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8 months ago
Science and Technology Facilities Council
Salary: £30357 - £38997
Location: Didcot
Job type: Permanent
Category: Research & Development Jobs
Brief Description

Salary: £30,357 to £38,997 per annum including allowances
Grade: RC-D
Contract Type: Fixed Term
Hours: Full Time
Closing Date: 15 July 2018
Interview Date: 25 July 2018

About Us:

RAL Space, the space science and technology department of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, has a Research Scientist post available to strengthen the Spectroscopy Group within the Earth Observation and Atmospheric Science Division.

RAL is a major UK national laboratory, operated by the Science & Technology Facilities Council. RAL Space is one of the largest interdisciplinary space departments in Europe, having a 50-year heritage of excellence in space flight and a proven track record in contributing to more than 200 instruments in space. The Spectroscopy Group of RAL Space carries out research and development of novel laser spectroscopy instrumentation for highly demanding chemical sensing applications. The primary remit underpinning the group’s work relates to instrumentation development, instrument analysis and modelling for future space and atmospheric applications. Additionally, the group is increasingly working towards applying its technologies to a broader range of sectors such as environmental monitoring, security and defence, industrial process control, and non-invasive medical diagnostics.

About the role:

The position offers an excellent opportunity to join a highly agile and motivated team of scientists working on a large portfolio of research projects, and significantly contribute to its expansion through the delivery of state of the art projects for the UK Research Councils, UK Space Agency, European Space Agency, and other institutions and customers.

The research and development projects undertaken by the group encompass all aspects of laser spectroscopy sensing and field deployment of spectroscopic instruments, from fundamental concepts to technologies, data exploitation and applications. This includes conceptual and theoretical studies of chemical sensing systems, instrument bench-top and prototype development, design and development of related photonic and opto-electronic technologies, laboratory and field instrumentation, data processing and physical modelling. Techniques developed within the group include laser heterodyne spectroscopy, hyperspectral lidar, laser absorption and dispersion spectroscopy, photo-acoustic spectroscopy, cavity enhanced spectroscopy, and photonics based sensing systems. Current projects in which the successful candidate may be involved relate to modelling and analysis for novel atmospheric sensing approaches and include:

· The development of physical models for analysis of instrumental data involving for instance spectroscopic radiative transfer codes or dispersion modelling

· The development of retrieval algorithms to extract information from spectral measurements and observation systems built in the group

· The design and implementation of observation system simulations for future mission studies and new instrument developments and deployments

· The development of data analysis and deployment of laser sensing spectrometers for atmospheric observation

You will be responsible for delivering project outputs to strict deadlines and carrying out associated management tasks in an effective manner. Coding tasks may include managing and advancing the group’s retrieval, modelling, simulation and data analysis resources, including error and bias analysis. Experimental tasks may include instrument deployment and systematic experimental measurement campaigns, developing code for physical modelling or instrument control, and arranging experiments for the analysis and in-depth characterization of the physical behaviour of sensing instruments.

You will also be expected to maintain a tidy and well-organized working environment for safe operation and efficient resource sharing, and to write or contribute to reports and, when applicable, peer-reviewed scientific papers and submissions to international conferences.

New staff positions will be directly managed by a senior member of the group. You will have contact with all members of the Spectroscopy Group and will be required to liaise with other staff in RAL Space and, potentially, other departments in STFC. You will also have to communicate with our external collaborators, as required by projects, and will represent the team and RAL Space at external meetings and conferences.

About you:

You will have a PhD or MSc in applied physics or relevant scientific or engineering discipline, together with proven experience in spectral instrument modelling and analysis, ideally in the field of high resolution infrared spectroscopy. Experience in laser spectrometer instrumentation would also be desirable. You must be highly motivated and able to carry out challenging research and development work carefully and effectively in a team environment and to demanding deadlines, to deliver the continually evolving project portfolio of the group.

Skills sought are those relevant to the exploitation of infrared spectroscopic sensors and include:

· Atmospheric radiative transfer and high-resolution spectral modelling

· Inverse modelling and information retrieval (e.g. optimal estimation) methods for atmospheric composition sounding

· Atmospheric transport and dispersion modelling

· End-to-end spectroscopic instrument modelling and error budget analysis

In addition the following skills are highly desirable:

· Experience in laser spectrometer instrumentation, particularly at mid-infrared wavelengths

· Proficiency in high-level programming languages (IDL or similar)

· Familiarity with scientific data exploitation and data assimilation

· Experience in field deployment of complex scientific instrumentation

· History of reporting results in peer-reviewed journals

Occasional travel in the UK and overseas to attend meetings will be required. National or international travel for durations of several weeks may be occasionally necessary for instrument deployment during field campaigns.

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.
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


MSc or PhD in an Applied Physics or relevant scientific and engineering discipline

· Experience in the modelling of spectroscopic radiative transfer models

· Experience in inverse modelling and information retrievals

· Experience in spectroscopic instrument development and deployment

· Experience in spectroscopic instrument error analysis

· Knowledge and familiarity with transport and dispersion models


· Knowledge and experience with programming languages such as IDL

· Experience with instrument control programming, notably LabView

· Knowledge of molecular spectroscopy preferably in the mid-infrared region

· Experience in laser spectroscopy instrumentation

· History of reporting results in peer reviewed journals

Interview Criteria


· Enthusiasm for technological developments in the field of laser spectroscopy applications

· Rational and analytical thinking

· Excellent attention to detail

· Good oral and written communication skills

· Ability to work effectively in a team and use shared resources in an organised manner

· Willingness to gain new knowledge and develop new skills

· Ability to work with demanding deadlines


· Ability to learn quickly and adapt to new technologies

· Flexible attitude to enable working across a number of projects at the same time

· Be able to anticipate the needs of a project, going beyond the minimum requirements

Special Requirements


· Must be able to travel to national and international field sites with possible stays up to several weeks

· Must be able to use computers extensively on a day-to-day basis.

· Must be physically able to work safely in a laboratory environment and at a field site.

In addition to the competitive salary, an excellent index linked pension scheme and generous leave allowance are offered. Full details of offered benefits can be found on STFC’s careers pages.

To enable us to hire the very best people we will conduct a full and comprehensive background and pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process.

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.

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Online applications only, please submit a covering letter and CV, ensuring that the IRC reference is included in the file name description of each document uploaded. No Agencies.

The closing date for applications is 15th July 2018. The interview date for this vacancy is 25th July 2018 and will be held at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Didcot, U.K.

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