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Head of Project Engineering (Ocean Retention System) Interim Cover

The Ocean Cleanup


Posted over 30 days ago...


Join The Ocean Cleanup as Head of Project Engineering and lead the charge in developing innovative solutions to rid our oceans of plastic


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No salary declared 😔

icon Location

Coolsingel 6

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In-person- Rotterdam Netherlands

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Expires at anytime

At The Ocean Cleanup, our mission is nothing short of monumental – we aim to develop and implement cutting-edge technologies to cleanse the oceans of plastic pollution. Our dynamic team is at the forefront of creating effective cleanup systems and we're now seeking a passionate Head of Project Engineering to help us realize our vision. Based in the vibrant city of Rotterdam, this role offers the chance to make a significant environmental impact and work with a team of dedicated professionals.

Role Summary:

  • Lead a team of about 10 project and design engineers.
  • Play a pivotal role in strategic planning and decision-making as part of the Ocean Leadership Team.
  • Manage the Retention System Team, driving team well-being, performance, and development.
  • Coordinate project scope, objectives, planning, and budget for the Ocean Retention System.
  • Ensure projects are executed on time, within budget, and to a high quality, while managing risks.

Role Requirements:

  • Master’s degree in Mechanical, Structural, Maritime, or Offshore Engineering.
  • Approximately 10 years’ experience in engineering and project management.
  • Fluency in English and proficiency with Microsoft tools, including MS Project.
  • Experience with scale-ups is advantageous.
  • Must be legally eligible to work in The Netherlands.
  • Able to start by 1st May 2024 on a definite contract basis.

While we are a non-profit reliant on donations, our commitment to our mission ensures a fulfilling work experience. As part of our recruitment process, a pre-employment check is required. Discover more about our inspiring work by listening to our team members on our podcasts.

POSTED: 7 February 2024
12 April 2024
STARTING DATE : 1 May 2024 latest

The mission of The Ocean Cleanup is to develop scalable technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. A key part is designing, developing, and deploying cleanup systems to remove the legacy plastic floating in our oceans.

The Retention System Team is developing scalable technology to capture, retain, and extract plastic debris from the ocean - partly by enabling or innovating brilliant concepts and ideas, and partly by actively participating in the execution of the project. 
"As Head of Project Engineering (Ocean Retention System), you will coordinate a team of brilliant engineers to design, test, and deliver components of the retention system. You will also play a leading role in contributing to the future definition of the Ocean Project." - Joël Jansen – Director Oceans

You will be a member of the Ocean Leadership Team. You will also lead the Retention System team of about 10 engineers composed of Project and design engineers as Line Manager and Project Manager. You add value through the following responsibilities: 

As a member of the Ocean Leadership Team

  • Participation in strategic planning and decision processes
  • Shaping the ocean program's way of working and leading implementation

As line Manager for the Retention System Team

  • The well-being of the team members
  • Coaching and managing team members
  • Setting objectives, enabling and evaluating the performance of team members. This includes:
    • Providing regular feedback, 
    • Gathering feedback from peers and project managers of the team members, 
    • Conducting performance reviews, 
    • Supporting team members with personal development plans (in collaboration with P&O when needed), 
    • Addressing any issues or concerns related to individual or team performance
  • Ensure alignment with team Objectives
  • Liaison between the team and upper management
  • Define team requirements (FTE) to ensure resource availability and allocation

As Project Manager for Ocean Projects

  • Develop the project scope and objectives for the Retention System and the delivery of its components, involving all relevant stakeholders and ensuring technical feasibility
  • Define a detailed Project Planning and budget and track progress
  • Ensure the project is executed and delivered on time, within budget, scope, and meeting quality requirements 
  • Coordinate internal resources and third parties/vendors for the flawless execution of projects
  • Use appropriate verification techniques to manage changes in project scope, schedule, and costs, and escalate where needed
  • Measure project performance using appropriate systems, tools, and techniques
  • Perform risk management to minimize project risks
  • Create and maintain comprehensive project documentation and reporting


  • A Master’s degree in mechanical, structural, maritime, or offshore engineering is preferred
  • Around 10 years of working experience in engineering and project management, including management of suppliers and contractors
  • Fluent in English, both written and spoken
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Environment, including MS project
  • Work experience at a scale-up is a plus


  • A structured approach to organizing, planning, and budgeting
  • Good communicator and able to work in a multi-disciplinary team
  • Resilient and capable of prioritizing tasks
  • A keen eye for potential risks and dedicated to addressing them
  • Able to thrive in a fast-paced and highly dynamic environment
  • Creative problem-solver who thrives working on complex challenges 
  • Driven, curious, and solutions-oriented
  • Intrinsic motivation to work on our ambitious and meaningful goal


  • Requirements: Eligible to legally work in The Netherlands;
  • Starting date: 1st May 2024 latest, with a definite contract (10 or 11 months, depending on the starting date).
  • Please note: because we are a non-profit, our salaries reflect that of an organization fully reliant on donations rather than that of a commercial entity. Conducting a pre-employment check is part of our recruitment process.

Curious to hear how it is to work at The Ocean Cleanup? Listen to our team members explain their work in our podcasts.


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