Signal Processing Engineer (10227)

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!

Signal Processing Engineer

An exciting opportunity for a Signal Processing Engineer with experience in design, analisys and performance-verification of the signal chain to join an international team and contribute to the delivery of the largest radio telescope on the planet.

Job Location
Cheshire, UK (Head Office)
Area / Department
Contract Type
GBP 55,000 - 65,000 depending on experience, with excellent benefits
Closing Date
Ref No

The Role

The Signal Processing Engineer will work as part of the SKAO Digital Product Delivery Team and will contribute to the delivery of the signal chain fulfilling its technical requirements.

The Signal Processing Engineer will provide engineering analysis and support as well as technical leadership at all levels of the SKA project. They will 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.

This role is known internally as Signal Processing Domain Specialist and will report to the Domain Specialist Team Lead.

This role will be based at the SKAO Global Headquarters at the iconic Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, 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 technical leadership in domain expertise across the entire SKA project.
  • Work with project managers as required to provide guidance, advice and technical assistance.
  • Act as Design Authority for the signal chain of the SKA Telescope.
  • Develop and maintain working relationships and communication with key stakeholders to ensure effective delivery of engineering activities.
  • Participate in and lead team projects, and provide specialist assistance to working groups, colleagues and engineering project managers.
  • Manage suppliers and contractors in collaboration with the project managers.
  • Lead the Product Delivery Team’s technical reviews and participate in other project reviews when requested.
  • Represent SKAO in the Signal Processing engineering discipline at international events (e.g. workshops, conferences).
  • Travel nationally and internationally as required (typically for 1-2 weeks, 2-3 times per year).
  • Undertake any other reasonable duties as directed by the Line Manager, the Head of Engineering or the Senior Management Team.

Mandatory Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Degree in Physics, Engineering or another closely related and relevant field, or equivalent experience.
  • Strong theoretical background and in-depth knowledge of deterministic and statistical Signal Processing.
  • Experience in the Digital Signal Processing design and implementation.
  • Experience with the performance-verification of signal-processing chains in the context of large systems, including digital or analogue beamformer or phased arrays applications.
  • 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.
  • Ability to quickly adapt to the needs of a significant engineering and technical/scientific project.
  • Familiarity with system engineering principles for deriving and verifying requirements as well as maintaining interfaces.
  • Ability to influence to ensure delivery of joined up solutions, working effectively with engineers and scientists in a multi-cultural environment.
  • Industry experience, and/or a track record in successful collaborative links with industry.

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Experience

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

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.