Job Details

  • Reference number: RefUnitAP1046
  • Province: Gauteng
  • Type of engagement: Fixed term contract
  • Posted: March 15th
  • Remuneration package: Remuneration is commensurate with the seniority of the of the position

Background to Position

University of South Africa (UNISA) is a publicly funded Higher Education Institution in South Africa dedicated to distance education. In keeping with its mandate as a Comprehensive, Open Distance and e-Learning (CODeL +) Institution offering a variety of academic and career - focused programmes, UNISA is inviting applications for the position of Executive Director: Research, Innovation and Commercialisation P3. 

Purpose of the Position

The purpose of this position is design and facilitate the execution of the department’s strategy and architecture in line with the UNISA Strategy and CODeL Business Model.


Job Description

      KPA 1: Strategic Direction and Alignment

  • Conceptualising and designing the departmental strategy taking cognisance of the Institutional strategy and CODeL Business Model.
  • Conceptualising, designing operational plans and KPI’s in support of the portfolio’s strategy and the institution’s overall vision and strategy.
  • Leading the implementation of the departmental strategy, plans and procedures to support the ODeL 2016-2030 Strategy.

      KPA 2: Conceptualisation, Leadership and Execution

  • Providing strategic and thought leadership regarding all operations of the department from an overall perspective, which include:
  • The effective provisioning of Research Support services,
  • The effective provisioning of Innovation, Technology Transfer and Commercialisation services.
  • Promoting an enabling research environment and strive for the increase in number of research outputs, NRF-rated researchers and research grant holders through the development and implementation of a UNISA NRF Rating Programme.
  • Promoting and enhancing an academic environment that enables and encourages research, by:
  • Providing support to colleges in developing and implementing College Research Plans,
  • Providing support to colleges in developing and implementing NRF Rating Plans,
  • Providing support to colleges in developing and implementing Improving Staff Qualifications Plans,
  • Facilitating research seminars, workshops, lecturers, participants and invited academics in alignment with the UNISA Research Plan,
  • Managing the preparation and solicitation of content material to enable publishing of the Annual Research Report
  • Managing research incentives and prizes in recognition of excellence in research.
  • Promoting a culture of compliance to achieve highest legal and ethical standards of ethical research through research ethics and integrity management processes.
  • Providing strategic direction and monitoring the provision of research support projects and programme services in support of the Research and Innovation Strategy.
  • Promoting and positioning the University as a research driven institution through the internationalisation of research and maintaining local and international professional networks.
  • Providing strategic support and monitoring the obtaining of Research Chairs and other research mechanisms (i.e., centres of excellence).
  • Providing strategic direction and monitoring the research support offered to researchers (i.e., the enabling of coaching, mentoring and training of researchers at all levels to enhance their research skills in research design, academic writing, writing for publication, research methodology, supervision, statistical analyses, tools to analyse data, and software to analyse quantitative and qualitative data).
  • Ensuring quality assurance and enhancement of research outputs and processes.
  • Providing strategic direction and monitoring the provision of relevant research information services.
  • Providing strategic direction and monitoring appropriate support mechanisms for innovation initiatives at UNISA.
  • Ensuring that the management and commercialisation of Intellectual Property (IP) are in accordance with IP Policy and the relevant Acts.
  • Providing strategic direction and the monitoring of the provision of business development.
  • services, the development of UNISA technologies as well as the commercialisation of UNISA IP.
  • Supporting the University’s Community Engagement and Outreach Policy by leveraging knowledge and skills in community engagement initiatives to the benefit of communities, thereby improving research.
  • Conceptualising, designing and implementing effective group and intergroup work and information systems.
  • Managing the strategic relationships and networks with internal and external stakeholders.

        KPA 3: Forecasting, Budgeting and Financial Management

  • Managing the department’s resources efficiently, effectively, economically and in accordance with the relevant principles and policies of UNISA.
  • Compiling and managing the departmental budget in line with the portfolio and Institutional budget.
  • Overseeing and monitoring departmental expenditure within budgeted parameters and reporting on variances periodically.
  • Directing and overseeing the funding of departmental operations and budgeted activities.
  • Managing the function’s resources sustainably in accordance with financial principle

KPA 4: People Management

  • Ensuring and monitoring that all staff in the department are orientated to the organisation, trained, skilled, retained and that their expertise is optimally applied.
  • Formulating the people agenda in conjunction with the Department of Human Resources.
  • Managing overall performance which includes conducting annual performance reviews of staff in accordance with the performance management process.
  • Directing implementation of training and development programmes for staff, including personal development plans (PDPs).
  • Establishing a positive, healthy and safe work environment and culture in accordance with the Transformation Charter.
  • Directing implementation of the human resources policies, procedures and practices.
  • Shaping staff requirements for the department which includes resourcing of programmes and initiatives.
  • Fostering an organisational culture and climate that is ethical and value driven.

       KPA 5: Governance and Reporting 

  • Monitoring and reporting on progress against departmental strategic initiatives.
  • Monitoring and reporting on legislative and statutory compliance.
  • Promoting sound institutional governance and participating in Institutional governance structures (Professional Citizenship).
  • Guiding the development and implementation of policies and procedures.
  • Compiling regular reports to Council, its committees and other relevant structures.
  • Providing strategic leadership to the development of the annual performance review as is required by the Department of Higher Education Training (DHET).
  • Identifying risks relating to the field of responsibility and develop mitigating strategies.
  • Documenting and reporting on departmental specific matters to internal and external stakeholders.
  • Managing the submission of UNISA research output publications to the Department of Higher Education and Training for raising of funds and statutory reporting purposes.
  • Monitoring and ensuring compliance to the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) reporting requirements.
  • Publishing the Annual Research Report of research highlights.
  • Monitoring and ensuring compliance to the National Intellectual Property Management Office (NIPMO) reporting requirements.
  • Ensuring proper record keeping of all aspects within field of responsibility

Inherent Criteria


  • PhD Degree in appropriate field and registration with relevant professional body where applicable.


  •  Minimum 10 years’ relevant experience in Higher Education and academia with at least 5 years in a middle management role.

Assumption of duty:    As soon as possible 


Application Requirement

  • A letter of Application.
  • A completed UNISA application form.
  • A comprehensive CV
  • An abridged CV.
  • Names and contact details for at least 3 referees, one of which must be from your present employer. If currently unemployed, contactable reference from previous employer must be provided.
  • Certified copies of matric and degree certificates and Identity Document.
  • Proof of SAQA verification of foreign qualifications, where relevant.

To apply please forward your application quoting reference number AP1046 to Genevieve Michel