Radio Telescope Specialist Engineer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Engineering
Institution Classification/Type: 
Square Kilometre Array Organisation
Jodrell Bank, Macclesfield
SK11 9DL
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Job Announcement Text: 

Organisation Background

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a global project to build a multi-purpose radio telescope that will play a major role in answering key questions in modern astrophysics and cosmology.

Twelve governments are now participating in the project, with others engaged in discussions regarding possible membership. Facilities for the new telescope will be located in South Africa and Australia, with our headquarters in a purpose-built building at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire, UK. SKA HQ currently houses around 80 staff but has just undergone a major expansion to accommodate up to 150 staff as the project moves towards construction and operation of the SKA telescopes.

Negotiations between the governments of SKA member countries to establish the SKA Observatory as an Inter-Governmental Organisation (IGO) have recently concluded with the IGO due to be established in 2020.

The Office of the SKA Organisation (“SKA Office”) leads the SKA system design and oversees the detailed design being undertaken within the globally distributed SKA work packages (WPs). To accomplish this goal the SKA Office employs highly qualified scientists and engineers, project managers and system engineers. Work packages for the major SKA subsystems (elements) are contracted to a small number of work package consortia who are responsible for the management, execution and delivery of the work packages. The technical strategy and philosophy of the project are strongly based on system engineering principles.

The Role

The Telescope Specialist Engineer (known internally as a Domain Specialist – Mid Telescope) will be a member of the MID Telescope Delivery Team (TDT), a multidisciplinary team responsible for the “delivery” of the MID telescope. Within the MID TDT the Telescope Specialist Engineer provides engineering support and leadership, both in their specific discipline and across the entire MID telescope. Working in collaboration with the SKA System Scientist, they are responsible for the performance of the MID telescope. The Radio Telescope Specialist Engineer (with the internal title Domain Specialist – Mid Telescope) reports to the SKA Project Engineer.

Key Responsibilities, Accountabilities and Duties

  • Provide technical leadership in the area of domain expertise for the SKA MID telescope, as a member of the MID Telescope Delivery Team (TDT)- providing guidance, advice and technical leadership both at a system level and in their area of expertise
  • Support the SKA Project Engineer and SKA System Scientist in leading engineering analysis, technical notes, and engineering reports as required
  • Advise the TDT Project Manager on technical risks and performance compliance
  • Identify and manage any technical issues through engineering analysis
  • Lead team projects, and provide specialist assistance (SME) to working groups, colleagues and engineering project managers
  • Support and advise on system design and verification work for the MID telescope
  • Participate in and lead project design reviews as requested
  • Undertake any other reasonable duties as directed by the SKA Project Engineer or a member of SKA Organization Senior Management

Mandatory Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • University degree in Physics or Engineering, another closely related and relevant field, or equivalent expertise
  • Strong demonstrable and lengthy experience (normally 5+ years) having provided technical leadership in the engineering of large high value research and development projects; radio astronomy, astronomy, telecommunications or defence – or a broad technical knowledge of the engineering of high technology systems, such as large observatories, space systems, telecommunications networks, nuclear power plants, etc.
  • Proven experience in one or more of the following fields as specialist engineer:
    • Radio Frequency (in the MID operational Frequency Band)
    • Antenna and Feed design, including experience in cryogenic systems
    • Beam Forming and Phased array, including experience of calibration techniques
    • Mechatronic and mechanical design of telescope/antenna infrastructures
    • Verification of complex systems
    • SW development and integration for scientific projects
  • Familiarity with telescopes based on radio interferometry, including experience with debugging interferometers at an early stage of development
  • Experience in working with international projects and scientists from a variety of cultures, including projects with’ in-kind’ contribution
  • Good English oral and written communication skills
  • The ability to influence people in widely differing parts of a complex organisation
  • Willing to travel, nationally and internationally as required

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Membership of, or eligibility for a recognised national or international system engineering institute
  • Knowledge of, or a demonstrable interest in, the development, operation and ethos of large-scale international research infrastructures such as observatories
  • Experience in design for volume production and/or in large-scale manufacturing and assembly

For more information on the SKA project visit

SKA Organisation offers a competitive salary and a generous company pension scheme. The successful applicant’s workplace will be located at SKA Organisation’s Global headquarters in Jodrell Bank Observatory.

How to apply:

Please send:

  • a cover letter summarising how your skills, experience and knowledge meet each of the mandatory and desirable qualifications, experience and knowledge criteria as listed in the job description above;
  • a CV
  • details of your current remuneration package and notice period,

to, quoting reference RTSE/19.

Should you be submitting applications for more than one of the available roles within the SKA Organisation please indicate this in your cover letter.

Closing date for receipt of applications is 1st April 2019.

Equal Opportunities Statement:

SKA Organisation is committed to being an equal opportunities employer. Our aim to is recruit and retain the most talented individuals, regardless of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion or nationality.

At all stages of the recruitment process and beyond, we strive to treat applicants and employees with a high standard of care, honesty and politeness.

Women have traditionally been under-represented in the fields of science and engineering; SKA Organisation 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. If you need equipment or adjustments to enable you to complete your application and/or attend an interview, then please let us know.

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Selection Deadline: 
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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