astronomy knowledge and skills for development (especially data skills). All activities of the OAD are coordinated from a small office in Cape Town with an energetic and hard-working group of staff, volunteers, fellows and interns.

More information about the OAD at

The OAD now seeks an inspired and capable Deputy Director to be based in Cape Town, South Africa, who will help continue the realization of the vision “Astronomy for a better world”. This position should be filled by a committed and hard-working individual who subscribes to the spirit of the OAD, and who possesses excellent communication skills. The Deputy Director will be based at the OAD in Cape Town and, as with other OAD staff, will be employed under the terms and conditions of the SAAO (a facility of the NRF). The Deputy Director will be responsible for the implementation and coordination of specific tasks listed below.


Main Purpose of Job:

The key role of the Deputy Director position at the Office of Astronomy for Development, besides standing in for the Director as needed, is to engage the varied stakeholders that allow the Office to attract collaborators, fellows, volunteers and interns from different fields in order to achieve the developmental goals of the OAD, while remaining closely connected with the professional astronomy community.


Key Responsibilities:

  • Establish and strengthen relationship between the OAD and the astronomy community
  • Support partnerships with the development community
  • Support OAD call for proposals and flagships
  • Coordinate and support OAD volunteers
  • Maintain an active astronomy research profile
  • Deputise for the director


Key Requirements:


  • PhD in Astronomy/Astrophysics or closely related field


  • 3 years of postdoctoral or related research work, with relevant international experience


  • Fluent in English (both written and spoken)

Additional Notes:


  • Project and financial management experience/qualifications/courses
  • Demonstrated skills in communication and presentation (both written and verbal)
  • Software/Web development/coding skills Monitoring and Evaluation skills
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and ability to interact with people of different cultures Experience in managing teams
  • Multilingual



  • The contract will run from the date of appointment until the end of the current IAU-NRF agreement to host the OAD (viz. IAU General Assembly in 2027).
  • Salary will be based on the candidate’s qualifications and experience, and benchmarked against salaries for employees with those qualifications in South



All applications should be submitted electronically. Interested persons who meet the requirements should submit their detailed Curriculum Vitae with a letter of motivation, and the names and contact details of at least 3 referees, via the following link: The selection process will begin after 31st January 2024.

For any queries about this position, please contact Kevin Govender (



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The NRF offers a challenging career and competitive remuneration package which is commensurate with qualifications and experience. The NRF is committed to employment equity and redress and the appointment to the position will be made in line with the NRF Employment Equity Plan.

The NRF reserves the right not to make an appointment. Correspondence will be sent to short-listed candidates only