Project Scientist

  • Full Time
  • Posted 4 weeks ago
  • Salary: £39,748 to £44,166 per annum (dependent on skills and experience)

Company Details

Supporting research and knowledge exchange at higher education

Science and Technology Facilities Council

Contract Type: Open Ended.
Location: Science and Technology Facilities Council, UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh.
Additional Information: Interviews are scheduled to take place on the week commencing dates 26th July.


We have an exciting opportunity to join the Project Science Group at STFC’s UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC). The UK ATC is the national centre of expertise for the design and production of state-of-the-art astronomical instrumentation and systems. It provides a friendly and flexible environment, on a beautiful site combining a historic observatory with modern state-of-the-art facilities.

We are looking for an enthusiastic astronomer to join our team working on the development of the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO). Construction of the SKAO will start later this year and, when complete, it will be the world’s most sensitive radio telescope. The UKATC is leading the development of the applications used by astronomers to create SKAO proposals and design the observations. Your role will be as a Product Owner in the development and delivery of the SKAO Observatory Science Operations tools.

You will bring significant scientific experience in observational astronomy. In joining our local team and international partners, you will shape the ways in which the SKAO will be used and steer development of the required software. You will also contribute more broadly to the scientific activities at the UKATC, including development of future projects and investigating applications of our technologies to other fields.

You will be expected to pursue your own research programme in an area reflecting the science priorities of projects in development at the UKATC. In addition to the SKAO, these include major roles on projects for the European Southern Observatory’s Extremely Large Telescope (HARMONI, METIS, HIRES, MOSAIC), MOONS and CUBES for the Very Large Telescope, ALMA, and LISA. A statement of your research interests and future plans (max. three pages) should be included with your application.

The UKATC is committed to a diverse and inclusive workforce. We are invested in creating an environment that is welcoming and supportive of all, to help us achieve the highest possible standards in our work and organisation together. In this regard, we encourage applications from under-represented groups.



As part of UK Research and Innovation, STFC offers a benefits package that includes 30 days annual leave, 10.5 public and privilege days, Christmas shut down, an excellent defined-benefit pension scheme, and flexible working options that support a good work-life balance. Within this post there will be opportunities for professional development courses, both through STFC and support of other training that will help your career development.


Further Information

You can start as early as September 2021.

We are looking for a reliable and flexible person with good interpersonal skills who can integrate and work effectively within our project teams and to contribute to the wider research environment of the UKATC. Good written and verbal communication skills (in English) and the ability to communicate effectively with colleagues and project partners are essential. Once business travel is safe to resume, you must be willing and able to travel to our partner institutes and to project meetings both in the UK and overseas.

You will have hands-on experience with radio and/or sub-mm astronomical instrumentation or observations. You will have an excellent track record of published research and experience of scientific data analysis and problem-solving.

You will be highly literate with astronomical software, including user interfaces for observations, and be able to write clear scientific/technical reports and user-focused software requirements. You will also demonstrate excellent presentation, communications and interpersonal skills and the ability to work independently.


Person Specification

The criteria below will be assessed at Shortlisting (S), Interview (I), or both (S&I).


  • PhD in Astronomy (or related field) and postdoctoral-level experience (S)
  • Strong track record of delivering published research in astronomy and/or instrumentation, with significant observational experience in radio/sub-mm astronomy (S&I)
  • Understanding of interferometric techniques in long-wavelength astronomy (S&I)
  • Demonstrated excellence and peer recognition in your research field (S&I)
  • Proficiency in astronomical software (S&I)
  • Able to communicate clearly with project collaborators and software developers on technical details (I)
  • Proven ability to work effectively within a team: locally, nationally, internationally (S&I)
  • Excellent communication (written and spoken), organisational and presentational skills, enabling the succinct transfer of information to a wide and diverse audience (S&I)
  • Good interpersonal skills (I).


  • Demonstrated enthusiasm for public engagement and outreach (S)
  • Commissioning astronomical instrumentation or software (S&I)
  • Good working knowledge of observatory operations (S&I)
  • Time and resource management skills, and demonstrated ability to direct the work of others (I)
  • Knowledge of the Scrum framework for agile software development (S&I).

How to apply:

In addition to your statement of research interests and future plans, please submit a CV, full publication list, and the names of two potential referees.



About STFC 

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation where curiosity-driven, blue-skies thinking meets practical, application-led science and engineering. Our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world.

One of Europe’s largest research organisations, we’re trusted to support, enable and undertake cutting-edge projects in an amazing diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving ground-breaking advances in science, engineering, computing and technology. Our research seeks to understand the Universe from the largest astronomical scales to the tiniest constituents of matter, yet creates impact on a very tangible, human scale.

How to Apply

Online applications only preferred for this role. Please submit your CV and a covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation to join STFC and the role you’re applying for. Ensure that the job reference number is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Note that failure to address the above criteria or submit your application without a covering letter may result in your application not being considered. You will only be assessed on the content of your CV and covering letter and not the ‘experience’ section of the application.

About UKRI

Launched in April 2018, UKRI is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Our organisation brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England, which is responsible for supporting research and knowledge exchange at higher education institutions in England, and the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. More information can be found at

How we support EDI in the workforce

At UKRI we believe that everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be provided with equal opportunities to flourish and succeed in an environment that enables them to do so. We also value diversity of thought and experience within inclusive groups, organisations and the wider community.  For further information, please visit ‘How we support EDI in the workforce’

Disability Confident Employer

As a Disability Confident employer, UKRI will offer an interview to a fair and proportionate number of disabled applicants that meet the minimum criteria for the job (this is the description of the job as set by the employer). To enable us to do this we ask the appropriate questions within the candidate application.
For more information on this scheme, click here.


Tagged as: agile software development, observatory operations, astronomical instrumentation and software

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