Project Assistant


Direct Entry Job Permanent Edinburgh, UK

Uploaded 1 Nov 2019

Job Description

Brief Description

Salary: £24,777 - £26,932 per annum
Grade: UKRI-C
Contract Type: Open-Ended
Hours: Full Time
Closing Date: 1st December 2019

Located at the Royal Observatory (Edinburgh), the UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) is the UK national centre for the design and construction of world-leading instruments and systems for astronomy. As a science driven, professional engineering organisation, we employ state-of-the-art technology across all our products, including complex optical and infra-red detectors, vacuum-cryogenics, control electronics and software, for both astronomy and non-astronomy applications, in collaboration with academic and industrial partners around the world.

The instruments we produce are unique and technically challenging but must be easy to use and highly reliable in difficult environments, such as on high mountain top sites and in Space. Current major projects at the UK ATC include Harmoni and METIS for the E-ELT, MOONS for the VLT, MIRI for the JWST, ALMA, and the SKA.

Due to increasing workload, the UK ATC Project Management Group now seeks an experienced Project Assistant to help manage and control its project portfolio and to provide administrative support to the various internal/external staff involved. Working with other Project Assistants, and reporting to the Head of Project Management, you will be allocated to one or more projects where your duties will include:

  • Acting as Personal Assistant to one or more Project Managers
  • Coordinating and ensuring the efficient running of all project meetings, which will include managing the invitations, and recording the minutes and actions
  • Logistics for UK ATC staff at project meetings held in partner organisations
  • Communicating effectively to all project staff, using appropriate media including emails, written briefings and verbal communications
  • Assisting the Project Managers in monitoring their project progress and costs via the use of spread-sheets, project plans, and reports from the finance system
  • Tracking and progressing project action items, risk and fault logs, etc
  • Organising and preparing the paperwork for formal reviews and workshops
  • Configuration/document management; maintaining project files and ensuring accuracy and consistent quality across all project documentation and robust version control
  • Participating in project and office procurement and managing purchase orders in conjunction with SBS (Shared Business Services)
  • Providing administrative support to the Heads of Group
  • Sharing and covering other PA duties within the PM Group as required
  • You will be a proactive, reliable team player who is used to managing your own work and responsibilities with minimum supervision. Project work involves many people working collaboratively across various UK and International Institutes on multiple tasks. Therefore, good interpersonal skills and clear communication, as well as administrative and organisational efficiency, is needed to work effectively while managing conflicting needs in a busy office environment.

Person Specification

Shortlisting Criteria (S), Interview Criteria (I) or Both (S&I)


  • Minimum of 2 SQA Highers or equivalent, including English at Band 3/C or above (S)
  • Strong all round administrative and numeracy skills (S&I)
  • IT literate with familiarity with Microsoft Office packages (S)
  • Good communication skills (S&I)
  • Proactive, reliable, and personable team player (I)
  • Able to work well under pressure at times of tight deadlines (I)


  • Experience of working in a technical and/or academic environment (S)
  • Managing financial budgets (S&I)
  • Understanding of project management (I)
  • Experience of configuration management tools (e.g. Opentext, Livelink) (S).