Recruiting for UKRI and UK SBS
210000XO Requisition #

Science and Technology Facilities Council

Salary: £39,748 to £44,166 per annum (dependent on skills and experience).
Hours: Full time.
Contract Type: Open Ended.
Location: Science and Technology Facilities Council, UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh.

Closing Date: 30th October 2021

We have an exciting opportunity to join the Project Science Group at STFC’s UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC). The UK ATC is the national centre of expertise for the design and production of state-of-the-art astronomical instrumentation and systems. It provides a friendly and flexible environment, on a beautiful site combining a historic observatory with modern state-of-the-art facilities. 

We are looking for an enthusiastic astronomer to join our team working on the OPTICON RadioNet Pilot (ORP) project, which brings together the European communities of advanced optical/infrared and radio astronomy. The primary responsibility of this role is management of the transnational access programme for the optical telescopes in the ORP project and, in the longer term, to extend this to include some of the radio facilities. The role requires excellent interpersonal skills as it will involve significant interactions with the astronomers proposing observations, referees during the peer-review process, and close liaison with the management teams of the observatories in the network. The role also includes helping to define the future roadmap for European collaboration in ground-based astronomy and contributing to development of common observing tools within the ORP project.

You will have your own active research programme in an area reflecting the science priorities of projects in development at the UKATC. These include major roles on projects for the European Southern Observatory’s Extremely Large Telescope (HARMONI, METIS, HIRES, MOSAIC), MOONS and CUBES for the Very Large Telescope, the SKA Observatory, ALMA and LISA. A statement of your research interests and future plans (max. three pages) should be included with your application. You will also have opportunities to contribute more broadly to the wider activities at the UKATC, other key projects (including development of observation definition tools for the ALMA and SKA observatories) and investigating applications of our technologies to other fields.

The UKATC is 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.


As part of UK Research and Innovation, STFC offers a benefits package that includes 30 days annual leave, 10.5 public and privilege days, Christmas shut down, an excellent defined-benefit pension scheme, and flexible working options that support a good work-life balance. Within this post there will be opportunities for professional development courses, both through STFC and support of other training that will help your career development. 

Further Information: 

We are looking for a reliable and flexible person who can integrate and work effectively within the ORP project team, and with our local scientists and engineers. Good written and verbal communication skills (in English) and the ability to communicate effectively with this wide range of project partners are therefore essential. Once business travel is safe to resume, you must be willing and able to travel to collaborating institutes within the ORP project and to meetings overseas. 

You will have hands-on experience with multi-wavelength astronomical observations/data. You should have an excellent track record of published research and experience of scientific data analysis and problem-solving. 

You will be literate with astronomical software and be able to write clear scientific/technical articles and reports. You will demonstrate excellent presentation, communications and interpersonal skills, and the ability to engage with the astronomical community effectively and to work independently.

Person Specification

The criteria below will be assessed at Shortlisting (S), Interview (I), or both (S&I).


  • PhD in Astronomy (or related field) and postdoctoral-level experience (S)
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively and build consensus within a team (S&I)
  • Excellent communication (written and spoken), organisational and presentational skills, engaging with a wide and diverse range of stakeholders (S&I)
  • Good working knowledge of observatory operations (S&I)
  • Strong track record of published research in astronomy and/or astronomical instrumentation (S)
  • Demonstrated excellence and peer recognition in your research field. (S&I)


  • Demonstrated enthusiasm for public engagement and outreach (S)
  • Experience of observations with major international facilities (S)
  • Proficiency with astronomical software (S)
  • Time and resource management skills, and demonstrated ability to direct the work of others (I)
  • Experience with optical/near-IR observations and instrumentation (S)
  • Experience with interferometric techniques in the far-IR and/or radio. (S)

How to apply:

In addition to your statement of research interests and future plans, please submit a CV, full publication list, and the names of two potential referees.

About The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) 

The STFC is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation where curiosity, blue-skies thinking meets practical, application-led science and engineering. Our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world. 

As one of Europe’s largest research organisations, we’re trusted to support, enable and undertake ground-breaking projects in an outstanding diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving progressive advances in science, engineering, computing and technology. Our research seeks to understand the Universe from the largest astronomical scales to the tiniest constituents of matter, yet creates impact on a very tangible, human scale. 

For more information about STFC please visit 

You can also visit our careers site 

About UK Research Innovation (UKRI) 

UKRI is an organisation that brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Together, we build an independent organisation with a strong voice and vision ensuring the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. 

Supporting some of the world’s most exciting and challenging research projects, we develop and operate some of the most remarkable scientific facilities in the world. We are pushing the frontiers of human knowledge through fundamental research and delivering benefits for UK society and the economy through world-class research, skills and business-led innovation. 

More information can be found at  

How we support EDI in the workforce 

At UKRI, we believe that everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be provided with equal opportunities to thrive and succeed in an environment that enables them to do so. We also value diversity of thought and experience within inclusive groups, organisations and the wider community. For further information, please visit ‘How we support EDI in the workforce’

Disability Confident Employer

As users of the disability confident scheme, we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy/ies. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation. 

How to apply 

Online applications only preferred for this role. Please submit a CV and covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation for UKRI and the role. Ensure that the job reference number is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Note that failure to address the above criteria or submit an application without a covering letter may result in the application not being considered. Assessment will only be based upon the content of your submitted covering letter and CV and not the ‘experience’ section of the application. 

UKRI seeks to ensure it creates and maintains a system of openness, fairness and inclusion – a collaborative, trusted environment, which is attractive to and accessible to everyone who is interested in developing their career with us. 

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