SKA-Low Operations Scientists

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Saturday, October 1, 2022
Archive Date: 
Saturday, October 29, 2022
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Job Announcement Text: 

At the SKAO we are coordinating a global effort to deliver one of the largest science facilities on the planet. The SKAO telescopes will be next-generation instruments that will help to answer key questions in astrophysics, drive technological innovation and support human capital development.

Headquartered in the UK, with telescope sites in Australia and South Africa, the SKAO will be one observatory operating two telescopes, an endeavour spanning three continents. Multinational by design, in early 2021 the SKAO became an intergovernmental organisation, one of only a select handful of science infrastructures to do so worldwide.

Construction activities for the SKAO's telescopes in Australia and South Africa started in 2021, along with a ramping up of SKAO staff in both countries. It is expected that the transition from the Construction Phase to the Operations Phase will happen around 2028.

SKAO Operations in South Africa will be conducted in partnership with the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO). SKAO Operations in Australia will be conducted in partnership with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The Observatory will also partner closely with a global network of SKA Regional Centres through which astronomers will access science data products and a suite of tools and resources to further analyse the SKA telescopes' data.

For more information on the SKA project visit

A unique opportunity for two Operation Scientists to contribute to the delivery of the broad and ambitious science from the world’s largest low frequency telescope.

The Role

We are looking to recruit two Operations Scientists, who will be the core of our growing SKA-Low Science Operations team.

The SKA-Low Operations Scientists will have a unique opportunity to shape the operation of the SKA-Low Telescope through providing domain knowledge and expertise. During construction and early array deployment they will assist with commissioning as well as plan and conduct science verification. The Science Operations team will verify the end-to-end science process, including proposal submission, scheduling, execution, data reduction and delivery.

Once the Telescope is fully operational, the SKA-Low Operations Scientists will develop new capabilities, respond to new science directions and provide astronomical observing expertise to operations, ensuring the successful delivery of data for the key science objectives of the SKAO.

The SKA-Low Operations Scientists will be based at the Science Operations Centre in Perth. They will collaborate with multidisciplinary SKAO colleagues and interact with the global science community to communicate progress. SKAO also has close contacts with universities in Australia, allowing for co-supervision of students and postdoctoral fellows. The SKA-Low Operations Scientists will also have the opportunity to maintain an active research career, with up to 25% of their time available for personal research.

In line with the SKAO commitment to become an employer of choice for women in STEM we strongly encourage applications from women for this role. We offer family friendly policies and the ability to work flexibly to support this aim. Those applicants wishing to explore part time or job share working are openly encouraged to discuss their individual need for flexibility or specific working patterns during the recruitment process.

Key Responsibilities, Accountabilities and Duties

Under the direction of the SKA-Low Head of Science Operations, the SKA-Low Operations Scientists will support science operations of the SKA-Low Telescope by:

  • Contributing to the commissioning and science verification of array releases, including the development and implementation of test plans and procedures.
  • Supporting the development and continual refinement of the science operational model for the SKA-Low Telescope, including the software needed.
  • Providing user support to the scientific community including ensuring the broadest possible accessibility to SKA observing time and data.
  • Effectively collaborating with SKAO Science Operations staff across the three sites; some travel to the SKA-Mid Telescope site in South Africa and SKAO Global Headquarters in the UK could be required.
  • Optionally undertaking a programme of personal research up to 25% of employed hours.
  • Undertaking other reasonable duties as directed. 

Mandatory Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • A doctorate in astronomy, physics, engineering, or closely related field. 
  • Expertise in radio astronomy techniques including in the acquisition, reduction and analysis of astronomical data from low-frequency arrays (<1GHz). 
  • Demonstrated aptitude to undertake scientific facility operation, provide user support and translate the needs of the user to requirements and/or operational policies. 
  • Demonstrated aptitude to work collaboratively across disciplines, with engineers and scientists from a variety of cultures, contributing to an inclusive team environment. 
  • Effective written and oral communication skills in English.
  • An awareness of equitable practices, including accessibility, to facilitate broad access to the Observatory.

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Experience commissioning radio astronomy instrumentation. 
  • Experience with, or understanding of, ionospheric and direction-dependent calibration techniques relevant to the frequencies of the SKA-Low Telescope. 
  • Established scientific record in a low frequency science field such as Epoch of Reionisation, HI galaxy evolution, or time domain (pulsars, transients).

Equality Diversity and Inclusion Statement

SKA Observatory recognises that our diversity is a strength. We aim to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone feels they belong, and diverse perspectives and ideas thrive. As such, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion are at the core of SKA Observatory’s agenda.

Our aim is to recruit and retain the most talented individuals, regardless of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, nationality or background.

Women have traditionally been under-represented in the fields of science and engineering; SKA Observatory welcomes and encourages female applicants. 

Where applicants with a disability need facilities or adjustments to enable them to participate in the recruitment process, these will be provided.

SKA Observatory welcome all candidates, especially those from member countries.

The “How to Apply” information contained within the SKA Observatory recruitment portal provides more detail regarding our application and selection approach.

Included Benefits: 

The SKA Observatory offers a competitive salary and a generous pension and benefits package. As an employee of an intergovernmental organisation, an appointee who is not a national of the country in which the role is based may be subject to personal Privileges and Immunities.

Application Deadline: 
Saturday, October 29, 2022
Selection Deadline: 
Saturday, October 29, 2022
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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