Standards Engineer (10207)

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, regular social events, a family-friendly environment and much more. Come and join us!

Standards Engineer

An amazing opportunity for a Standards Engineer with experience in defining and executing standards for the delivery of products and services to join an international organisation and contribute to the delivery of one of the largest science facilities on the planet.

Job Location
UK (Head Office)
Area / Department
Engineering and Project Management
Contract Type
Competitive salary with generous pension, private healthcare and leave benefits
Closing Date
Ref No

The Role

The Standards Engineer will be responsible for the identification and definition (where necessary) of standards and oversee their implementation for the different contracts in the SKA project to ensure the products and services comply with the SKAO, statutory and regulatory requirements. Specifically, this will involve ensuring that the relevant processes, clauses, and requirements in the standards are implemented for the different contracts to enable the achievement of the expected quality in the acquired products and services.

Reporting to the Product Assurance Manager, the Standards Engineer will support the Product Assurance team in the implementation of quality assurance and control activities of some of the contracts of the SKA project.

The duties of the Standards Engineer also include managerial responsibilities, standing in for the Product Assurance Manager as needed to lead and manage the Product Assurance team. Therefore the Standards Engineer should have experience in delivering projects through objectives setting for team members and motivating them to deliver the expected outcomes through monitoring and conducting performance reviews of each team members against their objectives.

The standards engineering activities required for the SKAO will involve several challenges which are unique to research infrastructures and the successful candidate will be one who can rise to these challenges and overcome them to help the Observatory deliver a world leading facility that will create new insights into the workings of the Universe.

This role will be based at the SKAO Global Headquarters at the iconic Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire, UK, and flexibility around working hours will be accommodated in agreement with the Line Manager and where operationally viable.

Key Responsibilities, Accountabilities and Duties

  • Identify the SKAO, national and international standards and best practices that are relevant to the different contracts in the SKA project.
  • Lead the definition of new standards as necessitated by changes or developments during the acquisition of the SKA.
  • Maintain records of all standards and ensure that they are current for the duration of the SKA acquisition.
  • Advice the SKAO project team on the applicability and relevance of these standards to the different contracts.
  • Review providers’ Quality Management Plans (QMPs) or other plans as relevant to clarify that they have specified the standards that are specific for providing the products or services in the Scope of their contracts.
  • Review the providers’ compliance evidence against all clauses/processes/requirements in the applicable standards to enable SKAO to accept this evidence at relevant stages of the contracts.
  • Engage with the providers to ensure that they have instructions or procedures in place to guide the implementation of the standards at the different stages of the products and services development; and their subsequent verification prior to acceptance by SKAO.
  • Monitor the implementation of the standards at the different stages of the contracts and report to the project team on their proper implementation.
  • Bringing to the attention of the project team and management any issues or defects, particularly standard-related issues or defects that may affect the quality of the products and services being acquired.
  • Represent SKAO at national and international forums or working groups to support the development of standards that are relevant to the SKA.
  • Support the SKAO project team with the acceptance of products and services by:
    • Reviewing deliverables at different stages of the acquisition against the relevant standards;
    • Auditing the final products and services against their relevant standards.
  • Support the implementation of the quality assurance and control activities of some of the contracts through:
    • Review of providers' quality policy statements and plans to enable the Project Manager to accept them;
    • Monitor the implementation of the providers' quality plans;
    • Regularly report to the Project Manager and project team on the overall implementation of the providers' quality plans;
    • Support the Product Assurance Manager in the arrangement and conduct of Quality Audits.
  • Travel nationally and internationally as required to providers’ sites, the SKA test facilities and the telescope construction sites.

Mandatory Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Degree in manufacturing, engineering or related disciplines, or equivalent experience
  • Demonstrated experience in the implementation of standards in mass production and bespoke manufacturing processes that pertain to electronic equipment, civil works, plant/machinery, fabricated structures or distribution systems (power, data, fluids)
  • Experience in carrying out quality assurance related activities on major products
  • Experience of planning and carrying out of test and inspections on equipment and systems
  • Knowledge and implementation of ISO 9000 and 9001 specific industry equivalent
  • Demonstrable willingness to develop and maintain own knowledge in the area of standards development
  • Ability to listen and communicate effectively, verbally and in writing
  • Able to influence and change behaviour of internal and external stakeholders
  • Self-motivated, proactive and flexible team player who is adaptable to change

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • A Chartered Engineer status or working towards chartership or ability to demonstrate that you can meet the requirements to attain chartership
  • Familiarity with Standards in the Defence, Aerospace or Astronomy industries
  • Understanding of systems engineering processes
  • Familiarity with major capital research infrastructure projects
  • Willingness to lead and manage a team to deliver against their objectives for the project

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.