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Technical Lead

UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Wallingford, Oxfordshire
£46,507 - £49,353
Closing date
1 Aug 2024

Salary - £46,507 - £49,353
Hybrid working (50/50) 
We reserve the right to close this advert early if we find the right candidate, so we encourage you to apply early. 

UKCEH is looking for an experienced Technical Lead to join our 600-strong team, contributing to scientific discovery and generating the data, insights and solutions that researchers, businesses and governments need to solve complex environmental challenges. 

Working at UKCEH is rewarding. Our science makes a real difference, enabling people and the environment to prosper, and enriching society. We are the custodians of a wealth of environmental data, collected by UKCEH and its predecessors over the course of more than 60 years.  

As a valued member of our team, you’ll get: 

  • 27 days annual leave, rising to 29 days after five years, plus 3 days for our Christmas closure   
  • 10% employer pension contribution 
  • Enhanced maternity and paternity leave (subject to qualifying requirements) 
  • 24 hour, 365-day access to support with physical, mental, social, health or financial issues plus access to our trained Welfare Officers 
  • Flexible working opportunities 

And much more... 

Can you bring consistency, creativity, and innovative engineering solutions to support excellent environmental science with impact?

We have a fantastic opportunity for a Technical Lead based at our Wallingford site. We'll provide the design tools, instrument workshops, technicians, and the capital funding (c. £8m) for a large suite of innovative, new field sensing technologies.  All with your ongoing personal development in mind.

You will be joining a dynamic and multi-disciplinary team of scientists and engineers.  Your work will play a key part in supporting a flagship Floods and Droughts Research Infrastructure (FDRI) project.

You will be responsible for the implementation of integrated sensing systems, telemetry, data logging and operational design of the UK based FDRI network.  Translating scientific monitoring requirements into a reliable, low-maintenance automated sensor network.

You’ll work with the project manager to design and deploy systems at remote field sites. Addressing site specific installation requirements, (e.g., in river mountings, forest flux towers, reservoir evaporation buoys) and off-grid power requirements (primarily solar). Following prototype installations, you will progress to writing installation, maintenance and calibration protocols that will be controlled through the design office.

You’ll be joining a leading independent, not-for-profit research institute that’s committed to recruiting talented people like you, progressing your career and giving you the support you need to thrive at UKCEH. 

Your main responsibilities will include:  

  • Technical ownership of the infrastructure design of the network, leading on deployment techniques and strategy, fault detection and network resilience, including dealing hands-on with more complex technical issues referred upwards
  • Developing in-depth field sensor, data logger and data system technical knowledge and experience, enabling fault resolution, root cause fault analysis, and recommendations for preventative actions and or/system enhancements (both hardware and software, at the modular level)
  • Contributing to continuous improvement through responsive and planned maintenance for automated field instrument systems – this could be contracted or in-house, your assessment of the most practical / efficient methodologies here, is highly valued
  • Training and mentor technicians within the team
  • Working collaboratively with lead scientists, community advisory groups and other FDRI stakeholders to develop new, innovative, environmental monitoring sensor systems
  • Visiting nationwide field sites for new system installations and fault finding, when issues are escalated beyond mobile and fixed or sub catchment capabilities
  • Constructing, wiring, programming, testing and deploying new systems
  • Procurement - of parts and ready-made systems
  • Improving data capture and data quality performance, reducing operational costs and minimising data gaps
  • Keeping up with available/emerging innovative technology and best practice for sensor networks
  • Producing and updating sensor and system documentation, developing maintenance procedures and calibration protocols, with assistance from the Technical Coordinator
  • Actively managing the health and safety requirements (to UK standards) of the above activities, including the supervision of lone field working and risk assessments

This role is perfect for someone with previous team leadership experience or someone ready to take that next step. As a key player in our flagship project, you will lead the implementation of the network as the technical lead, taking on significant responsibility.

We are looking for someone with experience working in a siloed capacity, focusing on technical aspects rather than people-oriented tasks. Key attributes for this role include: serving as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and facilitating decision-making processes, confidence in your own experience and expertise, and a results-driven and hands-on approach.

This role demands an enthusiastic and keen problem solver who is highly motivated, proactive, and willing to dive into tasks with initiative. A natural curiosity is essential.

For the role of Technical Lead, we’re looking for somebody who has: 

  • A degree in a relevant subject, or has equivalent qualifications and experience
  • A broad understanding of field data logger hardware (or similar data acquisition hardware), environmental sensors, and maintenance requirements
  • The ability to work with technical drawings, schematics, and wiring diagrams for sensor stations and networks
  • Experience programming loggers, interfacing sensors, and using telemetry networks with various methods and protocols (e.g., IoT, 4G/5G, Satellite, WiFi, Bluetooth, LoRaWAN, MQTT)
  • Knowledge of project management methodologies and practices
  • The ability to deliver safe fieldwork activities in remote outdoor environments year-round, with experience in Safe Systems of Work and Lone Working Safety
  • Understands the importance of accurate data management and version control
  • Confidence to work occasionally at heightA full UK driving licence (essential – please confirm in CV/covering letter) and willingness for occasional overnight travel to UK field sites; some overseas travel possible

Additionally, experience of the following would be highly beneficial:

  • Experience of IP and serial bus networked sensors and basic computer/sensor networking configuration
  • Experience of quality management systems, such as ISO9001
  • Programming experience (e.g., R or Python)
  • Sensor network experience 

If we’ve just described you, we’d love to meet. Apply now. 

International Applications:

We welcome applications from international candidates as we can provide visa sponsorship for this role. 



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