Research Fellow (Communications Systems)

Perth (Suburb), Western Australia (AU)
$108,509 – $128,404 p.a. plus 17% superannuation
12 Sep 2023
End of advertisement period
11 Oct 2023
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR)

  • Contribute to cutting-edge Australian space activities through this key role in the $6.3M Australian Space Agency-funded TeraNet optical ground station network project
  • Full-time appointment on a fixed term basis for 2 years
  • Base salary range: Level B $108,509 – $128,404 p.a. plus 17% superannuation

The University of Western Australia (UWA) is ranked among the top 100 universities in the world and a member of the prestigious Australian Group of Eight research intensive universities. With a strong research track record, vibrant campus and working environments, supported by the freedom to innovate and inspire, there is no better time to join Western Australia’s top university.

About the team

ICRAR is a WA State funded high profile equal joint venture established in 2009 between Curtin University and The University of Western Australia (UWA). The Centre’s headquarters are located at UWA, with research nodes at both UWA and Curtin. ICRAR has been funded with $25 Million by the WA State Government and $35 Million contribution from the Joint Venture Universities till 2024.

The Astrophotonics Group at ICRAR is focused on designing, building, and testing advanced photonic systems with applications in radio astronomy, optical astronomy, and space science. The group combines research expertise from people with a broad range of backgrounds including astronomy, physics, and engineering. The group’s core technological capability is the long-distance transfer of stabilised optical-frequency signals, microwave-frequency signals, timing signals and communications signals, transmitted across optical fibre networks and free-space laser links.

Your work will contribute to the $6.3M ‘TeraNet’ project, which aims to establish a three-node optical communications ground station network in Australia. This network will support multiple international space missions operating between low-earth orbit and the Moon, using both conventional optical communications standards (O3K), as well as more advanced optical technologies including deep-space (HPE) communication, ultra-high-speed coherent communications (n-QAM), quantum-secured communications, and optical positioning and timing. The TeraNet network comprises a 0.7m ground station optimised for research and development at UWA, a second 0.7m ground station to be located at the Mingenew Space Precinct (300km North of Perth), and a 0.4m mobile ground station to be commissioned at ESA’s New Norcia facility.

We support flexible work arrangements to allow people to align their work duties with their family’s requirements and personal wellbeing. TeraNet is a project with global reach, so we do have to attend meetings after hours and there will be the occasional field deployments, and national and international travel.

About the opportunity

As the appointee you will, under broad direction, undertake independent research on the communications systems to be used by the TeraNet ground station network. You will be will be expected work with the project team to target this research towards the objectives and outcomes of the TeraNet project.

About you 

You will conduct applied research on communications systems for the TeraNet project to arrive at an optimal design that maximises the compatibility of the system with current and future in-space optical payloads in coordination with the rest of the project personnel and Project Collaborators.

To be considered for this role, you will demonstrate:

  • PhD in an academic field relevant to the discipline or other higher professional qualifications appropriate to their discipline
  • Substantial research experience in communications systems, as evidenced by a series of peer-reviewed journal articles published in high quality journals. The experience should preferably a combination of:
  • deployment of free-space optical communications systems,
  • optical networking, including industry standard interfaces, and
  • digital communications appropriate for satellite communications, including industry standard formats
  • Familiarity with different physical layer modulation schemes (such as OOK, DPSK, QPSK, HPE) and detection schemes (e.g. direct detection, intradyne, heterodyne)
  • Familiarity with link reliability techniques including forward error correction and interleaving, and retransmission protocols such as automatic repeat request
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent organisational skills with the demonstrated ability to set priorities and meet deadlines
  • The ability to work independently, show initiative and work productively as part of a team

Desirable capabilities:

  • experience leading a research team and supervision of HDR student
  • familiarity with atmospheric optical channel characteristics and challenges associated with communication between ground and space at optical wavelengths,
  • experience with the analysis, modelling, and simulation of end-to-end link performance, including optical channel characteristics, interference, non-linear device characteristics, intermodulation, and bit error rate on the achievable channel performance.
  • experience with high-power optical systems and the safe use of such systems, and
  • experience with spatial beam control and adaptive optics

About your application

Full details of the position's responsibilities and the selection criteria are outlined in the position description:  Position Description - Research Fellow, Communications Systems - Academic Level B.pdf

You are required to address the selection criteria in your submission in a separate document. For information to assist you with compiling statements to answer the selection criteria, please visit Addressing the selection criteria

Closing date: 11:55 PM AWST on Monday 11 October 2023

To learn more about this opportunity, please contact A/Prof. Sascha Schediwy on (08) 6488 3430 or at

This position is open to international applicants.

Application Details: Please apply online via the Apply Now button.

Our commitment to inclusion and diversity

UWA is committed to a diverse workforce and an equitable and inclusive workplace.  We celebrate difference and believe diversity is fundamental to achieving our goals as a globally recognised Top 100 educational and research institution.  We are committed to creating a safe work environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, the LGBTIQA+ community and people living with disability.

  • We have a globally competitive, gender neutral parental leave policy with 26 weeks paid leave after 12 months service and 36 weeks after 5 years.
  • We have on-campus childcare facilities for child 6 weeks to kindy.
  • We facilitate flexible working, with part-time and job-sharing arrangements considered.
  • We have an ongoing partnership with Pride in Diversity and were recently awarded a Bronze Employer status for LGBTIQA+ inclusion.
  • We have Athena SWAN Bronze accreditation and actively work to improve gender equity. 
  • ICRAR/UWA holds an Astronomical Society of Australia Gold Pleiades award.

Should you have any queries relating to your application, please contact the individual named in the advertisement. Alternatively, contact the Talent team at with details of your query. To enable a quick response, please include the 6-digit job reference number and a member of the team will respond to your enquiry.