Software Developer/Engineer job with DURHAM UNIVERSITY

Department of Physics Grade 7/8: – £33,797 – £51,034 Fixed Term – Full Time Contract

Department of Physics

Grade 7/8: – £33,797 – £51,034

Fixed Term – Full Time

Contract Duration: 24 month

Contracted Hours per Week: 35

Closing Date: 01-Sep-2021, 6:59:00 AM

The Role

Applications are invited for a Software Engineer in real-time control for Adaptive Optics (AO) systems for the ELT. The successful candidate will join the existing real-time control team working on these systems, led by Dr. Tim Morris.

Within this team, the candidate will be involved in all aspects of the development of the real-time control system.

This will include:

  • Working on low latency ‘hard’ real time control system for both HARMONI and MOSAIC, implementing and optimising the various adaptive optics control schemes required by the instruments on the selected hardware architecture.
  • Development of the data, telemetry, command and control interfaces to match standards required by the observatory.
  • Working with a wide variety of hardware devices including high-speed cameras and deformable mirrors, and the candidate will be expected to develop and test software interfaces to these hardware devices.

The applicant will also be expected to contribute to CfAI’s ongoing research program developing new software for techniques and technologies that will enable the next generation of adaptive optics real-time control systems. These will be for use not only within astronomy but also other fields such as laser communications or microscopy where adaptive optics can be used. The applicant will be have the opportunity to contribute to high quality publications in refereed journals as a result of participating in  new research areas within the field of real-time AO control.

When working on large instrumentation projects such as HARMONI and MOSAIC the applicant will be expected to contribute to any project deliverables (such as preparing design documentation or user manuals) and adhere to project software development standards.

This post is fixed term for 2 years to coincide with the duration of our existing funding. There is the possibility for extension beyond this period if additional funding can be secured.

Grade 7 core responsibilities:

  • Act as a recognised professional practitioner and service specialist.
  • Implement changes to the design and development of service processes, techniques and deliverables for one or more service strands or project streams.
  • Provide specialist expertise and support with complexity of data and information sources, interpretation and analysis.
  • Contribute to development of operational service activities to ensure excellence in the stakeholder experience.
  • Collect and analyse stakeholder feedback to help define needs and requirements and the design and planning of services.
  • Internal and external relationship development and partnership working, networking and participation to engage and influence future services and the University reputation.
  • Identify and design activities to meet learning objectives and outcomes.
  • Deliver training, and/or development delivery for stakeholders.
  • Maintain an awareness of current policy for University business goals such as widening participation and access, and provision of advice using specialist knowledge.
  • Contribute to and lead business meetings, working groups and sub-committees at departmental and operational service levels.
  • Responsible for managing small budgets for consumables and some capital items, keeping records and processing invoices.

Grade 7 role responsibilities:

  • Provide day-to-day management for the delivery of a high-quality technical and/or experimental facility/platform and service to ensure research and knowledge exchange outputs.
  • Collaborate with internal and external academics, industry and technical specialists to support the delivery of research projects, contributing to the generation of external income.
  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through a variety of means including presentations, technical documentation and dedicated technical meetings.
  • Take responsibility for the design, set-up, maintenance and integrity of research facilities, technology and resources within a specialist area, including maintenance and development of project-specific adaptive optics real-time control system software.
  • Provide specialist technical problem-solving advice to inform activity and project planning, continuous improvement and service development, to collaborators and the Adaptive optics community via presentations and meeting discussions.
  • Provide guidance and advice on University health and safety and compliance issues in specialist area.
  • Apply maintenance schedules to ensure the smooth, safe and efficient use of technology, facilities and services to research and project activities.
  • Develop, modify and optimise protocols and methodologies.
  • Contribute to the planning, design and delivery of project outputs and prepare documentation and user manuals.
  • Contribute to promotional events and presentations where applicable.
  • Liaise with internal and external agencies, local authorities, industries and visitors where appropriate.
  • Design, build and maintain complex, specialist project apparatus, equipment, instruments, systems and appliances.
  • Take responsibility for monitoring and updating risk assessments and safety procedures, providing guidance to others where necessary.
  • Record, monitor and collate information, analyse patterns and trends as part of research activities.
  • Contribute to the implementation and use of group and project software development standards.
  • Develop project software for release to users of the AO control system following software lifecycle and quality assurance practices, including testing and verification, as defined by the instrument consortium.
  • Contribute to or provide advice for software development of other research projects within the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation when required.
  • Assist with the HARMONI and MOSAIC system and instrument commissioning activities.
  • Any other reasonable duties.

