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Job ID: 188809

Research & Development Engineer (7120U) - Astronomy
University of California, Berkeley

Date Posted Jul. 26, 2022
Title Research & Development Engineer (7120U) - Astronomy
University University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA, United States
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Research Scientist/Associate
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Research & Development Engineer (7120U) - Astronomy

About Berkeley

At the University of California, Berkeley, we are committed to creating a community that fosters equity of experience and opportunity, and ensures that students, faculty, and staff of all backgrounds feel safe, welcome and included. Our culture of openness, freedom and belonging make it a special place for students, faculty and staff.

The University of California, Berkeley, is one of the world's leading institutions of higher education, distinguished by its combination of internationally recognized academic and research excellence; the transformative opportunity it provides to a large and diverse student body; its public mission and commitment to equity and social justice; and its roots in the California experience, animated by such values as innovation, questioning the status quo, and respect for the environment and nature. Since its founding in 1868, Berkeley has fueled a perpetual renaissance, generating unparalleled intellectual, economic and social value in California, the United States and the world.

We are looking for equity-minded applicants who represent the full diversity of California and who demonstrate a sensitivity to and understanding of the diverse academic, socioeconomic, cultural, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds present in our community. When you join the team at Berkeley, you can expect to be part of an inclusive, innovative and equity-focused community that approaches higher education as a matter of social justice that requires broad collaboration among faculty, staff, students and community partners. In deciding whether to apply for a position at Berkeley, you are strongly encouraged to consider whether your values align with our Guiding Values and Principles, our Principles of Community, and our Strategic Plan.

Departmental Overview

The Department of Astronomy is one of four academic departments in the Mathematical & Physical Sciences Division in the College of Letters & Science, and as such, engages in the full range of teaching and research, as well as outreach and public service activities. Additionally, the Astronomy Department is programmatically closely associated with three ORUs; the Radio Astronomy Lab (RAL), the Theoretical Astrophysics Center (TAC) and the Center for Integrative Planetary Science (CIPS).

This position is responsible for the oversight, maintenance, and support of the Astronomy Student Laboratory as well as the facilities housed at Leuschner Observatory. The position may also work supporting faculty and/or researchers on engineering aspects of their research projects outside the scope of the student labs. Various pieces of equipment currently housed in Campbell Hall are maintained and/or rebuilt by this position, including guidance/positioning systems. This position works closely with faculty, instructors, and students to independently complete projects, identify problems and provide solutions to them. Involves professional engineering and engineering technician support as part of academic instructional lab and/or research projects and programs. Engineering activities include the design, construction, installation, testing of experimental systems, operation of analytical systems, establishment of performance specifications, and documentation. May be assigned duties within a single discipline (e.g., electronics/electrical) or span a range of disciplines.

Application Review Date

The First Review Date for this job is: July 5, 2022 - Open Until Filled


50% Performs design, construction, assembly, and testing of complex experimental equipment and instrument systems, including those located in Campbell Hall and off-campus locations.
  • Develop, design, maintain and improve hardware and software for the undergraduate laboratory courses.
  • Responsible for maintenance and upgrade of A) the optical and radio telescopes in Campbell Hall, including the 17-inch optical and two radio dishes; and B) 30-inch optical telescope and 4 meter radio telescope at Leuschner Observatory, an off-campus site.
  • Assist with custom software associated with lab instrumentation. This involves writing and debugging python scripts on 20 Linux-based client computers that are primarily maintained by the department's information systems analyst.

20% Provides a full range of professional engineering services to instructional and research projects; meets with faculty and researchers in the design, development, and implementation phases. Provides engineering information and advice to Principal Investigators and research personnel with administrative responsibility for the research program or teaching facility.

20% Determines project specifications and parameters, schedules the work, and ensures completion of project within established timeframe. May implement related business processes, such as evaluating vendors and their relevant services/products and completing purchases for technical projects. As related to projects, gathers, analyzes, prepares and summarizes annual and semi-annual reports.

5% Maintains expertise in astronomical guidance and operating systems; recommends upgrades or revisions to further develop the student educational experience. May provide direction and guidance to lower-level R&D Engineers and with engineers working with similar systems and apparatus on and off the campus.

5% Upgrades technical skills as new features and modules of campus systems becomeavailable. Maintains professional knowledge and stays current with related policies, procedures, laws, and regulations.

Required Qualifications
  • A degree in physics, engineering, or a related field.
  • Thorough knowledge associated with independently performing the full range of engineering professional design work.
  • Experience in applying self-reliance and initiative to hardware and software problems, repair and improvement.
  • Working knowledge of Python and/or similar programming languages (e.g. Matlab, Mathematica).
  • Excellent computer skills, including the Linux operating system, computer control of electronic equipment, and computer data acquisition.
  • Ability to develop collaborative working relationships with a diverse faculty, student, and staff population in an academic setting.
  • Experience troubleshooting equipment (both analog and digital), and setting up technical equipment, following technical instructions and manuals (when available).
  • Demonstrated experience operating machining equipment and producing items with in tolerance.
  • Demonstrated skills in collecting, analyzing, and reporting on data.
  • Ability to design, develop, install, maintain, and improve hardware and software used for the undergraduate laboratory courses.
  • Ability to evaluate vendors and their relevant products and services for technical projects.
  • Demonstrated organizational and decision-making abilities to prioritize competing work assignments in order to meet deadlines and adherence to quality standards.
  • Strong analytical and judgment skills to independently conduct analyses and develop appropriate recommendations.
  • Effective written and verbal communication and presentation skills.
  • Valid California Driver license.

Preferred Qualifications
  • Preferred experience using telescopes, digital timers, and other precision equipment.
  • Skills and knowledge needed to maintain and upgrade optical and radio telescopes on and off campus, including at least basic experience working with radio frequency (RF) equipment and associated test equipment, such as RF power meters and spectrum analyzers (knowledge of microwave) is helpful.
  • Demonstrated project management experience.

Salary & Benefits

This is a 50-100% variable FTE appointment; 50% or more of the responsibilities will be at the department with the rest to be determined with specific research units. The full time salary range for this position is $85,000 to $115,000 annually; salary is commensurate with experience.

For information on the comprehensive benefits package offered by the University visit:

Driving Required

A valid driver's license and DMV check for driving record is required.

Conviction History Background

This is a designated position requiring fingerprinting and a background check due to the nature of the job responsibilities. Berkeley does hire people with conviction histories and reviews information received in the context of the job responsibilities. The University reserves the right to make employment contingent upon successful completion of the background check.

Equal Employment Opportunity

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status. For more information about your rights as an applicant see:
For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

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