Systems Engineer - Conversions at National Research Foundation

  • Permanent Intermediate EE position

  • Pinelands, Cape Town, Western Cape

  • Market Related salary

  • Job 1964395 | Ref 2258

  • Posted 07 Jun 2017

About the Position

SKA SA has an exciting career opportunity for a Systems Engineer. The main purpose of this role is to lead the systems engineering effort for each of the AVN Conversion Stations under instruction from the AVN Project Engineer and in close collaboration with the AVN Project Scientist(s), AVN Project Manager and Work Group Systems Engineers/ Managers. Actively perform all systems engineering tasks and produce high quality systems engineering artefacts at the AVN Conversion Station level. Actively participate and work closely with the AVN management, technical and science teams to ensure successful on time and within budget delivery of AVN conversion stations capable of delivering the required science. The successful incumbent will report to the Project Engineer.

Minimum education requirement:

  • Bachelor's degree in Physics or Engineering

Minimum employment experience required:

  • At least 5 years in a systems engineering role

Duties and responsibilities:

  • tailor the AVN dish conversion systems engineering process appropriately for each conversion, and manage the system engineering processes accordingly (including reviews and audits).
  • work closely with the AVN Project Engineer and AVN Project Scientist(s) in the translation of the User Requirements and Operational Concepts into AVN Station Requirments including due consideration of the constraints of the existing dishes to be converted.
  • participate in the initial technical evaluation of the dishes identified to be converted into AVN Stations.
  • Perform the AVN Conversion Station system engineering effort including:
  • a) development of product breakdown structures,
  • b) requirements analysis and verification,
  • C) trade off studies
  • d) requirements management including change and configuration management,
  • e) functional analysis and verification,
  • f) RAM and failure analysis and mitigation measures,
  • g) development of the station architecture,
  • h) design verification
  • lead the identification and definition of the boundaries and develop related interface requirements/ control documents for Station (internal and external)
  • under the authority of the AVN Project Engineer be responsible for the budgeting as well as timeous and cost effective procurement and delivery of cross-cutting non-work group specific deliverables like cabinets, cooling systems, UPS, generators, etc.
  • in close collaboration with the AVN assembly, integration and verification (AIV) systems engineer ensure that the Conversion Station requirements are testable/ verifiable and support the development of the assembly, integration and verification programme for the Station at all levels.
  • in close collaboration with the AVN AIV systems engineer and the work group systems engineers/ managers, decompose the Station into lower level sub-systems, each with allocated functionality, performance and verification/ validation requirements.
  • ensure the completeness and delivery of high quality systems engineering artefacts for each of the phases of each of the conversion project.
  • ensure a focus on a total lifecycle view and approach to the technical effort.
  • attend and participate in technical (and management) progress meetings and reviews/ audits.

Desirable additional education, work experience, and personal qualities:

  • engineering industry experience with high percentage of research and development content
  • Masters or PHD in Physics or Engineering

The ideal candidate will have the following competencies:


  • form an effective interface between science and engineering teams
  • work with multi-disciplined and multi-cultured teams and stakeholders
  • flexible and search for options and opportunities in the face of project challenges and setbacks without compromising safety, reliability and quality


  • demonstrated experience in the development of system engineering products in medium to large technically complex projects
  • demonstrated experience in the utilisation of system engineering tools
  • demonstrated experience in leading/participating in the successful development of products from conceptualization to final delivery


  • radio astronomy principles and instrumentation (highly desirable)
  • the formalism for, and requirements of, quality control environments such as ISO9000
  • demonstrated technical knowledge of some of the critical technologies or major units within radio telescopes (highly desirable)

About The Employer

The South African SKA Project (SKA SA) is a project of the Department of Science and Technology(DST), administered by the National Research Foundation(NRF). SKA SA is responsible for coordinating Africa's involvement in the design and construction of the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope, the design and construction of the Karoo Array Radio Telescope (MeerKAT) and the African VLBI Network (AVN), as well as the development of skills required to design, build and operate these instruments.

As a business unit of the NRF, SKA SA is committed to employment equity and redress.

This is a permanent position.

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