The Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching (near Munich), Germany, is a world-leading institute for developing and operating state-of-the-art astronomical instruments. Over the past years, MPE has taken a leading role in the development of instrumentation for several international space- and ground-based projects, for example XMM-Newton, Herschel, SRG / eROSITA, EUCLID, the VLT telescopes (e.g., KMOS, GRAVITY) and Einstein Probe. The MPE high-energy group, led by Prof. K. Nandra, carries out major space hardware programs including the development of X-ray detectors and X-ray optics in support of its astrophysics research program.
Within the framework of ESA’s future large-class space mission ATHENA, MPE leads the international consortium developing the Wide Field Imager (WFI), one of the two instruments aboard the X-ray satellite. Further details about the WFI, which is based on the Max Planck Society’s unique Silicon DEPFET technology, can be found here: https://www.mpe.mpg.de/ATHENA-WFI/ .

The MPE high-energy group is seeking an experienced system engineer for the WFI project who should in addition have in their earlier career stages been an accomplished design engineer in any of the primary engineering disciplines (optical, mechanical, electronics, control, and/or software engineering).
As the lead systems engineer for the Athena WFI, you will be part of the Project Management Team with responsibility for the requirements analysis, capturing and management, the overall system design, assembly, integration, verification, installation, commissioning, and delivery of the astronomical and scientific products. Working as a senior member of the team, reporting to the principal investigator and the project manager, you will have ample opportunities to innovate and develop new technical solutions.
Lead System Engineer (m/f/div) for the ATHENA-WFI Satellite Project
job code: 32/2023

Your tasks:

Requirements engineering, including the analysis and flow down of those requirements to subsystems, capturing of requirements (using a requirement capturing tool such as DOORS) and ensuring that requirements and interface definitions are under configuration control
Overall system design
The definition and control of interfaces between the subsystems
Application of end-to-end systems analysis and modelling and the subsequent allocation and management of technical budgets / tolerances
The development of integration and test plans which will verify compliance with sub-system and, ultimately, top-level requirements
Support of system integration, verification, and test in collaboration with the WFI consortium, ESA and leading European space companies
Technical management and risk assessment
Prepare technical documentation for milestones and reviews

Your qualifications:

A completed university degree (e.g., Diplom-Ingenieur [m/f/div] or equivalent) or an equivalent qualification with in-depth knowledge of scientific instrumentation development; for example, a physics degree with applicable work experience in instrumentation development will also be considered.
Knowledge and experience: The successful candidate is expected to bring proven systems engineering experience with designing astronomical or other complex systems.

Knowledge of:

Engineering management with a broad, but not necessarily detailed, knowledge of the technologies involved in the engineering activities being managed
Principles and methods of systems engineering and project management
Principles and methods of requirements analysis
Excellent conceptual and analytical skills to solve technical problems, involving problem definition, candidate solution identification, and solution selection
Technical risk assessment
Modelling languages and relevant software tools
Characterization methods to evaluate candidate design alternatives
System integration, tools, test equipment, principles, and methods of validation
Knowledge of ESA design and quality requirements (ECSS standards) is an advantage


Planning, organizing resources, motivating people, measuring performance, and applying corrections where necessary
To manage outwards, engendering confidence in the systems engineering from the stakeholders
The ability to work independently on projects and in a team
Fluency in written and spoken English
Fluency in written and spoken German will be an advantage, but is not essential

Personal skills and attributes:

Results-orientated individual
Issues and risk focus
Focused on maximization of the value to the stakeholder(s) whom the design is to serve
Attention to detail
Willingness to raise issues when defects are discovered

Ideally, you enjoy working your way through challenging topics and already have experience in development projects.

We offer:

A versatile, challenging, and autonomous job in a dynamic and culturally stimulating international research environment in the development of satellite instrumentation
Interdisciplinary work in a team of experienced engineers and physicists
Needs-oriented training opportunities
Fair payment according to your qualifications and professional experience in accordance with the Collective Agreement for the Public Service (TVöD)
Company pension scheme (VBL)
Family service at the Garching research campus
Private accident insurance financed by the employer
Underground station U6 directly in front of the institute
Canteen in the immediate vicinity
Reduced rates for certain insurance policies
Free parking on the institute grounds

The full-time position is initially for two years with the possibility for further extension.
The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals.
Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

Your application:

For more information of the work of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics as well as the German version of this job posting, please visit http://www.mpe.mpg.de .

Applicants should submit their documents including a cover letter, a curriculum vitae (PDF files) online by Friday,
January 14 th , 2024

( https://recruitingapp-5257.de.umantis.com/Vacancies/575/Application/CheckLogin/2?lang=eng )


Late applications may be considered if the position has not been filled.