Systems Engineer - (AVN New Builds) at National Research Foundation

  • Permanent Senior EE position

  • Pinelands, Cape Town, Western Cape

  • Market Related salary

  • Job 1970743 | Ref 2280

  • Posted 07 Jun 2017

About the Position

SKA SA has an opportunity for a Systems Engineer (AVN New Builds) in our African VLBI Networks team. The key focus of this role is to lead the systems engineering effort for the AVN New Build Stations under instruction from the AVN Project Engineer and in close collaboration with the AVN Project Scientist(s), AVN Project Manager, Workgroup Systems Engineers/ Managers and national as well as international stakeholders. Actively perform all system engineering tasks to produce high quality SE artefacts for the AVN New Build Stations. Actively participate and work closely with the AVN management, technical and science teams to ensure successful on time and within budget delivery of AVN new build stations capable of delivering the required science.

Minimum education required:

  • Bachelors' Degree in Physics or Engineering

Minimum work experience required:

  • 5- 10 years' experience in systems engineering

Duties and responsibilities:

  • tailor the AVN systems engineering process appropriately for the new build programme, and manage the system engineering processes accordingly (including reviews and audits)
  • work closely with the AVN Project Engineer, AVN Project Scientist(s) and national as well as International Stakeholders in the development of the User Requirements and Operational Concepts and the translation thereof into AVN New Build Station Requirements including due consideration of any constraints
  • perform the AVN New Build Station system engineering effort including:
  1. participate in Concept Design studies of alternate solutions to meet the URS and operational concepts
  2. Primary lead role for the accepted approach in all aspects of:
  • development of product breakdown structures;
  • requirements analysis and verification;
  • trade-off studies;
  • requirements management including change and configuration management;
  • functional analysis and verification;
  • RAM and failure analysis and mitigation measures;
  • development of the station architecture;
  • design verification
  • lead the identification and definition of the boundaries and develop related interface requirements/ control documents for the Station (internal and external)
  • under the authority of the 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 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 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:


  • be flexible and search for project challenges and setbacks without compromising safety, reliability and quality
  • work within multi-disciplined and multi-cultured teams and stakeholders
  • conceptualise and develop high quality systems engineering artefacts (includes management reports)
  • form an effective interface between science and engineering teams
  • work and successfully deliver under pressure with integrity at all times
  • work at heights of approximately 30m above ground level with appropriate safety measures
  • excellent verbal and written communication skills (include report writing etc.)
  • remain productive whilst travelling to project locations in African partner countries


  • leading/ participating in the successful development of products from conceptualisation to final delivery
  • utilisation of system engineering tools
  • configuration management and quality assurance processes and principles
  • risk management processes
  • development of system engineering products in medium to large technically complex projects


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

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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Expires in 18 days

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