About the Role

NPL has a programme of work on applying core metrological principles of traceability, uncertainty analysis and comparison to satellite Earth Observation data sets. This has involved understanding the processes onboard satellites and the analysis in going from raw data to physical “level 1” products (top-of-atmosphere radiance, reflectance or brightness temperature) and then from those physical products to essential climate variables. Our work on the FIDUCEO project (www.fiduceo.eu) has led to the definition of underpinning approaches to establishing fundamental climate data records from historical satellite observations, and we have also established pixel-level uncertainties for the radiometric instruments on the European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel 2 and Sentinel 3 satellites. While our work so far has been predominantly on passive radiometric instruments, our customers at ESA and elsewhere are also interested in how we could apply such techniques to active instruments (altimeters and SAR sensors).

About You

The successful candidate will be providing technical leadership to NPL’s activity to bring the core principles of metrology to satellite data products. This will involve:

  • Developing, in collaboration with NPL’s metrologists and data scientists, methods for satellite sensor comparison and harmonisation, establishing instrumental calibration models and for propagating uncertainty
  • Working with academic and industrial partners to establish “fundamental climate data records” following best metrological practices from satellite sensors – considering both pre-flight and post-launch calibration and processing from raw data to data products
  • Supervising junior scientists working in these technical areas (with possible line management if appropriate)
  • Responding to commercial and grant-based invitations to tender (ITTs) to obtain research funding in this area and seeking new funding sources.
  • Participating in international committees and attending conferences, publishing scientific work in journals and developing good practice guidelines, training material and standards

The work could cover radiometric sensors (solar reflective, thermal infrared, microwave) and/or active sensors (SAR, altimetry, lidar)


Person specification

  • Strong understanding of the physics of the types of sensors and detectors used on Earth observation satellites (gained from Earth Observation, Astronomy or other instrumentation fields) and/or strong understanding of metrological principles
  • Strong mathematical and scientific programming skills (including Python)
  • Collaborative with other senior scientists and able to encourage and coach junior scientists
  • Able to provide leadership across multiple research projects
  • Can think strategically


Experience in Earth Observation level 1 processing and/or understanding of metrological principles is desirable but not required. We are interested in candidates working in the solar reflective (UV, visible, shortwave infrared), thermal emissive and microwave spectral regions and in people who can extend similar principles to active satellite sensors.

CVs will be reviewed on a ongoing basis. Interviews will be held on 28th October

About The Company

We’re transforming. As a national laboratory, we’re exploring even more commercial routes to market and that’s presenting us with greater opportunity – for you and us. Our success relies on the diversity and talent of our people, we strive to nurture and respect individuals to ensure everyone feels valued and supported to excel in their chosen field. This value is at the core of our organisation.

We believe in a culture of fairness by treating everyone on the basis of their own individual merits and abilities regardless of their own or perceived identity, background or any other factor irrelevant to a person’s work. At NPL we are committed to the health and well-being of our employees. Flexible working and social activities are embedded in our culture to create a positive work-life balance, along with a broad range of benefitsNPL’s values are at the heart of what we do and they shape the way we interact, develop our people and celebrate success.

As part of our commitment to diversity & inclusion, we signed up to the Institute of Physics' Project Juno in 2015 as a Juno Supporter. NPL were proud to be awarded Juno Practitioner status in 2018. NPL also joined Stonewall as a Diversity champion in 2015, participating in their annual Workplace Equality Index for the equality of LGBT+ community at NPL. In 2018, NPL became a member of the Business Disability Forum and joined the disability confident scheme as level 1 committed employer.

To ensure everyone has an equal chance, we’re always willing to make reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process. If you would like to discuss, please contact us.