• Full Time
  • Edinburgh
  • 16 July 2021

Website UK Astronomy Technology Centre

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.

Salary Band E (£39,748 – 44,166)


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.