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The African Open Science Platform is Seeking a Director

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Advertisement: Director, African Open Science Platform (AOSP).

The African Open Science Platform (AOSP) Office will be hosted by the National Research Foundation (NRF) for an initial period of 5 years beginning 2020. The AOSP is a pan-African initiative that aims to position African scientists at the cutting edge of data intensive science by stimulating interactivity and creating opportunity through the development of efficiencies of scale, and building critical mass through shared capacities. This initiative is supported by South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), key institutions in Africa, and the International Science Council (ISC).

The AOSP makes the case for bold action to mobilise the scientific community in Africa in responding to the imperatives of open science and the challenges of the digital revolution.  See The Future of Science and Science of the Future: Vision and Strategy for the African Open Science Platform:


The NRF seeks to appoint a Director on a 5-year fixed term contract within the Division for Strategy, Planning and Partnerships to lead and manage the AOSP. This individual will be joining a cohort of highly talented, knowledgeable and committed individuals.

The incumbent shall be responsible for leading the further development and implementation of the scientific and organisational objectives of the AOSP Strategy in providing effective, responsive and efficient administration and support. The incumbent will be responsible for staffing and directing the AOSP programmes based at the NRF in Pretoria, South Africa, and will take accountability to direct a proactive focus on advancing open science, data and infrastructure sharing and human capacity development, with the ultimate goal of building long-term relationships with key stakeholders.


Strategic Responsibilities

  • Exercise strong strategic vision and planning capacity in collaboration with the Advisory Council;
  • Establish nodes to drive the AOSP work strands, in close consultation with key founding partners;
  • Provide leadership (especially in Africa) in developing and nurturing a wide network of stakeholders, including civil society, policymakers, and business to support the AOSP position and influence;
  • Promote and mobilise resources from stakeholders (incl. public, private and development partners);
  • Promote the concept and profile of the AOSP in Africa and internationally;
  • Build an effective governance system, guided by the AOSP Strategy and the Advisory Council;
  • Use business intelligence to provide efficient and effective open science solutions;
  • In line with the AOSP work strands, develop new and innovative methods for measuring, monitoring and evaluating open science outcomes;
  • Identify and address risks, challenges and opportunities central to the success of the AOSP;
  • Identify and support ways to address key institutional and partner capacity needs that will accelerate progress towards achieving the AOSP’s mandate;
  • Coordinate and participate in meetings, workshops, conferences, scientific events and launches;
  • Draft, and provide inputs to strategic, contractual and policy documents.

General Management Responsibilities

  • Lead the conceptualisation and development of the AOSP Office, working closely with the AOSP Advisory Council and other key stakeholders;
  • Oversee the overall strategic direction, planning, coordination, administration and evaluation of the human resources functions of the AOSP Office;
  • Prepare integrated reports for the NRF and the AOSP Advisory Council considering financial, forward planning, performance, staff and administrative aspects of the Platform;
  • Provide a secretariat function to the AOSP Advisory Council;
  • Ensure the effective development, implementation and review of AOSP plans, systems, policies and processes;
  • Comply with any NRF-related statutory reporting criteria.


  • A minimum qualification of a Masters degree is required, with evidence of a research background. A PhD qualification will be a strong recommendation;
  • Additional qualifications in business development, business administration or a technology-related degree would be advantageous;
  • At least 6 years’ experience in a senior management position;
  • A proven track record of securing major funding; and an understanding of both the corporate responsibility agenda and how to develop strategic partnerships that deliver against business objectives;
  • Strong leadership and management skills with the ability to direct strategic programmes;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, with the ability to listen and absorb perspectives from stakeholders to synthesise into thoughtful concepts;
  • A proven record of interaction and collaboration on the African Continent, as well as with major role players in the global research enterprise.
  • Verbal and written proficiency in French would be an added advantage.


  • Experience of or acquaintance with high level research or leading-edge work in data science, data stewardship or digital technologies would be advantageous;
  • Demonstrable understanding of, and engagement with open science, and the concepts of inter alia open access, and open and FAIR data, as well as data science and related developments in the context of the digital revolution;
  • Demonstrated ability to design and implement partnership strategies between public and private entities aligned with specific programmatic and organisational outcomes;
  • Proven experience in diplomacy, developing collaborative relationships and effectively engaging with a wide array of stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels;
  • Relevant knowledge concerning strategy implementation, information management, and management of programmes;
  • Excellent communication skills (oral and written) and the ability to effectively facilitate discussions;
  • The ability to travel up to 25% of the time domestically and internationally;
  • Experience in working in a matrix and team environment.


Applicants should submit a comprehensive CV to Applications should be accompanied by a letter of motivation indicating a vision statement for the AOSP Office, as well as the applicant’s suitability for the position, aligned with the afore-mentioned responsibilities and key competencies. The names and contact details of at least three referees should be provided.

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.

CLOSING DATE: 31 July 2020

No application will be considered after the closing date, or if it does not meet the minimum requirements. Correspondence will be conducted with short-listed candidates only.

For more information and to apply, kindly visit: