Senior Instrumentation Systems Engineer

Job Summary

Science Engineering
United Kingdom Astronomy Technology Centre
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement

Job Description

Senior Instrumentation Systems Engineer

Salary: UKRI Band F S1 £62,178 to £68,395 per annum (dependent on skills and experience)
Hours: Full-Time (We understand the importance of work-life balance and are happy to discuss the possibility of flexible working with applicants)
Contract Type: Open-Ended.
Location: UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh

Come and do the kind of engineering that made you want to be an engineer. Stretch your technical skills while building human understanding. Promote sustainability and create new materials. And, alongside world-leading scientists, technicians and technologists, shape projects that improve lives, and daily life, in the UK and far beyond.

Put simply, come and discover the impact you can make when you’re equipped, encouraged and inspired to perform to your very best.

One of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) National Laboratories, the UK ATC is the national centre of expertise for designing and building ground and space-based instrumentation for large astronomical observatories worldwide. We develop the most powerful astronomical instruments and telescopes in the world working in partnership with the European Southern Observatory, European Space Agency, UK Space Agency, NASA. Our mission brings our engineering excellence to work together with national and international universities, institutes and industry to design and deliver high precision instruments that answer the biggest questions about our universe. Data from our instruments is used by scientists around the world to study planets beyond our solar system, the birth and evolution of stars and galaxies.

We now have an exciting opportunity for an experienced System Engineer to join our team and work with our multidisciplinary engineers and scientists to deliver some of the next generation instruments for the large optical-infrared observatories now in construction. Your System Engineering expertise will underpin the engineering development. As a Senior Systems Engineer at the UK ATC, you will be responsible for the technical leadership that ensures performance of the delivered product and will have a significant customer-facing role.

About the role

The Systems Engineering group at the UK ATC is seeking people with proven experience as an accomplished, practicing Systems Engineer. In addition to being an accomplished design engineer in a primary engineering discipline, you must have proven experience of leading a multidisciplinary engineering team. Some level of domestic and international travel to work with collaborators should be anticipated.

As a Senior Systems Engineer, you will be a key player in the project management team. You will have the freedom to define, control and execute your own work plan without the need to be supervised and you will have many opportunities to innovate and develop new technical solutions, with considerable scope to be both creative and pragmatic.

Responsibilities will include:

  • Technical leadership and main point of contact with external technical stakeholders
  • Overall responsibility for the flow of information within the project team and with the external stakeholders.
  • Definition and control of internal and external interfaces.
  • Application of end-to-end systems analysis and modelling and the subsequent allocation and management of technical budgets/tolerances.
  • Requirements engineering.
  • The development of integration and test plans which will verify compliance with sub-system and instrument requirements.
  • Manage the assembly, integration and testing of systems and sub-systems in UK ATC laboratories.
  • Verification testing and acceptance at sub-system and system level.
  • Installation and commissioning of products at deployment sites, typically observatories.

Person Specification

The UK ATC are 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 welcome applications from underrepresented minorities. We value work-life balance and are supportive of flexible working arrangements while meeting the in-person interactive nature of the role and travel requirements.

Your suitability for the role will be assessed on the degree to which you demonstrate the following capabilities and experience.

  • Degree in Physics or a relevant engineering subject area (Optical, Mechanical, Systems, Electronics), or equivalent experience.
  • Proven industry systems engineering experience including architectural design of complex systems.
  • Proven experience in leading and managing significant multidisciplinary, engineering teams.
  • General knowledge of a wide range of instrumentation technologies.
  • Excellent analytical and technical problem-solving skills.
  • Eye for detail with the ability to keep the bigger picture in mind.
  • Excellent communication skills with stakeholders and engineering discipline experts
  • Interest in and ability to mentor and develop less experienced engineers in the project team

We ask some of the biggest questions in the universe, and answer some of the biggest challenges in the world. In STFC our scientists, technologists, engineers and business-support team explore the unknown across every field you could think of. And they turn what they find into work that changes the world around us.

What could you achieve with the world-leading facilities and experts of one of Europe's largest research organisations by your side? Join us and discover what's possible.

About The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

As one of Europe’s largest research organisations, we ask the biggest questions in the universe to find answers that change the world around us. We seek understanding. We’re proud of the impact we make. And we’re committed to helping build a globally competitive, knowledge-based UK economy. Being part of all this means contributing to work that pushes boundaries and creates possibilities. You’ll work with, and learn from, true experts. Whatever your role, you’ll be free to question, and encouraged to share ideas. And, in a positive and supportive culture, you’ll discover just what a difference you can make when you’re equipped and inspired to excel.

We’re a place where curious minds thrive. Not bound by profit, we explore ideas that others don’t, ask questions that others won’t, and discover answers that others are not equipped to find. And, alongside Mars landings and black holes, we also explore diverse, international projects in everything from science and engineering to computing and technology. Whether it’s at the cutting edge or behind the scenes, our work is intellectually challenging. It’s very often ground-breaking. And it’s endlessly, irresistibly fascinating.

For more information about STFC please visit

You can also visit our careers site

About UK Research Innovation (UKRI)

UKRI is an organisation that brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Together, we build an independent organisation with a strong voice and vision ensuring the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation.

Supporting some of the world’s most exciting and challenging research projects, we develop and operate some of the most remarkable scientific facilities in the world. We are pushing the frontiers of human knowledge through fundamental research and delivering benefits for UK society and the economy through world-class research, skills and business-led innovation.

More information can be found at

Choosing to come to work at UKRI means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits from a defined benefit pension scheme, excellent holiday entitlement, access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme. For more details, visit benefits of working for UKRI.

The role holder will be required to have the appropriate level of security screening/vetting required for the role. UKRI reserves the right to run or re-run security clearance as required during the course of employment.

How we support EDI in the workforce

At UKRI, we believe that everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be provided with equal opportunities to thrive and succeed in an environment that enables them to do so. We also value diversity of thought and experience within inclusive groups, organisations and the wider community. For further information, please visit ‘How we support EDI in the workforce’.

Disability Confident Employer

As users of the disability confident scheme, we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy/ies. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation.

How to apply

Online applications only preferred for this role. Please submit a CV and covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation for UKRI and the role. Ensure that the job reference number is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Note that failure to address the above criteria or submit an application without a covering letter may result in the application not being considered. Assessment will only be based upon the content of your submitted covering letter and CV and not the ‘experience’ section of the application.

UKRI seeks to ensure it creates and maintains a system of openness, fairness and inclusion – a collaborative, trusted environment, which is attractive to and accessible to everyone who is interested in developing their career with us.


Application Details

Publication Start Date
2024 Feb 01
Application Deadline
2024 Feb 29