Grade 8 core responsibilities:

  • Provide expert professional subject expertise and problem-solving skills.
  • Act as recognised practitioner within own specialist area or discipline, shaping activities, processes and systems.
  • Responsible for operational activity across different areas.
  • Oversight of short term or temporary project teams/strands, taking responsibility for decision making as appropriate.
  • Engage with key stakeholders and internal and external contractors to influence opinion, delivery and reputation of services.
  • Act as specialist point of contact dealing with complexity of data and information sources, interpretation and analysis.
  • Significant input into the scoping and resource planning across a range of activities at operational and possibly strategic level.
  • Carry out project scoping, initiation, planning and implementation for large scale/University wide initiatives.
  • Responsible for shaping the development and learning of others outside of team, through the design and delivery of training sessions.
  • Lead on the design, implementation and monitoring of policy and quality standards, procedures and systems ensuring effective working and continuous improvement.
  • Promote and develop a deep understanding of organisational policy and external developments.
  • Promote the improvement and efficiency of departmental services by implementing and managing review and improvement procedures.
  • Ensure all activities, processes and transactions are accounted for accurately and promptly to meet regulatory and professional service and policy standards.
  • Implement processes to manage the integrity and security of all commercially and professionally sensitive and personal data.
  • Lead internal business meetings, working groups and sub-committees at operational service level to influence governance, organisational policy and standards for the service.
  • Responsible for allocating and monitoring financial budgets and resources.

Grade 8 role responsibilities:

  • Work within a teaching, learning or research area of activity of national significance.
  • Contribute expert advice and guidance, collaborating with peers and academics to deliver teaching, learning and/or research outputs.
  • Provide specialist technical problem-solving advice to inform activity and project planning, continuous improvement and service development, to collaborators and the Adaptive optics community via presentations and meeting discussions. 
  • Assess and design modifications and implement developments to deliver desired outputs.
  • Understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through a variety of means including presentations, technical documentation and dedicated technical meetings.
  • Lead, design and deliver practical workshops, teaching and training sessions.
  • Ensure continuous improvement and knowledge base development for world class delivery. 
  • Liaise with academic staff to build and maintain high-quality specialist support to underpin excellence in teaching, research and learning.
  • Implement and audit health and safety risk assessments and procedures to ensure compliance with University and statutory regulations.
  • Deliver professional expertise with the design, construction and development of investigative methodologies to achieve teaching, research or learning objectives.
  • Take responsibility for the design, set-up, maintenance and integrity of research facilities, technology and resources, including maintenance and development of project-specific adaptive optics real-time control system software. 
  • Identify, source and manufacture resources, materials, chemicals, tools, instruments, equipment and software critical to teaching and research delivery and suggest and obtain alternatives where necessary.
  • Contribute creativity and innovation to the teaching, learning and research delivery process and outcomes.
  • Take responsibility for supervising experimental procedures and processes out of normal programmed sessions, monitoring variables, capturing and analysing data and interpreting patterns.
  • Manage and monitor individual and overall health and safety assessments and procedures, ensuring compliance.
  • Represent the faculty/school at promotional events and contribute to the delivery of presentations.
  • Lead on activities and participate with others to generate external income, including involvement in research proposals.
  • Deliver the planning, design and implementation of research outputs and prepare  documentation and user manuals.
  • Contribute to the implementation and use of group and project software development standards.
  • Develop project software for release to users of the AO control system following software lifecycle and quality assurance practices, including testing and verification, as defined by the instrument consortium.
  • Contribute to or provide advice for software development of other research projects within the Centre for Advanced Instrumentation when required.
  • Assist with the HARMONI and MOSAIC system and instrument commissioning activities.
  • Any other reasonable duties.

