First listed on: 22 December 2021

Head of Engineering Operations - SKA-Low Telescope


Acknowledgement of Country

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The Opportunity

  • Manage and lead the engineering operations and maintenance of a unique scientific facility
  • Work with scientists and engineers from Australia, the UK and South Africa
  • Join the SKA team and be part of one of the largest scientific endeavours in history 

The SKA Observatory (SKAO) is a next-generation global radio-astronomy facility that will revolutionise our understanding of the Universe and the laws of fundamental physics. It is one observatory with two telescopes – SKA-Low in Western Australia and SKA-Mid in South Africa. Under the collaboration agreement with SKAO, CSIRO is offering an outstanding opportunity for an experienced Engineering Operations leader to join the SKA-Low management team as a core member.

The Head of Engineering Operations will be responsible for maintenance and engineering operations of the SKA-Low Telescope, from antennas and stations through the signal chain to the central signal processor, as well as the critical supporting infrastructure for the telescope. The systems will be progressively handed over from construction to operations, with full operating capability of the telescope expected in 2028. This role includes managing and directing the work of the operations and maintenance teams to deliver the engineering objectives of the telescope.

The appointee will be an individual experienced with the wide span of operations, with specific proficiency in engineering operations in the context of an astronomical observatory, high-technology capability, or scientific facility.  

Both CSIRO and SKAO value and respect difference and are committed to building an inclusive culture by creating an environment where you can balance a successful career with your commitments and interests outside of work. We believe that you will do your best at work if you have a work / life balance. Some roles lend themselves to flexible options more than others, so if this is important to you, please raise this during your interview, as we are open to discussing flexible working opportunities during the hiring process.

In this role you will:

  • Provide the vision and leadership for a group of 30-40 staff who will be responsible for the engineering needs of SKAO in Australia, as well as the operational support and local development of the SKA-Low telescope, building an inclusive and high performing culture.
  • Work with CSIRO and SKAO to hire a diverse and talented team of staff to support the engineering operations needs of the SKAO in Australia. 
  • Work as one of the senior staff of the SKAO in Australia as a core member of the SKA-Low Management Team.
  • Own the SKA-Low telescope Standard Operating Procedures for engineering and maintenance activities to plan and implement engineering operations end-to-end, providing updates and reports as necessary.
  • Work as a senior member of the Operations group to represent engineering performance issues, to promote and encourage best engineering practices.
  • Work closely with the SKAO Engineering Managers in all aspects of engineering operations and performance across the Observatory to deliver common approaches that maximise efficiency and performance. 
  • Support the roadmap development for the tools, processes and techniques that will be required for the oversight and management of engineering performance of the Observatory.

Location:   Geraldton, Western Australia
Salary:       AU$141k - AU$157k  pa (pro-rata for part-time) + up to 15.4% superannuation; salary range is negotiable for the successful candidate where necessary to meet market rates.  
Tenure:      Indefinite
Reference: 80621

To be considered you will need:

  • A degree in a relevant field of engineering or science (for example mechanical, electronic, electrical, or physics).
  • A minimum of approximately 5 years relevant professional experience in engineering leadership of a high-technology or scientific facility.
  • A record of successfully delivering long-term monitoring of engineering performance, tracking of metrics, and of driving performance improvements to manage an efficient engineering and maintenance operation.
  • A record of successful leadership and management of teams, promoting diversity and developing an inclusive, high-performing culture, including recruitment, capability development and performance management.
  • The ability to communicate clearly, concisely, and confidently at all levels, presenting complex engineering issues and concepts in a style appropriate to the audience, and the ability to represent SKAO externally.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and negotiation skills, with the ability to influence, build trust, shape conversations, and change behaviours through effective relationship-building.

To see all the requirements for success in this role, please view the Position Details.


Applications are open to all candidates.  Visa sponsorship will be provided if required.

The successful applicant will be required to obtain and provide a National Police Check or equivalent. Additional integrity checks may be required for specific roles which require security clearance for working with children, Australian Government cybersecurity requirements or other identified security roles.

Flexible Working Arrangements

We work flexibly at CSIRO, offering a range of options for how, when and where you work. 

Diversity and Inclusion

We are working hard to recruit people representing the diversity across our society, and ensure that all our people feel supported to do their best work and feel empowered to let their ideas flourish. 


At CSIRO Australia's national science agency, we solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. We put the safety and wellbeing of our people above all else and earn trust everywhere because we only deal in facts. We collaborate widely and generously and deliver solutions with real impact. 

Join us and start creating tomorrow today!

About SKAO

SKAO is coordinating a global effort to deliver the largest science facility on the planet. The SKA Observatory will build next-generation radio telescopes that will help to answer key questions in astrophysics, drive technological innovation and support human capital development.

How to Apply

Please apply online and provide a CV and cover letter which includes both your motivations for applying and a statement (of no more than 2-3 pages) addressing each essential criterion as outlined in the Position Details. Note that your covering letter and your statement addressing the criteria, should be within the one document.

Applications Close

Sunday 30 January,  2022 (11:00pm Australian Eastern Daylight-savings Time, AEDT)

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