Data Validation Scientist (CU9/IoA) (Fixed Term)

University of Cambridge
February 23, 2024
Offerd Salary:£36,024 to £44,263
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Fixed-term The funds
Working Time:Negotigation
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A
Data Validation Scientist (CU9/IoA) (Fixed Term)

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available until 31 March 2026 in the first instance.

This is an interesting opportunity for a data scientist to work at the Institute of Astronomy (IoA), University of Cambridge, as part of the Gaia and PLATO system development teams within the IoA Data Projects (CamCEAD) group.

Gaia is a space observatory of the European Space Agency (ESA), launched in 2013, operational until 2025 and a final data release 2030/31. Gaia's key objective is a detailed study of the Milky Way that is revealing our Galaxy's content, dynamics, current state and formation history. The IoA is responsible for the development and operation of the (spectro)-photometric processing system. PLATO is an ESA mission, launching end 2026, that will detect and characterise a significant sample of exoplanets around bright stars. Within the PLATO Consortium, the IoA team is responsible for the development and operation of the Exoplanet Analysis System, which will enable the detection of the signatures of exoplanets from high-precision photometric light curves of the host stars.

The successful candidate will work initially within the Gaia software development team, with likely later involvement in PLATO development. The main tasks will be in photometric light curve analysis and validation (Gaia and PLATO) and data analysis and development of novel scientific algorithms and applications in the areas of photometric and spectrophotometric processing (Gaia). The role will also involve liaising with the wider mission consortium teams and external science users; contributing to documentation; and collaborating in the Gaia and PLATO stellar and exoplanet related research programs to optimise interpretation and use of such mission data. The role will include opportunities to interact with the wider CamCEAD team, with potential to contribute machine learning expertise in the context of data systems ranging from ground based spectroscopy (e.g. WEAVE) to medical imaging (i.e. IMAXT).

The successful candidate will have experience in astronomical data analysis activities, coupled with use of machine learning approaches to data validation, a good practical knowledge of scientific algorithm development and a PhD degree in a numerate discipline (preferably Astronomy, Physics, Computer Science, Computer Engineering or related field).

Candidates are expected to be familiar with the acquisition and reduction of data from large-scale astronomical facilities or surveys and with the use of database and web-based systems. Knowledge of Python/Java and object oriented programming is required, while knowledge of database systems would be advantageous.

The ability to work as part of a team and have good communication skills is also required. The post-holder will be required to attend meetings both elsewhere in the UK and overseas.

Salary will be on the Research Associate scale. A successful candidate with a PhD will be appointed at Grade 7 (Research Associate - £36,024 to £44,263 per annum). A candidate who has not been awarded their PhD will initially be appointed at Grade 5 (Research Assistant - £32,982 to £33,966 per annum) and, upon award of PhD, promoted to Grade 7.

We particularly welcome applications from women and /or candidates from a BME background for this vacancy as they are currently under-represented at this level in our institution.

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

Please indicate the contact details of three academic referees on the online application form and upload a full curriculum vitae (CV), list of publications, and a research/technical experience statement (with the research/technical experience statement totalling three pages max in 11pt font).

Note that references will only be requested for shortlisted candidates.

Please ensure that you upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV), cover letter, publications list and research/ technical experience statement (three A4 pages maximum in 11pt font) in the Upload section of the online application.

The names and email contact details of three referees are a necessary part of the submission. If short-listed for interview, you should advise your nominated referees that their references will be requested with a deadline of 13 March 2024.

Closing date: Applications to be received on 23 February 2024 by 23:59 GMT

Applications will be reviewed after the closing date and short-listed candidates will be interviewed (on-line) in the week commencing 11 March 2024 (interviews are currently planned for 15 March 2024).

Please quote reference LG40175 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society. The University of Cambridge thrives on the diversity of its staff and students. Applications from underrepresented groups are particularly welcome. We have an active Equality and Diversity Committee which continually works to further the aims of the Athena SWAN charter. The University has a number of family-friendly policies and initiatives, including a returning-carer scheme, childcare costs support, university workplace nurseries, university holiday play-schemes, and a shared parental-leave policy. As part of its commitment to providing a family-friendly environment for researchers, the IoA ensures that should parental leave be needed during the course of employment, there is provision for extension to contract to compensate for the parental leave taken.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Further information
  • Further Particulars
  • Department/Location

    Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge


    £29,605- £33,966 or £36,024- £44,263






    24 January 2024

    Closing date

    23 February 2024

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