Recruiting for UKRI and UK SBS

Graduate Systems Engineer - STFC

Early Careers
2000000X Requisition #

Science and Technology Facilities Council

The UK Astronomy Technology Centre is the national centre for astronomical technology. We design, build and commission instruments for the world's major telescopes on behalf of the UK astronomy community.

We also project-manage UK and international collaborations to develop the latest astronomical facilities and telescopes.

Our scientists carry out observational and theoretical research into fundamental questions such as the origins of planets and of galaxies.

The UK ATC is based at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh which is one of the STFC national laboratories. The National Laboratories provide research facilities and capabilities that, because of their scale, complexity, strategic character or cost, are appropriately operated as a national research resource.

The primary mission of the laboratories is to facilitate national research capability, and complement and collaborate with the university research base.

We are recruiting a graduate system engineer to work in our System Engineering group.  The system engineering role involves working as part of a team to support our development of instruments for the ESO VLT and the ELT telescopes, Earth observation and space telescope projects under development.  In particular you will contribute to the design and construction of the HARMONI instrument, which is the UK’s largest contribution to the construction of the Extremely Large Telescope.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

  • Assist project systems engineer performing requirements engineering and management.
  • Develop together with the systems engineer the architecture of scientific systems.
  • Identify key system modelling requirements and model products.
  • Assist with the allocation of design performance and error budgets to the detailed designers.
  • Contribute to design activities.
  • Contribute to assembly, integration and verification activities.
  • Develop reliability models and ensure the maintenance and support provisions are sufficient.


  • Understand the key needs of the astronomers and through analysis and discussion with engineers of all disciplines check the feasibility of the idea and develop the technical requirements supporting the science.
  • Create manageable product breakdowns with well-defined interfaces that can be most easily managed. This requires sensitivity to the aims of the various consortium partners and to the practicality of building the system in an efficient manner.
  • Set up the main performance models such that the top-level performance can be predicted at all phases of the project.
  • Assist in identify the main technical risks and mitigation plans and ensure that these are understood by the whole team. Ensure that mitigation plans are carried out.
  • Design and perform validation tests of major hardware and software elements.
  • Carry out trade off studies through prototype testing and analysis.

We recruit on a rolling basis therefore we recommend you to apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Applications will be reviewed and considered on an ongoing basis until our roles are filled.

In order to apply for this role you must have:

  • Obtained your first degree bachelors or Masters, (not doctorate) in a relevant subject in either 2019, 2020 or be due to receive it in 2021
  • Expected or have achieved a 2:1 or above
  • The right to live and work in the UK

Essential Criteria:   

  • Excellent analytical and problem solving skills including the ability to create mathematical models 
  • Creative 
  • Team player 
  • Eye for detail while keeping the bigger picture in mind
  • Good written and verbal communication skills 
  • A mixed discipline engineering degree such as Systems Engineering mixed with Photonics, Optronics, or Mechatronics as a first degree 

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation where curiosity-driven, 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.

One of Europe’s largest research organisations, we’re trusted to support, enable and undertake cutting-edge projects in an amazing diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving ground-breaking 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

How to Apply

Online applications only for this role. Please submit your CV and a covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation for STFC and the role you’re applying for. 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 your application without a covering letter may result in your application not being considered.

About UKRI

UK Research and Innovation brings together nine organisations to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. More information can be found at

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