SKA System Scientist

Square Kilometre Array

Direct Entry Job Permanent Cheshire, UK

Uploaded 24 Jan 2020

Job Description

The SKA Programme Directorate is seeking to appoint a talented and motivated radio astronomer to work in the expanding System Science group.  The group, based at the SKA Global Headquarters in the UK, has three main roles:

  • Planning for science commissioning and verification (evolving into leadership of these areas during construction).
  • Acting as an interface between science and engineering, supporting requirements analysis and verification and participating in project reviews.
  • Providing expertise and training in radio astronomical techniques within the SKA project.

During SKA contruction, science commissioning will be the main focus of the group's activity. Its members will work very closely with the individual SKA-LOW and MID commissioning teams (based respectively in Perth and Cape Town) and with the hardware and software engineering groups involved in construction, assembly, integration and verification.

Person Specification

Mandatory Knowledge, Skills and Experience

The appointee will be an active radio astronomer with the following qualifications:

  • A PhD (or equivalent) in astronomy or physics, with experience in observational radio astronomy.
  • A demonstrable understanding of radio astronomical techniques, most importantly interferometry.
  • The ability to reduce and interpret data from radio telescopes.
  • A good understanding of the science enabled by the SKA.
  • Experience of working in one or more of the construction, commissioning or operation of a radio observatory.

The ability to work constructively with astronomers and engineers to commission and verify the SKA Observatory is essential.  This implies:

  • A flexible team player, adaptable to change.
  • The ability to manage workloads and targets in a dynamic and collaborative environment and to work to deadlines.
  • Proficiency in written documentation, particularly test and problem reporting.
  • Effective communications with a range of people from different cultures, including those in a variety of disciplines (e.g. hardware and software engineering, project management, product assurance as well as astronomy).

There will be a requirement for international travel, particularly to the SKA-LOW and MID host countries (Australia and South Africa).

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Experience

The post-holder would ideally have:

  • A proven track record in commissioning of radio telescopes (hardware or software).
  • Test and debugging experience, including scripting.
  • A range of scientific interests and knowledge which complements that of current SKAO staff: a background in low-frequency interferometry or non-imaging (beam-forming) applications such as pulsar search and timing would be an advantage.
  • Ability to influence people in different parts of a highly diverse organisation, including senior management and external stakeholders (e.g. potential SKA users).
  • Experience of remote working with teams across multiple time zones.

The appointee will be encouraged to carry out research in astronomy or astronomical instrumentation at a level commensurate with the functional requirements of the post and in particular to exploit early opportunities with the SKA. Appropriate support, including conference travel, will be provided.