Senior Domain Engineer (10214)

At the SKAO we are coordinating a global effort to deliver one of the largest science facilities on the planet. The SKAO telescopes will be next-generation instruments that will help to answer key questions in astrophysics, drive technological innovation and support human capital development. 

More than a dozen partner countries and over a thousand scientists and engineers around the world are already on board, making the SKA project an international collaboration like no other, and one of the most ambitious science and engineering endeavours of the 21st century.

Headquartered in the UK, with telescope sites in Australia and South Africa, the SKAO will be one observatory operating two telescopes, an endeavour spanning three continents. Multinational by design, in early 2021 the SKAO became an intergovernmental organisation, one of only a select handful of science infrastructures to do so worldwide.

Our Global HQ is located near the buzzing city of Manchester at the historic Jodrell Bank Observatory, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Cheshire countryside. It is home to a rapidly expanding international team of more than a hundred, working in a highly collaborative and inclusive way, in coordination with SKAO teams in Australia and South Africa as part of a global astronomy and engineering community.

Being part of Team SKA means contributing to something extraordinary: a uniquely exciting project to advance human knowledge that will last for decades. In return, we offer a diverse multicultural working environment, 30 days annual leave plus public holidays, a generous pension scheme, visa and support with relocation (if applicable), regular social events, a family-friendly environment and much more. Come and join us!

Senior Domain Engineer

A unique opportunity for an experienced Senior Engineer to join an international team and participate in the construction, verification and commissioning of one of the largest scientific facilities on the planet.

Job Location
Cheshire, UK (Head Office)
Area / Department
Contract Type
GBP 65,000 - 75,000 depending on experience, with excellent benefits
Closing Date
Ref No

The Role

The Senior Domain Engineer will provide engineering support and leadership, both in their specific discipline and across the entire SKA-Mid Telescope. Working in collaboration with the SKAO System Scientists, the Senior Domain Engineer will be responsible for the performance of the SKA-Mid Telescope.

Reporting to SKAO Head of Engineering, the Senior Domain Engineer will join the SKA-Mid Telescope Delivery Team, a multidisciplinary team responsible for the “delivery” of the SKA-Mid Telescope. This role will be known internally as SKA-Mid Telescope Domain Specialist.

This role will be based at the SKAO Global Headquarters at the iconic Jodrell Bank Observatory in the UK, and will require occasional travel and liaising with colleagues located overseas.

SKAO is committed to providing a flexible working environment meeting the requests of our Colleagues whilst also fulfilling the needs and objectives of the Observatory. We encourage open conversations during the interview and application process in relation to any specific requirements, and later with line managers to assess individual flexible working arrangements alongside the needs of the organisation and responsibilities and accountabilities of the specific role and team.
There may be occasions where this role requires the post holder to work across different time zones and, in line with SKAO policy, flexible working hours will be supported in agreement with the line manager.

Key Responsibilities, Accountabilities and Duties

  • Provide guidance, advice and technical leadership for the SKA MID Telescope, as a member of the MID Telescope Delivery Team (TDT), both at a system level and in their area of expertise.
  • Lead engineering analysis, including technical budget analysis, technical notes, and engineering reports as required.
  • Lead and partecipate in investigations into technical issues.
  • Advise the TDT Project Manager on technical risks and performance compliance.
  • Apply a systemic approach to problem solving, demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of the work area’s technology and process.
  • Lead team projects, and provide specialist assistance to working groups, colleagues and engineering project managers.
  • Represent SKAO at technical professional forums to keep up to date with best practice within a specialist engineering field.
  • Occasionally travel nationally and internationally as required.
  • Undertake any other reasonable duties as directed by the SKA Project Engineer.

Mandatory Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Degree in Physics, Engineering or another closely related and relevant field, or equivalent experience.
  • Substantial experience 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 design and characterisation of complex signal chains, from the detection to the processed digital data. The technical areas of experience could include system performance analysis and simulation in the analog and digital domain as well as optical components, imaging components, sensors, spectroscopic, microwave, particle detectors, opto-electronic detectors & components, signal processing, ADCs and fast read-out electronics. 
  • Experience in working with international projects and scientists from a variety of cultures, including projects with 'in-kind' contribution.
  • Experience in leading diverse professional staff/project teams with the ability to coach and mentor.
  • Strong analytical skills and experience in performance, technical budget analysis and in addressing multidisciplinary, multifaceted complex problems.
  • Effective oral and written communication skills in English with the ability to influence people in widely differing parts of a complex organisation.

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Membership of, or eligibility for membership of, a recognised national or international 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.
  • Familiarity with telescopes based on radio interferometry, including experience with debugging interferometers at an early stage of development.

Equality Diversity and Inclusion Statement

SKA Observatory recognises that our diversity is a strength. We aim to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone feels they belong, and diverse perspectives and ideas thrive. As such, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion are at the core of SKA Observatory’s agenda.

Our aim is to recruit and retain the most talented individuals, regardless of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, nationality or background.

Women have traditionally been under-represented in the fields of science and engineering; SKA Observatory 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.

SKA Observatory welcome all candidates, especially those from member countries.

The “How to Apply” information contained within the SKA Observatory recruitment portal provides more detail regarding our application and selection approach.