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Optical Engineer

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Scotland, Edinburgh
£39748 - £44166 per annum + Allowance of up to £3,000
Closing date
27 Feb 2022

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We are looking for an enthusiastic optical engineer to join our team. Within this role you will join the Applied Optics group at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) working alongside an established and expert group of optical engineers covering a range of optical fields. The group provides optical expertise in support of all UK ATC activities from conceptual designs through to commissioning of instrumentation at observatory sites.

About this opportunity:

You will have the opportunity to play a leading role in developing the next generation of instrumentation for ground and space based astronomy! As a member of an international, multidisciplinary team you will have a substantial role in designing and building one of the large scale instrumentation projects currently under development for the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT).

You will apply your skills and creativity as an expert optical design engineer to all phases of our projects from initial design studies through to construction and performance testing. You will work on systems ranging in scale from satellites the size of a shoebox through to spectrometers weighing many tonnes for use on the world's largest telescopes.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Optical design and analysis using Zemax OpticStudio and other software tools.
  • Optical systems engineering tasks (working with Project Scientists to define requirements, managing technical budgets, defining opto-mechanical interfaces etc.).
  • Working with engineers from other disciplines to produce detailed system designs.
  • Specification and procurement of optical components and assemblies.
  • Planning and carrying out optical tests and alignment procedures.

We are looking for someone with:

  • Experience in designing and analysing performance of optical systems using commercial ray tracing software.
  • An aptitude for practical work with hands-on experience of working with optical components and assemblies and an understanding of a range of optical alignment and metrology techniques.
  • Numerical literacy and experience of comparing modelled and experimental results.
  • Excellent communications and interpersonal skills.

Employee Benefits:

We are offering a permanent position that provides a whole host of benefits including; 30 days holiday (in addition to bank holidays), an excellent pension scheme, employee shopping/travel discounts, a salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme, plus many more benefits and wellbeing initiatives that enable our employees to have a great work life balance!

We 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 encourage applications from under-represented groups.

How to apply:

In your application, please provide your CV and a cover letter which showcases your skills and experience in relation to the criteria we have set for this role. Closing Date is 27th February 2022.


The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest research organisations. We’re trusted to support, enable and undertake pioneering projects in an amazing diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving ground-breaking advances in science and engineering. STFC is one of nine organisations that have been brought together to create UK Research and Innovation (UKRI); a new organisation with a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation.

At STFC, our engineers provide the technology that allows our world-leading science to make a real difference in areas that really matter: from cancer treatment to airport security, high-tech jobs to hydrogen powered cars, energy generation to accident scene emergency care, our impact is felt in many aspects of daily life. We provide and exploit space and astronomy technology, a world-leading neutron scattering facility, ultra-fast supercomputers, amazing scientific instruments and some of the most powerful lasers in the world. We work with industry and academia throughout the UK, Europe and the world.

STFC can offer you an excellent working environment. Our laboratories are based in beautiful rural locations in Cheshire, Oxfordshire and in Edinburgh, with great amenities and quality of life for you and your family. We are at the centre of burgeoning high-tech campuses buzzing with economic investment and even more promise for the future. Our people enjoy attractive benefits and plenty of opportunity for development. Whether you are beginning or furthering your career, we can offer you excellent opportunities to test out and broaden your skills and experience and to gain real technical and managerial expertise working in dynamic team and project environments.

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