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Instrument Development Scientist

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Didcot, England, Oxfordshire
£31931 - £44166 per annum
Closing date
11 Jun 2023

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Job Type
Academic & Educational

Job Details

Instrument Development Scientist
RAL Space: Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Harwell, Oxfordshire
Salary: Band D £31,931 - £34,709 to Band E £39,748 - £44,166 (dependent on skills & experience).
Contract Type: Fixed-Term (2 Years)
Hours: Full-Time (We understand the importance of work-life balance, and are happy to discuss the possibility of flexible working with applicants)

Come and do the kind of science that made you want to become a scientist. Explore the unknown and get to grips with the biggest challenges in Big Science. And, alongside world class engineers and technologists, use everything you've learnt to find real answers that shape society and improve lives.

Put simply, discover the kind of impact you can make when you work with some of the best facilities and brightest scientists in the world.

The Disruptive Space Technology Centre (DSTC) works across all technical areas relevant to the work of RAL Space and our collaborators. Recent projects have included optical communications, atmospheric analysis and imaging systems developments. Our work requires a cross-disciplinary, agile approach to solving complex problems and provides an opportunity to be involved in design and development work from concept through to prototype and on to supporting implementation within the space engineering divisions.

As an Instrument Development Scientist in the RAL Space Disruptive Technology group, with specific skills and interests in Earth Observing Instrumentation, you will be involved in the development of spacecraft payload instruments for commercial and academic end users in Earth Observation and similar domains. You will be required to interface between users (scientists and industrialists) and engineering teams in identifying and planning instrumentation solutions. You will also be required to develop proof of concept experiments to quickly demonstrate the feasibility and capability of new concepts and designs, then support larger engineering teams to realise higher Technology Readiness Level (TRL) solutions.

This role provides exceptional opportunities to experience a wide range of cutting-edge technology developments but requires a flexible and motivated individual who can support multiple projects with a wide range of partners inside a small, dedicated team.

Key responsibilities:

  • Developing requirements and conceptual solutions with partners and supporting engineers
  • Design, modelling and analysis of Earth Observing instruments
  • Support of manufacture, assembly and testing, for example, the development of an elegant breadboard and testing in a representative environment
  • Specification and procurement of components and sub-systems
  • Assembly, alignment and testing of laboratory systems and prototypes
  • Documentation of systems and processes.

Person Specification:

(Please note the below criteria will be assessed at Shortlisting (S), Interview stage (I) or both (S&I) as indicated)

  • Undergraduate degree in a numerate science or engineering discipline (S)
  • PhD or equivalent R&D experience in a numerate science or engineering discipline (S)
  • Evidence of instrument design/development work (including prototyping) (S&I)
  • Demonstrated ability to develop own proof of concept experiments from concept through implementation (S&I)
  • Evidence of EO (Earth Observation) instrument design/development work (S&I)
  • Understanding of processing of EO data and the fundamentals of EO application development (S&I)
  • An interest in the multi-disciplinary development of novel instrument concept development and willingness to deeply engage with other engineering disciplines (I)
  • Excellent verbal communications skills including the ability to explain technical concepts to a wide variety of people and audiences (I)
  • Aptitude for multiplexed working across several projects and topics (I)
  • Ability to understand and interpret physical and engineering concepts from first principles (S&I).

We ask some of the biggest questions in the universe, to answer some of the biggest challenges in the world. Together, 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 is possible.

STFC values their employees by offering a benefits package designed to provide an excellent work/life balance. This includes up to 30 days' annual leave, 10.5 public and privilege holidays, flexible working hours, a workplace nursery, exceptional average salary pension scheme, social and sporting activities and societies and a subsidised restaurant.

Applicants who are unable to apply online should contact us by telephone on 07710 115815.

The closing date for applications is 11th June 2023.


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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