Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC255396
Location Edinburgh See on Map
Salary £31305 - £47300
Date Posted 14 October 2020
Grade UKRI-Band E
Contract Type Open Ended
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 22 November 2020
Interview Date

Brief Description

Salary: £31,305 - £43,300 per annum (dependent on experience and inclusive of an annual role-based allowance)
Grade: UKRI Band E
Contract Type: Open Ended
Hours: Full Time
Closing Date: 22nd November 2020

This role involves designing and implementing software for the ALMA Observing Tool, the application used by astronomers to create proposals and design observations for the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA), which is the world’s foremost radio interferometer at millimetre to sub-millimetre wavelengths. You will be working at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UKATC), a premier organisation dedicated to the development of world-leading scientific instruments for astronomy. The UKATC is situated in the dynamic and attractive city of Edinburgh.

As a member of the UKATC software group, you will have opportunities to be involved in future instrument projects. The UKATC is part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), which has good terms and conditions of employment, including an excellent pension scheme and flexible working options that support a good work-life balance.

You will be part of multi-disciplinary teams developing instruments for telescopes on demanding mountain-top locations around the world, and in Space. You will work in a friendly and flexible environment, in a beautiful site combining a historic observatory with modern state-of-the-art facilities. You will have a good background in the physical sciences or computer science, experience working in a professional software development environment, and an excellent knowledge of modern software development processes. While experience in astronomy is not essential, we expect you to be a quick learner and in exchange we offer excellent training opportunities.

You are a self-motivated individual capable of working in a multi-disciplinary team with a proven record of accomplishment, delivering high-quality software to a technical specification.

Project responsibilities will include:

  • Designing and implementing software for the new ALMA Observing Tool, including a browser-based user interface and a server back-end.
  • Developing test suites for the implemented software.
  • Documentation of the designs and software.
  • Production of progress reports.
  • Contributions to other projects as required.
  • You are reliable and flexible with good interpersonal skills, and have the ability to integrate and work effectively within the existing close-knit team.
  • Good written and verbal communication skills (in English) and the ability to communicate effectively with colleagues, project partners and customers are essential.
  • You must be willing and able to travel to sites both in the UK and overseas.


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 Criteria


  • A good honours degree (or equivalent) in the physical or computer sciences.
  • Experience working in a professional software development environment, with an excellent knowledge of modern software development processes.
  • Experience of using JavaScript.
  • Experience of using Python, Java or similar OO languages.
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Proven ability to work both independently and collaboratively in a team setting.
  • Excellent problem solving skills.
  • Willing to travel within the UK and abroad for short periods.


  • A higher degree in astrophysics or computer sciences would be an advantage. 
  • Professional Engineering qualifications (e.g. British Computer Society Chartered Engineer) would be an advantage.
  • Experience developing front end user interfaces using Javascript and modern web development frameworks (e.g., React, Typescript, Angular).
  • Experience working with large code bases. 
  • Experience developing software to a technical specification.
  • Experience developing and consuming REST APIs.
  • Knowledge of working observatories and typical observation proposal handling workflows.
  • Knowledge of the development and testing of astronomical instruments.
  • Understanding of radio telescopes and astronomy.
  • Capable of working at altitude.

Interview Criteria


  • Same as Shortlisting Criteria


  • Same as shortlisting criteria, plus
  • Excellent presentation skills.

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.

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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