Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC248112
Location Didcot See on Map
Salary £37789 - £41988
Date Posted 25 January 2019
Grade RC-E
Contract Type Open Ended
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 04 March 2019
Interview Date

Brief Description

Salary: £37,789 - £41,988
Grade: Band E
Contract Type: Open-Ended
Hours: Full Time/Part Time (Minimum 26 hours per week)
Closing Date: 4th March 2019

RAL Space, UKRI’s space laboratory based at the STFC Harwell Campus, has a number of vacancies for Senior Optical Systems Engineers.

RAL Space carries out an exciting range of world-class space research and technology development. We have had significant involvement in over 200 space missions and are at the forefront of UK space research. The Optical Systems Group is responsible for the conception, design, development and test of optical systems for space instrumentation in Earth Observation, Planetary and Solar space science missions and optical communications. The work involves everything from early stage concept development through to design, AIT and potentially mission support. In addition, RAL Space has involvement in some ground based work including the UK’s Astronomy programme. New RAL Space projects with significant optical engineering requirements include ARIEL (an Exoplanet mission for ESA), Lagrange (a space weather concept monitoring solar activity) and QKD Qubesat (a UK-Singapore Quantum Communications demonstration mission). The emphasis of our work is on the design and engineering of new, one-off, state-of-the-art instrumentation.

The Optical Systems Engineer’s responsibilities cover the full life cycle of optical instrument development, from early conceptual design work through to analysis and reporting on working instruments;

  • working with science teams to develop requirements
  • developing instrument performance models involving knowledge of radiometric errors, imaging and spectral resolution, calibration, and manufacturing and alignment tolerances
  • design, optimisation, tolerancing and analysis of optical systems
  • stray-light modelling and the design of baffling systems
  • specification and procurement of optical components and supporting opto-mechanical systems
  • assembly, alignment and testing of optical systems
  • design and construction of optical test and calibration equipment
  • documentation of design, build procedures and test results.

RAL Space is a highly multi-disciplinary environment, so Engineers are expected to liaise with other Specialists to ensure that performance is maintained during the development of the electronics, mechanical & thermal aspects of instruments. You will need to be capable of presenting and justifying designs to Scientists and Engineers, both in team meetings and public conferences.

Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners 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

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation, and our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world.


  • degree in optics, physics or a related discipline
  • experienced in optical design, optimisation, analysis, tolerancing and procurement
  • experience with developing and building optical instrumentation
  • experienced in optical alignment and measurement techniques
  • experienced in the use of industry standard optical design tools (e.g. CodeV, Zemax, ASAP)
  • must be able to travel and work outside of the UK for short periods.


  • further optics training (e.g. SPIE and other short courses)
  • an understanding of the design challenges of instruments operating under severe environmental conditions
  • experience with projects involving the UK and international space or astronomical communities
  • system engineering knowledge or experience
  • experienced in project management.

As this job does not fulfil the Home Office Code of Practice criterion for obtaining sponsored migrant worker status we will be unable to apply for sponsorship for anyone not eligible to work in the UK.   At interview, all shortlisted candidates are required to bring with them identification documents and original documents that prove they hold or can obtain the right to work in the UK. You can check your eligibility here:

UKRI supports research in areas that include animal health, agriculture and food security, and bioscience for health which includes research on animals, genetic modification and stem cell research. Whilst you may not have direct involvement in this type of research, you should consider whether this conflicts with your personal values or beliefs.

To enable us to hire the very best people we will conduct a full and comprehensive pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process on all individuals that are offered a position with UKRI. This will include a security check and an extreme organisations affiliation check.

Employee Benefits
UK Research and Innovation recognises and values employees as individuals and aim to provide a pay and rewards package that motivates staff to perform to the best of their ability. The reward package includes a flexible working scheme, a Career Average Revalued Earnings pension scheme, 30 days annual leave allowance and a number of other benefits.

Developing Talent
We are committed to developing employees in their roles throughout their career. Learning and development plans enable employees to continue their professional development through training and development opportunities such as e-learning, classroom training and on-the-job experiences. We encourage our employees to share their learning across teams and organisations.

Equal Opportunities
We strive to make decisions based on individual merit and ability. We welcome applications from all sections of the community and promote equality of opportunity in accordance with the Equality Act 2010. As holders of Disability Confident Employer status, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.

Online applications only. Please submit a covering letter and CV ensuring that the IRC reference is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Please note that failure to address the above criteria or submitted without a covering letter may result in your application not being considered.
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