About the Role

The Earth Observation, Climate & Optical group at NPL is a world leader in the theory, methods and practice of metrological traceability of Earth Observation (EO) instrumentation and their data products. ECO projects span the full life cycle of EO instrumentation traceability; from pre-flight calibration, in-orbit validation & sensor inter-operability, together with L1 and derived product quality assurance from the UV through to the microwave. 

Underpinning this specialism is the core metrological infrastructure typical of many of the worlds National Metrology Institutes with primary standards, and measurement facilities to provide a wide range of services to customers.  These services span the full range of optical properties of sources, materials and detectors.  Many of these services and facilities are based on traceability routes to detectors and in particular the cryogenic radiometer through use of lasers.

The successful candidate will join the team focused on maintaining and developing the underpinning measurement facilities of NPL with a particular emphasis on the infrared spectral region.  As a senior role in the team, the candidate will work closely with the groups leadership team and in particular the facilities manager to ensure that core measurement infrastructure is operating in an optimum manner to meet the needs of our customers.  The candidate will also be expected to develop and implement bespoke measurement solutions for specific applications in a timely and cost effective manner, this will include the ability to analyse problems and estimate time and cost of solutions in an independent manner. As a senior scientist and engineer it is assumed that the successful candidate will have a proven capability and understanding of metrology and uncertainty analysis.  Although the individual is ultimately expected to take the technical lead in the infrared measurement aspects of the groups work they will also likely provide insight and support to facilities and measurements in other parts of the spectrum as needed.   The successful candidate will:


  • Provide the technical leadership for NPL measurement related activities in the thermal infrared spectral region.
  • Design, build and test optical/mechanical measurement facilities including the specification/writing of control and analysis software.
  • Analyse, design and implement measurement solutions and establish associated uncertainty, based on input requirements.
  • Provide expert analysis of instrument calibration & characterisation activity results, writing reports and presenting to the customer & funders.
  • Respond to invitations to tender (ITTs) and prepare technical proposal working with the internal & partner bidding teams to provide competitive solutions.
  • Supervising junior scientists/engineers working in this technical area (with possible line management, if appropriate)
  • Participate in national/international committees and attending conferences, publishing scientific work in journals and developing good practice guidelines, training material and standards.
About You

Person specification


  • Strong understanding of optical radiation measurements and current technology particularly related to the Infrared spectral region and instruments such as Fourier Transform spectrometry.
  • Good understanding of the metrological principles, design and test implementation to verify instrument performance.
  • Experience with use of, and measurements within, vacuum environments.
  • Broad based expertise able to rapidly assimilate a problem and provide technical response in a consultative manner to support a wide range of optical radiation measurement challenges.  
  • Understanding of measurement control software such as Labview to as a minimum allow its specification.  
  • Collaborative with other senior scientists and able to encourage and coach junior scientists/engineers.
  • Able to provide technical leadership across a multi-disciplinary team.
  • Can think strategically and pragmatically.


In addition, we require:

  • Degree and PhD (or equivalent experience) in Physics, or Engineering and ideally experience of working in or with the metrological community.
  • Strong scientific and mathematical skills


You will be working in optical measurement laboratories that will be dimly lit and you will be required to perform visual alignment and manual handling tasks. You will also be expected to travel to international locations for conferences and to meet customers in the UK and abroad to perform laboratory-based work.

Interviews will be held on Monday 9th December and Thursday 9th January . We will be reviewing applications prior to the closing date. Please note we may close the vacancy before the end date if we receive a high number of application. 

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.