Specific role requirements

Assisting with the HARMONI and MOSAIC system and instrument commissioning activities may include travel to instrument consortium partners across Europe, and to the telescope in Chile. This may include working away from home for periods of up to a month and working at an altitude of 2400m.

How to apply

For informal enquiries please contact Dr. Tim Morris at [email protected] All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence. 

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/. As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement https://www.dur.ac.uk/ig/dp/privacy/pnjobapplicants/ which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.

What you are required to submit

  1. A CV;
  2. A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above;

NOTE Any criteria marked with an asterisk* are key requirements for the role, and therefore may receive additional weighting when applications are scored during shortlisting.  Please ensure you give detailed examples of how you meet these criteria.

Please ensure that you submit all documentation listed above or your application cannot proceed to the next stage.

In order to be considered for interview, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification below.

In some cases, the recruiting panel may also consider the desirable criteria, so we recommend you evidence all criteria in your application. 

Please note that some criteria will only be considered at interview stage.

Person specification – skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required

Grade 7 Essential

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills including technical authoring and demonstrable ability to document material of a quality commensurate with software development
  • Proven IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office.
  • Educated to degree level in Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Science or Physics (or equivalent experience).
  • Excellent interpersonal skills including experience of being able work cooperatively as part of a team and to network effectively, developing strong and productive working relationships.
  • Knowledge of standards in the full software development cycle, or demonstrable ability to learn and adapt with established project methodologies.
  • Knowledge of C, C++ and Python programming languages, to expert level in one or more of these*.
  • Knowledge of modern microprocessor architectures.
  • Experience in one or more of the following*

    • operating system internals and device drivers
    • real-time computer systems
    • distributed systems middleware
    • Multi- and / or Many-core scientific computing

Grade 8 Essential

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills including technical authoring and demonstrable ability to document material of a quality commensurate with software development.
  • Proven IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office.
  • Educated to degree level in Engineering, Mathematics, Computer Science or Physics (or equivalent experience).
  • Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills including experience of being able work cooperatively as part of a team and to network effectively, developing strong and productive working relationships.
  • Knowledge of standards in the full software development cycle, or demonstrable ability to learn and adapt with established project methodologies.
  • Knowledge of C, C++ and Python programming languages, to expert level in one or more of these.
  • Knowledge of modern microprocessor architectures.
  • Ability to solve problems and resolve issues, plan solutions and make pragmatic decisions.
  • Experience in one or more of the following*:

    • operating system internals and device drivers
    • real-time computer systems
    • distributed systems middleware
    • Multi- and / or Many-core scientific computing

Grade 7 Desirable

  • Relevant industry and professional recognition and certification of achievement of skills and knowledge.
  • Knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines, including version control systems and collaborative software development.
  • Knowledge of Software Engineering best practices or keen to learn and apply these.
  • Regulatory, local and national professional knowledge and experience of compliance.
  • Ability to solve problems and resolve issues, plan solutions and make pragmatic decisions.
  • Experience of providing specialist advice and guidance and demonstrable ability to develop software designs in collaboration with academics.
  • Experienced practitioner who has led teaching/research project working within and educational, commercial or industrial environment.
  • Demonstrable ability to teach or train others with specific technical skills.
  • Experience of implementing policies and procedures. 
  • Experience in the use, design or simulation of Adaptive Optics systems
  • Experience in developing software for delivery to end users.

Grade 8 Desirable

  • Relevant industry and professional recognition and certification of achievement of skills and knowledge.
  • Knowledge of Software Engineering best practices or keen to learn and apply these.
  • Experience of implementing policy and procedures and involvement with future changes for a service area.
  • Regulatory, local and national professional knowledge and experience of compliance.
  • Ability to contribute to planning at operational and strategic levels.
  • Experienced practitioner who has led teaching/research project working within an educational, commercial or industrial environment.
  • Extensive knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines, including version control systems and collaborative software development.
  • Demonstrable ability to teach or train others with specific technical skills, and the operation of standard and complex scientific, technical and creative equipment.
  • Experience of providing specialist advice and guidance and demonstrable ability to develop software designs in collaboration with academics.
  • Experience in the use, design or simulation of Adaptive Optics systems
  • Experience in developing software for delivery to end users.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.