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SAPRI Engagement Manager

Job Summary
Primary duties include coordinating and implementing SAPRI’s Engagement Strategy, including engagement events, public education activities, outreach activities, and exhibits, and coordinating and managing the mentorship programme.

Faculty of Science

Department of Botany and Zoology

SAPRI Engagement Manager (Job Level 9)

(Renewable fixed-term 15-month contract)
(Stellenbosch Main Campus and Cape Town SAPRI office based at SAEON, Foreshore, Cape Town)
Ref. NW07/125/0524

The South African Polar Research Infrastructure (SAPRI) is one of 13 large Research Infrastructures (RIs) developed by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) as part of the South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap (SARIR).

SAPRI was established in 2021 to ensure coordination of South African marine and polar research as a national Big Science programme, providing seamless access to existing and new research infrastructure required to develop and enhance long-term observations of South Africa's marine and polar region.

The Data, Products and Society (DPS) Integrated Facility (IF) of SAPRI was established in November 2022 and is hosted in the Botany and Zoology Department at Stellenbosch University (SU). The DPS IF aims to bring together the SAPRI Data Centre, the various types of generated data and downstream products, including modelling, and the societal outreach programme.

Position summary:
The SAPRI Engagement Manager is a full-time position with traditional weekday office hours and occasionally evening meetings, travel, and events outside of regular office hours. Primary duties include coordinating and implementing SAPRI's Engagement Strategy, including engagement events, public education activities, outreach activities, and exhibits, and coordinating and managing the mentorship programme. The position will build and maintain relationships with internal and external stakeholders, and will inspire and educate students, scholars, and the public on marine and polar research. This position therefore requires strong interpersonal and communication skills with an exceptional ability to build relationships at all levels of the organisation, with internal and external stakeholders, and partners, and an empathy with the needs of students and scholars. This position requires the ability to travel nationally and internationally from time to time.

  • Finalising, coordinating, and implementing the SAPRI Engagement Strategy and Implementation Plan;
  • Organising engagement events and exhibits, including collaborating and working closely with the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) and the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA), and other stakeholders where applicable;
  • Coordinating and managing the mentorship programme;
  • Visiting tertiary institutions that were not previously involved in marine and polar research;
  • Developing and coordinating engagement initiatives and creative outreach strategies to engage students, scholars, the public and stakeholders to create interest in and understanding of the benefits of marine and polar research;
  • Coordinating event logistics; managing strategic direction, concepts, and visioning for events; working to create event programming and content; and creating event communications and marketing in collaboration with the DPS Research Coordinator;
  • Assisting with digital communications and marketing when necessary;
  • Maintaining a public presence and building relationships with community members and media representatives; and participating in external events as appropriate;
  • Serving as a professional and enthusiastic ambassador for SAPRI and its programmes;
  • Assisting with event photography as needed;
  • Supporting SAPRI with news media and public speaking obligations as needed;
  • Maintaining existing engagement partner relationships and sourcing new partners;
  • Maintaining and ensuring SAPRI's brand consistency in all communications;
  • Writing news posts for the website and newsletter articles on activities;
  • Writing up activities for monthly, quarterly, and annual DPS and SAPRI reports;
  • Attending the SCAR Open Science Biennial Conference (funding dependent);
  • Becoming a member of The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) Action Group on Public Engagement with Antarctic Research (PEAR).
  • At least an honours or equivalent degree;
  • A valid South African Code B driver's licence;
  • Proven experience of participating in engagement activities and events, preferably in a marine or polar research space;
  • Proven experience in the higher education environment;
  • Proven experience of project management;
  • An understanding of marketing and communications and in reaching different target groups;
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English;
  • Strong writing and editing skills;
  • Strong interest in science communication;
  • The ability to work both independently and as part of a team;
  • Experience in presenting or speaking in front of audiences.
  • Master's degree;
  • Degree in marine or polar science;
  • Excellent command of one or more other official South African language(s);
  • Experience in designing and implementing successful engagement strategies;
  • Experience in organising and coordinating engagement activities and events, preferably in a marine or polar research space;
  • Experience in mentorship programmes;
  • The ability to create engaging content for different audiences and channels;
  • Experience in science communication;
  • Experience in engaging with a range of stakeholders;
  • Comfortable public presence;
  • Experience in public speaking and media relations;
  • A passion for capacity development.

Applicants need to apply with the following documents:
1) Cover letter including motivation.
2) Certified copies of qualifications.
3) Full CV with qualifications, experience and three contactable references.

Commencement of duties: 01 August 2024

Closing date: 13 June 2024

Enquiries regarding this post: Dr Anne M Treasure on 021 808 3236, or at annetreasure@sun.ac.za

Enquiries regarding remuneration/benefits, as well as technical assistance with the electronic application process: Human Resources Client Services Centre on 021 808 2753, or at sun-e-hr@sun.ac.za

Stellenbosch University is committed to employment equity (EE), and appointments will be made in line with the EE plan for the specific environment as well as the institutional EE Plan of the University.

Stellenbosch University reserves the right not to make an appointment.

Your application, comprising a comprehensive curriculum vitae (including the names and email addresses of at least three referees), must reach the University before or on the closing date of the advertised post.


The University reserves the right to investigate qualifications and conduct background checks on all candidates.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires people in occupations that entail potential exposure to certain hazards (such as, but not limited to: noise, hazardous chemical substances and hazardous biological agents) to be subjected to medical screening, to determine their fitness to work in the said occupations.

Should no feedback be received from the University within four to six weeks of the closing date, kindly accept that your application did not succeed.

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