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January 18th 2019

Organisation background
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a global project to build a multi-purpose radio telescope that will play a major role in answering key questions in modern astrophysics and cosmology.
Twelve governments are now participating in the project, with others engaged in discussions regarding possible membership.

Facilities for the new telescope will be located in South Africa and Australia, with our headquarters in a purpose-built building at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire, UK. SKA HQ currently houses around 80 staff but has just undergone a major expansion to accommodate up to 150 staff as the project moves towards construction and operation of the SKA telescopes.

Negotiations between the governments of SKA member countries to establish the SKA Observatory as an Inter-Governmental Organisation (IGO) have recently concluded; the IGO is expected to be established in late-2019 or early-2020.

Financial overview
SKA Organisation is currently a UK Company Limited by Guarantee, with annual income from members of around M€ 12. Once the SKA Observatory is established, the headquarters will manage the SKA construction budget of at least M€ 691, which will comprise both cash and in-kind contributions from members. Following completion of the construction project, the annual operations and development costs are expected to be around M€ 100.

The role
This is a new high-profile leadership position in what will grow to be one of the world's largest research infrastructure projects; the post holder leading SKA Organisation's Finance department at a strategic level, as well as overseeing the application of the company’s Finance Policies and Procedures. The post holder will be supported initially by a small team of two à three staff at SKA Headquarters.
The establishment of this role presents a unique opportunity to be involved at a critical time, as the company transitions to an IGO, and the global project moves from the conclusion of its design activities to construction. The postholder will require the vision and drive to plan and then establish the necessary future financial and commercial requirements of the Observatory organisation as it enters operation, while acting as the financial leader for the delivery of a multi-million Euro cutting-edge research infrastructure.

In line with the evolution of organisation, the successful candidate should be a high-potential individual with the capability in the future to take on a broader commercial leadership role as required.

Key duties, accountabilities and responsibilities
Reporting to the Head of Administration, duties and areas of responsibility include:

  • Manage and develop the Finance Department and its functions, including financial accounting, management accounting, cash flow and treasury management, compliance and control, audit,
    payroll and pensions.
  • Provide visible leadership to staff, setting clear direction, developing and motivating staff through change.
  • Develop and evaluate departmental goals, objectives and systems and oversee their successful implementation.
  • Work closely with key stakeholder groups to develop the finance operating model and new financial procedures and processes for the future IGO.
  • Provide high-level financial advice and guidance to the Director General, senior managers, the Board and its relevant sub-committees.
  • Ensure effective cross-functional working by the Finance team, and in particular with HR and Procurement, to contribute to the development of financial planning across the company and
    the implementation of the new ERP system.
  • Lead and manage budget management and business continuity planning for finance, including risk analysis, mitigation and recovery.
  • Ensure that company financial systems are robust, compliant and support current activities and future growth.
  • Ensure that the regulatory requirements of all statutory bodies are met.
  • Develop and maintain strong working relationships with external parties including project partners, Intergovernmental Organisations, advisors, contractors and suppliers.
  • Travel both inside and outside of the UK as necessarily required by the position. It is anticipated that the need for travel will be infrequent.
  • Undertake any other reasonable duties as directed.

Mandatory qualifications, experience and knowledge

  • University degree or equivalent in finance, accounting, business administration or a related area.
  • Qualified member of an internationally recognised professional finance-related body or equivalent.
  • International experience at a strategic level including proven record of leading and developing people with different national and cultural backgrounds.
  • High integrity and openness combined with commitment to good governance.
  • Demonstrable track record in leading and engaging a finance function through change, with experience of effective team building.
  • In-depth knowledge of corporate finance and accounting principles, laws and best practices.
  • Strong financial analysis, forecasting and reporting skills.
  • Influential leader with the ability to operate at both strategic and operational levels.
  • A commercial mindset with experience of providing advice on a broad range of commercial and financial matters to senior managers and the Board of Directors.
  • Strong IT skills and open to new technologies.
  • Working knowledge of financial controls and risk management.
  • Advocate of equality and diversity in the workplace.
  • Energetic, highly motivated, strong communication skills and with an analytical and enquiring mind.

Desirable qualifications, experience and knowledge

  • Experience of public bodies such as universities, research organisations, local and national government departments etc.
  • Experience of research grant funding.
  • Experience of managing, and accounting for, in-kind contributions.
  • Experience with procurement in an international setting.
  • Experience of facilities contract management.
  • Proficient in the use of financial management software or Enterprise Resource Planning systems, such as Unit 4 Business World On. 
  • Experience working with distributed staff located in remote locations.

More information
For more information on the SKA project visit http://www.skatelescope.org

Conditions of employment
SKA Organisation offers a competitive salary and a generous company pension scheme. The successful applicant's workplace will be located at the SKA Headquarters in Jodrell Bank Observatory.

How to apply
Please send a CV and covering letter, including details of your current remuneration, to our email adress quoting reference HF/01.
To be considered applications must include a summary, detailing how you meet the essential and desirable knowledge, skills and experience criteria.

Closing date
Closing date for receipt of completed applications is 15 January 2019.
When applying, please state where you saw the vacancy advertised. 

Equal opportunities statement
SKA Organisation is committed to being an equal opportunities employer. Our aim to is recruit and retain the most talented individuals, regardless of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion or nationality. At all stages of the recruitment process and beyond, we strive to treat applicants and employees with a high standard of care, honesty and politeness.
Women have traditionally been under-represented in the fields of science and engineering; SKA Organisation 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. If you need equipment or adjustments to enable you to complete your application and/or attend an interview then please let us know.