Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC254479
Location Didcot See on Map
Salary £38969 - £45300
Date Posted 27 July 2020
Grade UKRI-Band E
Contract Type Open Ended
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 16 August 2020
Interview Date

Brief Description

Salary: £38,969 - £45,300 (depending on skills and experience and inclusive of annual allowance)
Grade: UKRI - E
Contract Type: Open-Ended
Hours: Full Time/Part Time (minimum 30 hours)
Closing Date: 16th August 2020


About Us

The Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) RAL Space department carries out an exciting range of world-class space research and technology development. We have had significant involvement in over 210 space missions and operate at the very forefront of UK Space Research.

RAL Space was recently awarded £99m from the UK Government to develop the National Satellite Test Facility (NSTF), which is now in the early construction phase. This facility will provide a world class set of co-located facilities for the assembly, integration and testing of space payloads and satellites. The facility will have the capability to conduct electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), antenna, thermal, vibration, acoustic and pyroshock testing for payloads up to 7 tonnes within clean room conditions.

This significant new investment adds to the existing facilities operated by RAL Space department, part of STFC, within UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). We offer a benefits package designed to provide an excellent work/life balance. This includes 30 days’ annual leave, 10.5 public and privilege days, Christmas shut down, flexible working hours, a workplace nursery, an exceptional defined benefit pension scheme, and social and sporting activities and societies. You can find out more about what it's like to work at RAL Space by visiting the careers page.

About the Role

We now have two new opportunities for Principal Test Engineers to join our Electromagnetics (EMC & Antenna) Testing Group. Reporting to the Group Leader, you will be joining us for the early stages of the NSTF development, working in a new area of testing capability for us, which gives the exciting opportunity to take a leading role as technical expert during testing campaigns with test engineers working under your technical direction.

The addition of our Electromagnetic testing capabilities is new with the build of the NSTF. The facilities currently being constructed will comprise a combined EMC chamber and a 12 m x 12 m vertical near-field planar scanner.  The EMC chamber will be used to perform radiated E-field and conducted EMC tests on satellites up to 7 tonne and on hardware subsystems in accordance with MIL-STD-461 and ECSS-E-ST-20-07C. The planar scanner located within the anechoic chamber will be used for satellite antenna measurements and satellite end-to-end testing in the frequency range from 500 MHz to 75 GHz. As a Principal Test Engineer you will engage in the larger more complex activities in a single campaign, or act as a lead technical point in a wide and broader range of lower complexity testing with others working under their technical direction.

For the larger more complex campaigns you will engage at bid stage, working closely with the test programme manager to ensure the test facilities are capable of delivering the test, defining adaptions which may need to be required, following the delivery stages of any campaign preparations, planning the test activities, writing procedures where appropriate and acting as the key technical point for the related test facility throughout. Once the test campaign is ready to start, you will adopt the role of test responsible engineer for the duration of the test, ensuring that the test is conducted as per the procedure, engaging with the customer team, representing the facility in any non-conformance activities and producing the test report at the end of the test. You will be supported and governed in these activities by your Group Leader. You will then hand over to the test programme manager to manage the next stage of the campaign, either the transition to the next test facility or shipment from the facility. 

In delivering the preparations and test campaign, you will be supported by test engineers and junior test engineers who would work under your direction.

We are expecting to operate the majority of the facilities to ECSS-Q-ST-20-07C. You will need to ensure that the test facilities are operated and maintained within the overall quality requirements of the Environmental Test Facilities, working closely with the RAL Space Quality function to ensure compliance and maintain this compliance through the lifetime of the facilities. This will mean both creating specific procedures as well as following existing procedures and leading others to follow existing and new procedures.

There will be opportunity to assist in the definition of proposed new facilities or upgrades to the existing facilities. Opportunity will be given to engage wider with the test community to keep up to date with developments.

Where developments of the facilities are required, it would be expected that the requirements would be owned and set by the electromagnetics group, RAL Space has project and engineering functions which would be engaged to deliver within a structured project environment. The operational team would be expected to be highly engaged through any delivery phase, taking responsibility for the final commissioning and bringing into full operation.

Reporting in to the Group Leader, your responsibilities will include:

  • Responsible for the technical performance and operation of equipment
  • Support the creation and maintain the technical performance envelope of the equipment
  • Create and implement maintenance plans
  • Create and maintain calibration plans
  • Engage with the wider test community identifying potential developments and feeding into the overall group plan
  • Responsible for the safe operation of the equipment
  • Ensuring Health and Safety standards, STFC codes and policies are applied
  • Creation and maintenance of risk assessments for facilities as well as specific test campaigns
  • Responsible for the creation and maintenance of the operational procedures relevant to the equipment
  • Act as technical liaison at bid review for the test facilities
  • Possible Line management responsibilities for test engineers and junior test engineers
  • Support the recruitment of and competence assessment of staff to perform the roles
  • Support the creation and maintain training plans for staff within the group
  • Support the creation and maintain resource plans
  • Support the creation and maintain shift plans (where required).

Key contacts and communications will be with:

  • Other Principal Test Engineers within ETD (TVAC, Dynamics, Infrastructure
  • Test Programme Managers
  • Quality Assurance Function
  • Business Development staff (at early contract discussion stages)
  • Customers at bid and when under contract stages (as technical function)
  • Safety Function within RAL Space.

Personal Skills and Attributes:

  • Ability to create structured documentation and lead others to follow procedures
  • Excellent communication skills both written and verbal
  • Ability to listen to requirements, engage and influence on a technical basis
  • Understanding of the project delivery function
  • Keeping a strong customer focus within the bounds of the contracted service
  • Responsible approach to health and safety management
  • Dedication, self-motivation, positive attitude, fulfilling commitments
  • Able to multi-task and prioritise against a heavy work load and achieve demanding targets
  • Able to motivate and empower others.

Other Information

As part of the role, and to represent the facilities and RAL Space, opportunities exist for a limited amount of international travel.

Due to the requirements of some test campaigns, security clearance may be required.

During the test campaigns there will be the requirement for shift working, the current practice is a 12 hour shift pattern, for which additional payment would be made. There will also be the requirement to be on an on-call rota to support testing and there would be additional payment to recompense for this function.


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.

Shortlisting and Interview Criteria

Criteria will be assessed at Shortlisting (S) Interview (I) or both (S&I).


  • Demonstration of technical competence in a related field (S&I)
  • Demonstration of management of small sized technical teams (S&I)
  • Experience of operating either EMC or antenna measurement test facilities (S&I)
  • Experience working with cleanrooms (S&I)
  • Broad technical understanding of test techniques including the typical technologies used in operation (S&I)
  • Experience working with a quality management system (e.g. ISO 9001 or EN9100). (S&I) 


  • Significant experience of test facility operation (S&I)
  • Experience of working under defined quality assurance practices. Direct experience of ECSS-Q-ST-20-07C would be a significant advantage (S&I)
  • Testing operational experience in a related field (S&I)
  • Significant experience of managing a test function of a similar scale and complexity (S&I)
  • Deep technical understanding of the technologies used in EMC and/or antenna testing (S&I)
  • Direct experience of MIL-STD-461 and/or ECSS-E-ST-20-07C would be a significant advantage. (S&I)

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 aims to provide a pay and reward package that motivates staff to the best of their ability. The reward and benefit package includes a flexible working scheme, an excellent Defined Benefit 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.

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:

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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