Lead Telescope Operations Engineer - SKA-Low Telescope

Date: 6 Jul 2024

Location: Geraldton, WA, AU

Company: CSIRO

Acknowledgement of Country

CSIRO acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land, sea and waters, of the area that we live and work on across Australia. We acknowledge their continuing connection to their culture and pay our respects to their Elders past and present. View our vision towards reconciliation

Child safety

CSIRO is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people involved in our activities and programs. View our Child Safe Policy.

The opportunity

The SKA Observatory (SKAO) is a next-generation radio astronomy facility that will revolutionise our understanding of the Universe and the laws of fundamental physics. Enabled by cutting-edge technology, it promises to have a major impact on society, in science and beyond.


In Australia, the SKAO is collaborating with CSIRO to operate and support the construction of the low frequency telescope (SKA-Low) in remote Western Australia on Wajarri Yamaji Country.


The Traditional Owners and native title holders, the Wajarri Yamaji, have gifted CSIRO with the traditional name Inyarrimanha Ilgari Bundara for the CSIRO Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, home to the SKA-Low telescope. The traditional name means ‘sharing sky and stars’ in the Wajarri language.


The Lead Telescope Operations Engineer will be an experienced radio astronomy engineer with deep expertise in Radio Frequency (RF). You will become a primary in-country expert on the engineering of the world's largest low-frequency radio telescope, leading a small team of highly skilled engineering specialists to discover and resolve hardware, software and firmware issues and improve overall telescope performance. The Lead Telescope Operations Engineer’s expertise will contribute to the construction, integration, commissioning, maintenance, and operation of SKA-Low.

Your duties will include:


  • Act as a system expert for the SKA-Low telescope, with a deep understanding of low frequency telescope engineering and functionality and the detail of system operations. 

  • Resolve major technical problems that have a significant impact upon telescope performance and require original concepts and approaches. 

  • Manage delivery of quality assurance, fault management, and engineering mitigation and improvement initiatives for SKA-Low, including frequent visits to site.

  • Lead the team of operations engineering specialists, building an inclusive and high performing team and encouraging a high level of cooperation within and between teams.

  • Work with and influence the global Observatory engineering operations team to assure telescope performance.


Location:     Geraldton, Western Australia

Salary:         AU$152,055 - AU$168,238 plus 15.4% superannuation

Tenure:        Indefinite – Full-Time, Part-Time or Job-Share

Reference:  96195


For Full details about this role, please review the Position Description

To be considered you will need:


  • Relevant tertiary education in physics, electrical or electronic engineering. 

  • Substantial demonstrated experience in astronomy as a radio frequency engineer for an operating telescope, preferably at low frequency bands (e.g. 50 to 350 MHz), and a strong national or international reputation in your field of expertise.

  • Expertise in the key domains of the SKA-Low telescope; analogue electronics, digital electronics, embedded control software, high-level control software, and control systems.

  • Demonstrated leadership in a technical team setting, with a strong focus on promoting diversity and fostering an inclusive, high-performing culture that encourages new ideas and provides support for the development of emerging skills.

  • Demonstrated experience in management and planning the on-site operation and engineering support of a radio telescope.

  • Experience in planning and conducting preliminary failure mode and effect analyses (FMEAs), system hazard analyses (SHAs), Quantitative Risk Assessments (QRAs), Operating and Support Hazards Analyses (O&SHAs).

  • A clear understanding of relevant standards for system design and operations.


  • Familiarity with Matlab, Simulink, or similar tools. 

  • Fluency in a software language such as Python.

  • Experience with computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS) including availability monitoring, condition monitoring, configuration management, and asset management systems.

  • Proven skills in nurturing professional growth, providing education, and inspiring motivation among early-career engineers.

  • Holds a Chartered Professional Engineer status, or can demonstrate ability to obtain this.

  • Experience in the construction phase of a telescope.


Applications for this position are open to Australian/New Zealand Citizens, Australian Permanent Residents or you must either hold, or be able to obtain, a valid working visa for the duration of the specified term. Appointment to this role is subject to provision of a national police check and may be subject to other security/medical/character requirements.

Flexible working arrangements

We work flexibly at CSIRO, offering a range of options for how, when and where you work. 


CSIRO and the SKA Observatory value and respect difference, and we are committed to building an inclusive culture by creating an environment where you can balance a successful career with your commitments and interests outside of work. We believe that you will do your best at work if you have a work / life balance. We are open to discussing flexible working opportunities with this role being offered on a full-time, part-time or job share basis. Please raise your preference in your application.

Diversity and inclusion

We are working hard to recruit people representing the diversity across our society, and ensure that all our people feel supported to do their best work and feel empowered to let their ideas flourish. 


CSIRO is an Equal Opportunity employer working hard to recruit world-class talent that represents the diversity across our society. As part of our commitment to equitable employment outcomes for under-represented groups, preference will be given to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who meet the role criteria. 


At CSIRO Australia's national science agency, we solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. We put the safety and wellbeing of our people above all else and earn trust everywhere because we only deal in facts. We collaborate widely and generously and deliver solutions with real impact. 


CSIRO is committed to values-based leadership to inspire performance and unlock the potential of our people.


Join us and start creating tomorrow today!

How to apply

To apply for this role, please apply on-line providing your CV, and a Cover Letter clearly addressing the essential criteria of this role and your motivation for applying. Under CSIRO policy, only those who are able to demonstrate how they can meet the essential criteria may be appointed

Applications close

11 AUGUST 2024, 11:59pm AWST