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Instrument Development and Research Scientist

STFC - The Science and Technology Facilities Council - Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

The Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is a partner organisation within UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). UKRI is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation.

Instrument Development and Research Scientist


Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Didcot

£30,782 - £33,459

Full time

Open ended

About the role

This is a new opportunity for an Instrument Development and Research Scientist with a specialisation in instrument control and data handling systems (software) and data analyses and interpretation to join RAL Space.

As an Instrument Development and Research Scientist you will be involved in the development of various scientific instruments, primarily astronomy, space weather, and remote-sensing systems, which will require a cross-disciplinary approach to solve complex problems. Your responsibilities will include design and development work from concept through prototype and on to "common user" instrumentation for the scientific community as well as software/pipeline developments. You will also be required to interface between users (scientists) and engineering teams in identifying and planning instrumentation solutions, and to carry out research elements as appropriate.

Instrument Development and Research Scientist will be expected to assist in the LOFAR For Space Weather (LOFAR4SW) prototype commissioning at Chilbolton, undertake several test observations and data transfer tasks as part of the LOFAR4SW project, compile, interpret, and present these results, and also input into the development of the Interplanetary Scintillation (IPS) software data-analyses pipeline and system design document preparations for the Critical Design Review (CDR).

Key tasks and responsibilities will include:

  • Presentation of results/solutions orally to a variety of audiences (includes, but not limited to conferences, seminars, public/media events, funding meetings)
  • Presentation of results/solutions in written form (such as in journals, reports, internal memos, in proposals for follow-on/additional work)
  • Ability to also present the research methodology and to walk others through the various design/testing steps in addition to the results as noted in the above points
  • Analyses and compilation of data of different forms with the ability to formulate, summarise, and present the main findings to a variety of audiences and in both oral and written formats as indicated in the above points
  • Ability to objectively design tests/experiments to solve research/design problems (such as instrumentation research observing modes, specifications of instrument based on requirements, etc.)
  • Ability to implement and/or design models to verify testing/research work; and
  • Provision of advice and planning on technical and scientific aspects of both the research and instrument design work.

Although the post will be based at RAL Space at RAL (near Didcot), travel to Chilbolton and other UKRI/STFC sites will be required as well as a willingness to undertake national/international travel on UKRI/STFC/RAL Space business.

About you

You will be educated to PhD level (or equivalent) in a numerate science of engineering discipline. You will demonstrate evidence of instrument design/development work, including data handling as well as numerical programming skills.

You will also demonstrate:

  • Knowledge of Python or willingness to develop own skills in Python
  • Knowledge and/or experience in basic software pipelining
  • Ability to develop own proof of concept experiments from concept
  • Knowledge and understanding of the radio technique of interplanetary scintillation (IPS) and its data analyses and interpretation
  • Ability to both work independently and develop a task once given as well as being a team worker and able to take direction from within a group
  • Verbal and written communication skills with the ability to engage a wide variety or people, groups, and audiences.

It is also desirable, but not essential for you to demonstrate the below:

  • Experience of prototype developments – lab demonstrators, proof of concept, etc.
  • A broad appreciation of the science of space weather and of the technological impacts of space weather
  • Knowledge and understanding of the LOw Frequency ARray (LOFAR) and its potential wide usage for space-weather monitoring and science
  • Understanding of engineering design/development process.

About Us

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest science research organisations. We’re trusted to support, enable and undertake pioneering projects in an amazing diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving ground-breaking advances in science and technology. STFC’s RAL Space department carries out an exciting range of world-class space research and technology development. We’ve had significant involvement in over 210 space missions and operate at the forefront of UK Space Research.

As part of UK Research and Innovation, STFC offers a benefits package designed to provide an excellent work/life balance. This includes 30 days’ annual leave, 10.5 public and privilege days, Christmas shut down, flexible working hours, a workplace nursery, an exceptional defined benefit pension scheme, and social and sporting activities and societies. RAL Space are also gold sponsors of Women in Aerospace Europe. Open to all our employees, membership grants access to networking events, workshops, professional development training and mentoring.

How to Apply

Applicants are required to include a cover letter outlining their suitability for this role. The closing date for applications 22nd April 2020, however early applications are encouraged as applicants will be reviewed and considered on an on-going basis.

Applications are handled by UK Shared Business Services, to apply please visit our job board at Applicants who are unable to apply online should contact us by telephone on +44 (0)1793 867000.

Location: Didcot, Harwell, Oxford
Salary: £30,782 to £33,459
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Permanent
Placed On: 24th March 2020
Closes: 22nd April 2020
Job Ref: IRC253385
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