Domain Specialist - Signal Processing

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Archive Date: 
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Engineering
Institution Classification/Type: 
SKA 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.  It will be one of a small number of cornerstone observatories around the world that will provide astrophysicists and cosmologists with a transformational view of the Universe. The SKA will be constructed in two distinct phases. The major science goals for the first phase, SKA1, will be to study the history and role of neutral Hydrogen in the Universe from the dark ages to the present-day, and to employ pulsars as probes of fundamental physics.

The SKA Organisation is headquartered in a purpose-built building at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, UK.


General Description

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). The project is currently preparing for the System Critical Design Review (CDR) and the development of the construction proposal in order to be ready to start the construction phase in 2020.  To accomplish this goal the SKA Office employs highly qualified scientists and engineers, project managers and system engineers. The technical strategy and philosophy of the project are strongly based on system engineering principles.


The Role

Domain engineers are staff with extensive experience in a field of interest to the SKA. Domain engineers provide engineering analysis as well as providing their technical expertise in support of the one or more work package managers.  They report to the SKA Project Engineer, working as a member of a multidisciplinary team providing engineering support and leadership in their specific discipline at all levels of the project. They apply their engineering expertise in the conduct of formal design reviews; detailed technical assessment of designs; the identification and resolution of design issues; verification and qualification of sub-systems and systems; and telescope integration and commissioning activities. They will routinely work with external work package contractors, scientists and engineers from partner organisations; and across sub-system and system boundaries as necessary.


The Domain specialist for signal processing will have the following duties and responsibilities:


Key Responsibilities, Accountabilities and Duties


  • Provide technical leadership in the area of domain expertise all over the SKA1 project.
  • Support the SKA Project Engineer providing engineering analysis, technical notes, and reports as required.
  • Work with Engineering Project Managers or equivalent, as appropriate to provide guidance, advice and technical assistance in their domain area of expertise.
  • Participate in and lead team projects, and provide specialist assistance to working groups, colleagues and engineering project managers.
  • Carry out design and verification work for the signal chain for LOW and MID telescope, specifically including correlators, beam formers and time domain signal processing systems.
  • Participate in design reviews when requested.
  • Undertake any other reasonable duties as directed by the SKA Project Engineer or a member of SKA Organization Senior Management Team.
  • Undertake training in the financial, occupational health and safety, and human resource management procedures applicable to the SKA or its partners.
  • Travel, as required, not only limited to the SKA partner countries.


Mandatory Qualifications, Experience & Knowledge


  • University degree in Physics or Engineering, another closely related and relevant field, or equivalent expertise;
  • Strong theoretical background in digital design, including analytic signals, multi-rate sampling theory and digital filtering.
  • Demonstrable experience with the performance-verification of signal-processing chains in the context of large systems, including digital or analogue beamformer or phased arrays applications.
  • Demonstrable experience with modern hardware methods, such as FPGAs, custom ICs, printed circuit board hardware and systems built up from these components.
    • Familiarity with analogue-to-digital conversion, including technical performance specifications of ADCs. 
    • Familiarity with RF signal-processing, including associated techniques.


  • Familiarity with telescopes based on radio interferometry, including experience with debugging interferometers at an early stage of development.
  • Demonstrable experience in the engineering of large high value research and development projects, in 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.;
  • Industry experience, and/or a track record in successful collaborative links with industry;
  • Good English oral and written communication skills and the ability to influence people in widely differing parts of a complex organisation.
  • Able to work effectively with SKA engineers and scientists from a variety of cultures, and
  • Willing to travel, nationally and internationally, and work outside normal business hours, including evenings and weekends;


Desirable Qualifications, Experience & Knowledge


The following competencies are desirable:


  • Membership of, or eligibility for, membership of, recognised national or international system engineering institutes;
  • 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;
  • Familiarity with the formalism for, and requirements of, quality control environments such as ISO9000.

For more information on the SKA project visit SKA Organisation offers a competitive salary, a generous company pension scheme, a relocation allowance (subject to qualifying criteria) and a flexible benefits package. The successful applicant’s workplace will be SKA Organisation’s headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory, UK


How to apply:


Please send a CV and covering letter to, quoting reference DS/SP18 and stating where you saw the job advertised. 


Applications should include a summary of your experience, including evidence of your suitability for the role, details of your current remuneration and the names of at least three professional references. 


Please note: your covering letter must contain, as a minimum, details of how you meet the mandatory criteria.  Cover letters that do not address this will not be considered. 


Closing date for receipt of applications is 22nd October 2018.



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: 
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Selection Deadline: 
Monday, November 19, 2018
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Human Resources
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland