Executive Director, African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, South Africa

Centre of Exellence · Cape Town, Western Cape
Department Centre of Exellence
Employment Type Fixed-Term Contract
Minimum Experience Senior Executive

Established in 2003, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a pan-African network of affiliated institutes dedicated to post-graduate education, research, and public engagement in the mathematical sciences. AIMS trains Africa’s next generation of leaders and problem solvers, enabling them to shape the continent’s future through education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). A public benefit institute, AIMS South Africa operates in partnership with the Universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and the Western Cape to offer tailored educational programmes, conduct cutting-edge research and share mathematics with the wider community. It has a proud history of excellence, innovation and scientific agility, positively influencing the mathematical sciences landscape across Africa for two decades. (Visit aims.ac.za for a fuller context.)

AIMS has five Institutes across Africa – in Cameroon, Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal, and South Africa – with a Global Secretariat in Kigali, Rwanda. Collectively, these graduate approximately 300 Masters and PhD students each year and AIMS alumni pursue leadership careers in academia, government, and industry across the continent. AIMS also operates mathematics and science teacher training programs in Cameroon, Rwanda, and South Africa.


The strategic pillars of the AIMS Network are:

  1. Produce the next generation of African leaders and educators in STEM.
  2. Increase employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in STEM.
  3. Create an inclusive and enabling environment for research and innovation.
  4. Raise awareness and increase understanding of the African scientific ecosystem.


So far 2,200 postgraduate students have graduated across the AIMS network. By 2030, AIMS intends to contribute a community of 10,000 young scientists and innovators in Africa.

The Executive Director of AIMS South Africa provides strategic vision, oversight and management for the Cape Town based Institute’s programmes and partnerships in the above context.


Role Overview

AIMS South Africa seeks a dynamic and visionary leader to inspire, motivate, and empower the diverse staff team, the international student body, and the visiting scholars to embrace its vision and mandate and achieve its strategic goals. Reporting to the CEO of the AIMS Global Network, it is expected that the Executive Director will utilise her or his academic, research, and managerial expertise to guide the Institute to its next level of success. Adept at building partnerships and pursuing strategic initiatives the Director will nurture a collaborative environment that is in pursuit of academic excellence and contributes to the ongoing growth of the mathematical sciences in South Africa and beyond.

Key Responsibilities

Strategic Vision and Leadership

  • Develop a vision and strategic plan that guides the Institute’s direction, together with the AIMS South Africa Council, and ensure that this plan is communicated and put into action
  • Provide visionary leadership that promotes and supports competitive research and a relevant, contemporary educational programme
  • Demonstrate a commitment to quality in all the Institute’s activities and inspire staff, students and guests to pursue excellence in all they do
  • Operate in a spirit of collaboration and shared experience together with leadership peers in the AIMS network


Academic Leadership

  • Champion the direction and development of the Institute’s academic initiatives to bolster AIMS’s profile and credibility as a key source of mathematical and scientific talent within South Africa and beyond
  • Nurture a collaborative, supportive and robust environment for scientific research and a culture of innovation
  • Oversee the Institute’s educational and research programmes, ensuring that they maintain integrity, align to strategy and have contemporary relevance


Business Development and Partnership Building

  • In consultation with partners and stakeholders, develop a business plan for AIMS South Africa’s growth as a leading institution opening opportunities in science for Africa’s youth
  • Strengthen AIMS South Africa’s relationship with the government of South Africa to support national priorities including mathematics, science and economic development
  • Work closely with the AIMS Secretariat to identify and to secure new partnerships which extend AIMS funding base and broaden its impact
  • Plan and support initiatives to grow engagement with the wider community including activities in schools, public lectures, online materials and science communication
  • Build collaborations with industry in problem solving and relevant skills training to promote joint endeavours and to facilitate AIMS graduates’ entry into skilled, impactful employment
  • Represent AIMS South Africa and advocate for its vision in national and international fora


Operations Management

  • Oversee the implementation and delivery of the business plan, taking key decisions regarding staff recruitment and responsibilities and the allocation of resources
  • Continue to develop AIMS South Africa as a model institution taking new initiatives and assisting with the growth of other centres and activities across the AIMS network
  • Ensure team compliance with AIMS network policies and procedures as well as with all local laws and regulations
  • Take overall responsibility for budgeting, procurement, risk management, financial reporting and future planning for the sustainability of AIMS South Africa
  • Present an annual report to the AIMS South Africa Council


Qualifications and experience

The successful candidate will meet the following criteria

  • A research doctoral degree in the mathematical sciences or a related field
  • Sustained leadership experience in the context of scientific innovation and training, particularly at the postgraduate level
  • A strong research track record
  • Interest in and ability to secure funding
  • Experience in development, budgeting and implementation of major projects or similar undertakings
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills in written and spoken English
  • Evidence of effective interpersonal and relationship management skills


Desirable skills and experience

  • Ability to network in the South African policy, philanthropy, and STEM research and education environments
  • Demonstrated STEM education advocacy
  • Knowledge of curricula, enrolment, management, and research trends in mathematical sciences
  • Experience and understanding of the requirements for working with international donor funding (e.g., DFID, IDRC, USAID, World Bank, etc.)
  • Development and coordination of educational programmes at the postgraduate level
  • An international research reputation gained, for example, through a substantial publication record, presentations at international conferences, and sustained international collaborative activity
  • Familiarity with digital pedagogy and learning technologies
  • Understanding of higher education financial management practices
  • Ability to work in a multilingual environment; some familiarity with French, Portuguese, or Arabic


Appointment and application procedure

The appointment is a full-time one, for five years, and is renewable for a further five-year term subject to approval by the AIMS International Governing Board. It is available for filling on 1st January 2022, or as soon as possible thereafter.


To apply, please complete the application form below.


All applicants are required to submit the following information:

  • Covering letter of application
  • A completed application form
  • Full curriculum vitae and list of publications
  • Any other relevant information specified in the advertisement

An application which does not comply with the above requirements will be regarded as incomplete.


Potential applicants may contact Dr Momar Dieng <mdieng@nexteinstein.org> for further information. The closing date for applications is 1st November 2021.


AIMS is committed to the pursuit of excellence, diversity, and redress. Preference will be given to candidates from the under-represented designated groups. The position comes with a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package.

Thank You

Your application was submitted successfully.

  • Location
    Cape Town, Western Cape
  • Department
    Centre of Exellence
  • Employment Type
    Fixed-Term Contract
  • Minimum Experience
    Senior Executive