Recruiting for UKRI and UK SBS
Early Careers
210000VC Requisition #


Science and Technology Facilities Council


The UKATC designs and builds ground and space-based instrumentation for large astronomical observatories around the world. UKATC projects are typically on 5 to 10- year lifecycles and international in nature, carried out by teams made up from a variety of consortium partners. The UKATC Software Engineering Group (SEG) develops a range of bespoke software in support of these activities, from low-level instrument control software through to high-level observatory operations software used by astronomers across the globe.

The UKATC is seeking a graduate software engineer to join the Software Engineering Group to help design and develop software for the next generation of astronomical instruments and telescopes. You will be working alongside other UKATC engineers designing instrument control software for two new instruments for the European Southern Observatory’s Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT):

  • HIRES: A sensitive, high-resolution spectrograph that will be used to search for signs of life in Earth-like exoplanets, find the first stars born in the Universe, test for possible variations of the fundamental constants of physics, and measure the acceleration of the Universe's expansion
  • MOSAIC: A versatile multi-object spectrograph that can measure the light from many different objects at the same time, enabling the growth of galaxies and the distribution of matter to be traced from the Big Bang to the present day

There may also be the opportunity to help with our ongoing projects, such as the MOONS instrument (a multi-object spectrograph for the ESO Very Large Telescope, and a precursor to MOSAIC); or the observation control software for the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA) and Square Kilometre Array (SKA) observatories.

Summary of Key Duties and Responsibilities 

  • Work collaboratively with SEG colleagues, UKATC engineers, and our partners to deliver the software and documentation required to make our projects a success.
  • Designing, developing, documenting, and testing software to the professional standards required by the UKATC and our partners.
  • Developing software to control laboratory test equipment to support UKATC instrument design studies.
  • Engage positively in meetings and design reviews to ensure designs and implementation meet requirements.


  • Obtained first degree bachelors or Integrated Masters, (not doctorate) in a relevant subject in either 2020, 2021 or be due to receive it in 2022 
  • Expected or have achieved a 2:1 or above 
  • The right to live and work in the UK 
  • Some knowledge of object-oriented software languages, such as Python, C++ or Java 
  • Ability to develop, test, and debug software
  • Good problem solving skills 
  • A willingness to work both independently and as part of a team
  • A willingness to travel within the UK and abroad for short periods 


  • Some experience developing software as part of a team 
  • Some knowledge of web-based application languages, such as JavaScript or JavaScript frameworks would be an advantage
  • Knowledge of astronomy would be an advantage 

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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