Foresight Specialist

Job Details

Employer: CSIR


The CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) is a leading scientific and technology research organisation, implementing projects throughout Africa and making a difference in the quality of life of people.

Principal Foresight Specialist

About the job:

CSIR Defence, Peace, Safety and Security (DPSS) unit has a vacancy for a Principal Foresight Specialist in its Integrative Systems Group (ISG) which is responsible for conceptualising and driving large research and development (RD) and Enterprise Engineering programmes that mobilise architecture and engineering capabilities for key clients and for developing key systems engineering and integrative capabilities in the CSIR.

The incumbent will be responsible for researching complex large national-level security problems that span multiple stakeholders to help government reduce security risks such as cyber security and rhino poaching.

Key Responsibilities:

    • Structure, define and research large national problems in the area of security at a strategic level from environmental, economic, social and other perspectives.
    • Contribute to developing solutions to the problems by identifying tasks and capabilities required.
    • Select and apply appropriate foresight techniques.
    • Integrate knowledge across multiple disciplines and organisations required to understand and solve problems.
    • Engage with multiple national stakeholders and experts to develop common understanding and co-develop solutions/strategies.
    • Mapping out stakeholders involved in a problem and interpret relationships between strategic drivers, their dynamics and impact on the security problem for the stakeholders.
    • Apply a variety of modelling notations to represent problems.
    • Lead a team and facilitate group discussions with multiple national/provincial level stakeholders.
    • Development and presentation of research reports and strategies.
    • Working with multiple national level stakeholders (government, private sector, NGOs, public) that have different interests.
    • Structuring ill-defined problems, i.e. where there may not be consensus on the problem amongst stakeholders.
    • Developing common understanding across multiple-organisations and stakeholders of security problems.
    • Dealing with uncertainty and complexity that accompanies security problems at a national strategic level.
    • Develop solutions that span multiple organisations 5-10 years into the future.
    • Integrating information and knowledge from different disciplines and perspectives.
    • Small direct monetary impact but large indirect national impact.

Qualifications, Skills and Experience:

    • A Masters in Engineering, law, social science and humanities degree
    • A Masters on Philosophy in Future studies will be an added advantage
    • A PhD in engineering or Philosophy will be an advantage.
    • At least three years experience in multidisciplinary problems.
    • At least three years experience in solving strategic problems.
    • Working knowledge of researching and practical applying foresight methods and concepts in addressing national problems.
    • Structure problems effectively, and identifies and analyses key issues and presents a solution.
    • Systems thinking is a critical required skill, including systems dynamics modelling.
    • Ability to shape strategic thinking.
    • Integrative approach to problem solving with modelling skills.
    • Understanding areas of commonality and link them to the bigger picture.
    • Engages in lateral problem solving, and avoids being bound by precedent or established structures.
    • Thinks through a variety of solutions and understands the risks involved.
    • Engages in holistic thinking and looks beyond the boundaries of own discipline.
    • Internal and external communication, liaison abilities.
    • Results oriented, with an ability to coordinate task resources and to pro-actively assure achievement of specified task objectives.
    • Understand the desired outcomes and focus on the key deliverables.
    • Enthusiastic and self-motivated.
    • Independent worker and team player.

South African citizenship is necessary as a security clearance is required for this position.

Closing date: 13 February 2015


Should you experience any problems in submitting your application, please contact the CSIR Recruitment Centre at Please do not submit your application to this mailbox.

The CSIR is a responsible employer; we have put measures in place to ensure that equity is implemented such that it best serves the interests of the organisation and South Africa as a whole. This speaks to the CSIRs commitment to the Employment Equity Act of 1998. By applying for this position at the CSIR, the applicant understands, consents and agrees that the CSIR may solicit a credit and criminal report from a registered credit bureau and/or SAPS (in relation to positions that require trust and honesty and/or entail the handling of cash or finances) and may also verify the applicants educational qualifications and employment history. The CSIR reserves the right to remove the advertisement at any time before the stated closing date as well as reserves the right not to appoint if a suitable candidate is not identified.

Apply before Friday, February 13, 2015Companies may expire jobs at their own discretion.

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