Recruiting for UKRI and UK SBS

Project Science Data Analyst Graduate - STFC

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Early Careers
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2000000W Requisition #

Science and Technology Facilities Council


Part of the STFC, the UKATC is the UK's national laboratory for the design and development of astronomical instrumentation. The UKATC has a rich heritage of instrumentation development for ground-based observatories as well as space facilities. It employs a broad spectrum of engineers and scientists across the full range of disciplines required for contemporary astronomy (optical design, mechanical engineering, electronics, software, systems engineering, project management). It also has an extensive track record of successfully applying techniques and technologies developed for astronomy to other sectors (e.g. earth observation/remote sensing, environmental monitoring). The UKATC develops instruments for world leading organisations, such as the European Southern Observatory (ESO) the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA.

The Project Science Group supports the instrumentation projects undertaken by the laboratory. Our typical project roles include leadership and coordination of international science teams, analysis of science requirements to technical specifications and tracking and analysing the scientific performance of each instrument during construction, testing, and commissioning.  UKATC scientists also have their own active research programmes, which ensures visibility and engagement within the international community, influence and leadership at the early stages of new projects, and providing intelligent support to the UK astronomical community for emerging concepts. These research programmes cover a broad range of astronomy from studying vast discs of gas and dust forming protostars and planetary systems, through the evolution cycle of massive stars and clusters in the Milky Way, to spectroscopy of some of the highest redshift galaxies in the early Universe.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

You will be embedded within the Project Science Group at the UKATC working as a data analyst on a broad range of data relating to astronomy and the development of astronomical hardware. Anticipated duties include:

  • Contribution to the definition and implementation of instrumentation testing campaigns. This includes analysis of critical test data, such as for MOONS – the Multi-Object Optical and near-IR Spectrograph for ESO’s Very Large Telescope – that will be tested in our Crawford Laboratory prior to delivery to ESO in Chile.
  • Contribution, via analysis and simulation, to projects such as HARMONI – the first-light spectrograph for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope.
  • Contribution to specifications and requirements analysis and involvement in new/future projects in line with the UKATC strategy.
  • Astronomical and/or instrumentation research that draws together the data analysis skills with the underlying science within the context of the Project Science Group research interests.
  • Research and data analysis dissemination: conference presentations and proceedings, journal articles, and contributions to project specific reports, reviews and software.
  • Assisting with outreach activities in collaboration with the Royal Observatory Edinburgh’s Visitor Centre – for example the annual ‘Open Doors’ event – and assisting with the work experience students.
  • As part of the graduate programme, it is expected that you will be enrolled with the Institute of Physics (or equivalent professional organisation) with the view of becoming a Chartered Physicist, which is a peer reviewed recognition of your competency as a physicist.
  • You will work in close interaction with the other groups within UKATC, such as the engineering disciplines and project management. More broadly you will be part of international teams and therefore some national and international travel is expected.
  • You will be responsible for managing your own time across a number of multiple projects.

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:   

  • An interest in astronomy and space science 
  • Knowledge of a numerical coding language (e.g. Python, R, MatLab, etc.) 
  • Numerical literacy and basic statistical analysis skills 
  • Ability to work collaboratively within a team both on-site, nationally and internationally 
  • Strong communication (written and spoken), organisational and presentational skills, enabling the succinct transfer of information to a wide and diverse audience. 
  • Good interpersonal skills, self-confidence and self-motivation. 

Desirable Criteria:

  • Participation in public outreach and dissemination events 
  • Knowledge of astronomical data gained through either university courses, work experience or amateur astronomy. 
  • Interest in state-of-the-art astronomical instrumentation and methods 
     


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 https://stfc.ukri.org/

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 www.ukri.org.

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