Electrical Engineer III-IV

Engineers, Technical Specialists and Technicians Charlottesville, Virginia


Position Description:


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s mission is to enable forefront research into the Universe at radio wavelengths. In partnership with the scientific community, we:


  • Provide world leading telescopes, instrumentation and expertise,
  • Train the next generation of scientists and engineers, and
  • Promote astronomy to foster a more scientifically literate society.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) announces an opportunity for an Electrical Engineer/Systems Engineer at the Central Development Laboratory (CDL) in Charlottesville, VA. The CDL develops new technology to enable forefront research in radio astronomy by the scientific community. The successful candidate will act as project leader for NRAO’s future correlator projects.


NRAO offers competitive pay and excellent benefits – medical, dental and vision plans are effective first day of employment.  Our retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participant’s base pay. No contribution is required of the employee; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions. 


This position will be located in Charlottesville, VA.


Position Summary

The appointee will be the lead engineer and project leader for all of NRAO’s correlator development programs including those planned for the next generation Very Large Array (ngVLA) and for future ALMA correlators developed as part of the ALMA 2030 roadmap.


NRAO is responsible for delivering large radio telescopes that operate as national and international assets that provide capabilities to a broad range of users and partners. As lead correlator engineer, the selectee will be responsible for ensuring that the requirements of all stakeholders are addressed in the correlator plan, that risks are identified and appropriate mitigation schemes considered, and that life-cycle and operating costs are considered in system design and implementation. Systems integration and verification and validation are particularly important aspects of our correlator design and commissioning process.


The appointee will be responsible for drawing on the vast expertise of the entire correlator team to execute correlator systems engineering duties. This includes performing requirements analysis/development, and developing, maintaining, and executing plans for integration and deployment. In addition, the selectee will be responsible for overseeing and developing project support documentation, such as Interface Control Documents, Concept of Operations, Test Plans, Evaluation Plans, and Verification Plans. Though commissioning is not a direct responsibility of the correlator subsystem, the selectee will work closely with the correlator science commissioning team to ensure on time correlator delivery.


The appointee will perform these duties by working across multiple elements within NRAO. He/She will work very closely with: engineering teams in NRAO’s Central Development Laboratory (especially with the Laboratory’s digital design team); astronomers within NRAO’s North American ALMA Science Center; the ngVLA project team; and NRAO’s Data Management and Software Department. Close coordination with NRAO’s Project Management Department to ensure projects are executed according to the Integrated Master Schedule and approved budget is a key responsibility for the selectee.


The ideal candidate will keep up to date on both the emerging science requirements for radio telescopes and on international radio telescope correlator developments and technologies. He/she will use this information to work with Central Development Laboratory engineers in evaluating and analyzing new concepts, architectures, and implementation schemes, and in analyzing new hardware capabilities and emerging technologies, all with an eye toward applicability to future correlator designs to deliver science requirements for the next generation instruments.


This position requires strong interpersonal skills and leadership capabilities, and the candidate will be expected to carry out his or her duties in compliance with NRAO and government safety policies and procedures.


Job Duties Summary

Key duties and responsibilities will include, but not limited to:

  • Electrical Engineer and Project Leader for all of NRAO’s correlator development programs, including upgrades to existing correlators and development of entirely new classes of correlators.
  • Responsible for all correlator systems engineering duties, including requirements analysis/development, and developing, maintaining, and executing plans for integration and commissioning.
  • Responsible for Interface Control Documents, Concept of Operations, Test Plans, Evaluation Plans, and Verification plans.
  • Works across multiple elements within NRAO, including engineering and science teams, and project management teams.
  • Works closely with engineers in NRAO’s Central Development Laboratory and with NRAO astronomers in evaluating and analyzing new concepts, architectures, and implementations.
  • Ensures proactive compliance with NRAO and government safety policies and procedures.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, or a closely related field.


Minimum Experience

  • At least 3 years’ experience performing project lead or lead engineering duties on a technical development project.
  • Experience in working on projects developing complex signal processing systems.
  • Experience in managing a large set of systems requirements from a diverse range of users.

Competency Summary

  • Deep knowledge of the principles of signal processing and systems integration.
  • Demonstrated ability to work at a systems level to enable seamless integration and validation and verification, including requirements and specifications development, concept of operations development, test, evaluation, and knowledge of project management activities as appropriate.
  • Ability to work with large, international teams.
  • Excellent administrative abilities, including the ability to work with project managers to monitor budgets and schedules.
  • Superior interpersonal skills and the ability to work on a diverse team.


Work Environment

Work is typically performed in a research or development environment, but you may occasionally be required to work outdoors.  Some domestic and international travel will be required; must be willing to travel at regular intervals within and outside the U.S., including work at the ALMA array site in Chile at an altitude of 5000.


Application Instructions:


Apply online at the NRAO Careers page (http://jobs.jobvite.com/nrao/jobs). Please upload your current resume and a cover letter describing interest and suitability for the position. Applications will be reviewed upon receipt, and will continue until the position is filled.


Equal Opportunity Employer Statement:


AUI is an equal opportunity employer.  Women, Minorities, Vietnam-Era Veterans, Disabled Veterans, Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities are encouraged to apply.  To view our complete statement, please visit http://jobs.jobvite.com/nrao/jobs.  If you require reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process due to a disability, you may submit your request by sending an email to resumes@nrao.edu.



The NRAO is an equal opportunity employer (M/F/D/V)

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.