Documentation Software Engineer (Fixed Term)

Job Summary

Science Engineering
University of Cambridge
Institute of Astronomy
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement
In-Person Location(s)

United Kingdom

Job Description

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available until 31 March 2026 in the first instance.

This is an exciting opportunity for Software Developer to join the Institute of Astronomy (IoA), University of Cambridge, as part of the data processing group for the European Space Agency's Gaia project (, within the IoA Data Projects (CamCEAD) group. Gaia is a space observatory of the European Space Agency (ESA), launched in 2013, operational until 2025 and a final data release 2030/31. The core goal of the Gaia project is to produce the largest, most precise three-dimensional map of our galaxy by surveying over one billion stars and analysing their position, motion, and spectra, to reveal the Milky Way present-day structure and uncover its formation and evolution.

The successful candidate will work with the Gaia software development team and their main commitment will be the preparation of the documentation for the Gaia Data Releases (GDRs), with GDR4 foreseen not before end of 2025 and the final GDR5 by 2030/31. They will also be responsible for the enhancement and maintenance of the Gaia in the UK ( webpage.

The successful candidate will hold a qualification (Master or equivalent) in a relevant discipline (e.g. computer science, mathematics, astronomy, physics or engineering). The Gaia consortium adopted LaTeX to write the documentation, hence its knowledge is essential. The documentation is also published as webpage, which makes the conversion from LaTeX to HTML one of the key responsibilities of the documentation team. In this context also the knowledge of XML and the understanding of web application, including accessibility, usability and security, are necessary. This skill will also be applicable for the Gaia in the UK webpage.

The Gaia documentation reflects the complexity of the project and many members of the consortium contribute to it, therefore the ability to handle complex documents is mandatory, as also the ability to proofread scientific or technical publications. Good team working and interpersonal skills will be required to communicate with the consortium development partners in other European institutes and ESA. Familiarity with astronomy and/or Gaia are desirable but not essential.

The role will grant opportunities to interact with the wider CamCEAD team, with the potential to contribute to other projects, including ground based astronomical surveys, medical imaging, and with the whole IoA community as well.

The ability to work as part of a team and have good communication skills is also required. The post-holder will be required to attend meetings both elsewhere in the UK and overseas.

Closing Date: 23:59 GMT on Sunday, 21 April 2024

Applications will be reviewed after the closing date and short-listed candidates will be interviewed Friday, 3rd May 2024. Interviews will be held on-line.

Please indicate the contact details of three academic referees on the online application form and upload a full curriculum vitae (CV), list of publications, and a research/technical experience statement (with the research/technical experience statement totaling three pages max, in 11pt. font).

Note that references will only be requested for shortlisted candidates. The names and email contact details of three referees are a necessary part of the submission. If short-listed for interview, you should advise your nominated referees that their references will be requested with a deadline of Thursday, 2nd May 2024.

Please quote reference LG40991 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society. The University of Cambridge thrives on the diversity of its staff and students. Applications from underrepresented groups are particularly welcome. We have an active Equality and Diversity Committee which continually works to further the aims of the Athena SWAN charter. The University has a number of family-friendly policies and initiatives, including a returning-carer scheme, childcare costs support, university workplace nurseries, university holiday play-schemes, and a shared parental-leave policy. As part of its commitment to providing a family-friendly environment for researchers, the IoA ensures that should parental leave be needed during the course of employment, there is provision for extension to contract to compensate for the parental leave taken.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Compensation and Benefits

Compensation Range
$33,966USD to $44,263USD
Included Benefits

What the University of Cambridge has to offer:

Compensation Notes

Please note that figures above are in UK £ - please refer to salary details in main body of the advert.

Application Details

Publication Start Date
2024 Mar 22
Application Deadline
2024 Apr 21
Reference Code


Dr Nicholas Walton