Dr Rob Adam, the new SKA SA Project Director, was officially welcomed to the organisation. He took over the reigns on 1 January 2016.
Following the retirement of Dr Bernie Fanaroff, the former Project Director at the end of December, Adam will be at the helm for the next five years.
Adam was welcomed at a short ceremony by SKA SA staff members. Dr Molapo Qhobela, the incoming CEO of the National Research Foundation (NRF), was also introduced to the SKA SA staff and welcomed by them. Qhobela is a seasoned executive leader with extensive policy and administration experience that has seen him lead the development of a significant number of policy and strategy documents, which have shaped the nature and operations of South African universities as well as the education system in general.
“We are here to do what we can to ensure that the SKA SA initiative goes well. We take for granted where we are today, but not remembering where we come from. We have to keep in mind that we are not building things such as this for ourselves, but for the next generation,” said Qhobela.
Professor Nithaya Chetty, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer: Astronomy sub-Agency at the NRF, praised Adam for his vision and the contribution that he has made to SKA SA over the years.
“We look forward to what you have in store for SKA SA and the direction that the organisation will take under your leadership,” said Chetty.
Adam said that he greatly enjoyed working with the SKA SA team and was looking forward to the success of South Africa’s MeerKAT telescope and the SKA.
The event was also used as an opportunity to bid farewell to Fanaroff as Project Director. He will stay on at SKA SA as a Strategic Advisor to the Director for the next two years.
“We owe Dr Fanaroff a big debt of gratitude, and he has been recognised as one of the foremost radio astronomers in the world,” said Chetty.
Fanaroff reiterated the role that SKA SA plays and said that in future it will continue to play an even bigger role in the international SKA Organisation. “It has been a wonderful project to build the biggest science instrument in Africa. The SKA SA team is definitely one of the best in the world and is widely recognised as such,” said Fanaroff.