Chief Scientist (PERMANENT)

The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) is a public entity under the National Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). SANSA has a mandate to drive the promotion and use of space and cooperation in space-related activities. To achieve this mandate, the Agency fosters research in space science and technology, advances space engineering programmes, and supports the creation of an environment conducive to industrial development in space technologies within the framework of national government policy. More information about the organization can be found at

SANSA is committed to attracting, developing and retaining employees who are passionate about the success of the national space industry. Personal growth, which is one of our values, encourages employees to invest time in education and training through bursaries and training courses offered to them.

SANSA thrives on our employees’ creativity, competencies and expertise, and on their ingenuity to succeed in a high performing environment. If you aspire to the SANSA values of Service, Teamwork, Respect, Integrity, Personal Growth and Excellence, and living these in a fast-paced and innovative environment, then SANSA could be the place for you. The following opportunity exists in the Earth Observation Programme situated in Pretoria, Gauteng to be filled by an individual with the relevant skills, drive, competencies, qualifications and who puts the interests of the nation first, has a commercial mind-set, thinks as our customers, knowledge-driven and people-centric.

Reporting to the Managing Director, the successful candidate will provide appropriate Earth observation research direction and capability for SANSA’s Earth Observation Programme, while setting and driving a national EO research agenda, undertaking cutting edge research and managing all aspects of the Research & Applications Development Unit (RAD).

Responsibilities will include but not limited to:

  • Drive and facilitate the establishment of the national EO research agenda.
  • Direct and support researchers at SANSA and postgraduate students.
  • Identify funding opportunities and national and international collaboration opportunities.
  • Provide scientific expertise to SANSA’s sensor portfolio and satellite mission planning.
  • Supervise/lecture student groups to create Space Science pipeline.
  • Organise conferences and workshops to share cutting edge research.
  • People management within the assigned unit.
  • Implementation of strategic and/ or operational decisions pertaining to the area of responsibility.
  • Drive change management.

The ideal candidate will have the following requirements:

PhD in Remote Sensing, Geographical Information Systems, with a minimum of 10 years’ research leadership experience • An excellent international research track record that includes peer-reviewed publications, student supervision (PhD level) and successful research grants (funded proposals) • International recognition and a National Research Foundation rating is a requirement. Remote sensing software knowledge and experience such as PCI Geomatica, ArcMap/ArcGIS, Quantum GIS, Idris, Erdas, Envi etc. and high-level programming skills in languages such as Fortran, Matlab IDBL, Python, R etc. will be advantageous.


Please note that the appointment will be on a level commensurate will qualifications and experience.

Background verification, including criminal record, credit checks, security clearances, qualification and citizenship checks as well as competency assessment and psychometric testing, may form part of the selection process

SANSA subscribes to the principles of Employment Equity and welcomes applications from all persons with disabilities. Preference will be given to candidates in accordance with this.

Should you meet the above requirements, please register your detailed CV at

Closing date:  21 February 2020



Selaelo Motalaota