Researcher for the SWIGS project


Direct Entry Job 2 years Harwell, UK

Uploaded 28 May 2019

Job Description

The Data Analysis Tools Branch at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) seeks a Systems Software Engineer to help advance data-analysis tools for the James Webb Space Telescope and other missions. STScI is the science operations center for several NASA missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope, the most famous space observatory in history. We also lead the science and mission operations for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), planned to launch in 2021 and will perform parts of the science operations for the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), in formulation for launch in the mid-2020s. 

You will be joining a group dedicated to developing cutting-edge software to enable scientific breakthroughs. Our data-analysis software is built primarily in python, with C providing performance enhancements where practical. STScI has been a major contributor to the open-source scientific python software stack, including numpy, scipy, matplotlib and Astropy. We are incorporating Jupyter notebooks in data-analysis applications and developing and supporting JupyterLab environments in the cloud.

You will collaborate with a team that is passionate about the work they do in support of astronomers around the world.STScI offers an excellent and generous benefits package, tuition reimbursement, flexible work schedules, and a stimulating and diverse work environment. Relocation assistance may be available. Explore our benefits:

Essential Functions:

We are particularly interested in candidates who can play a major role developing and maintaining some of the deep infrastructure of this software stack. This includes continuing to develop the Advanced Scientific Data Format (ASDF), as well as associated development of open-source schema to facilitate data interchange between observatories. Such work benefits from a strong computer-science background and does not require much or any astronomy background.

  • You will design, develop, test and deploy software to assist astronomers in analyzing astronomical data, in close collaboration with STScI’s technical and scientific staff
  • You will help maintain and extend the current packages as well as build new ones
  • You will contribute not only to software but also to algorithm development, user support, training, and software engineering process improvement
  • You will communicate and interact with the open-source community in development forums such as GitHub, as well as in scientific and technical publications and at conferences

Person Specification

You should ideally have a PhD in physics (focussed on Space Physics and/or Geomagnetism) and would benefit from prior experience in the analysis of spacecraft or ground based data.


  • PhD training
  • experience with either or both spacecraft and ground based data
  • knowledge of magnetospheric and ionospheric physics
  • good science communication skills both verbal and written.


  • a good understanding of the effects of space weather on the Earth’s environment 
  • a good understanding of the nature of the responses of the Earth’s environment such as sub-storms, ring current, magnetopause.