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Engineer III

National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

Boulder, Colorado
Job Code:
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Full Time
  • Instrumentation and Measurement
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
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Job Details

About the Organization:

Formed in 2005, the Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) is one of the seven laboratories of NCAR, the National Science Foundation’s Federally Funded Research and Development Center. EOL's mission is to provide leadership in observing facilities, field project support as well as research and data services needed to advance the scientific understanding of the Earth system. EOL manages the majority of NSF’s Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities (LAOF) and deploys them in support of observational field campaigns, ranging from single investigator projects to large complex campaigns that involve multiple investigators, agencies, and platforms, nationally and internationally. EOL deploys its systems for research by scientists from universities, NCAR, and government agencies, as well as for education. An integral part of EOL’s mission is to develop the next generation of LAOF and to provide management and archiving of data from past supported campaigns. In order to ensure progress in the atmospheric sciences, EOL supports a wide-range of research areas within the Earth system science, ranging from microscale to mesoscale to climate process studies, and employs LAOF platforms and systems that reach from the surface of the Earth to the lower stratosphere and beyond.

EOL's In-Situ Sensing Facility (ISF) provides measurements made directly in the environment as well as profiling measurements of the lower atmosphere. Measurements are made in-situ at the earth's surface, on towers, on balloons, and on packages dropped from aircraft. Profiling measurements are made using vertically pointing radar, lidar and acoustic sensors. ISF aims to serve the advanced observational needs of the atmospheric science community by providing a flexible, state-of-the-art backbone measurement capability applicable to a wide range of experimental needs - emphasizing advanced sensor capabilities, sensor integration, system mobility, and
the ability to deploy to remote or difficult locations.

For more information on EOL please see the Join Our Team page. 


Job Overview:

Develops in situ atmospheric instrumentation for scientific research and deploys them in the field as a member of a technical team of engineers, scientists and technicians. Applies expert knowledge in engineering principles to develop and test a broad range of complex research instrumentation.



  • Has engineering responsibility to develop hardware for atmospheric research instrumentation. Includes design and development of digital, embedded systems, and analog circuit design, applying engineering concepts, theories and principles. Independently explores new emerging technologies in the areas of sensors, electronics, and instrumentation. Uses advanced techniques and adapts engineering theory to define new systems. Works in a team with scientists, technicians, software engineers, students and other engineers in determining and developing instrumentation requirements and system goals.  Determines timelines and personnel/cost estimates for projects. Provides guidance to lower-level staff for development projects as appropriate.
  • Responsible for all aspects of the Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) Calibration Laboratory. Takes lead role in the operation and maintenance of the lab. Explores and develops new technologies in calibration methods and systems. Applies metrology techniques to document traceability and calibration intervals of laboratory standards and systems. Ascertains and proposes upgrades, enhancements and expanded capabilities for all EOL calibration facilities..  Ensures standards are traceable to NIST.  Develops and writes code for the automation of the laboratory systems.  Directs, coordinates, and reviews work of technical staff handling the day-to-day operation of the laboratory.
  • Responsible for the evaluation of meteorological sensor performance. Works with scientific and engineering staff using statistical and numerical analysis techniques to determine the measurement characteristics of instrumentation. Designs and implements procedures to evaluate instruments in the laboratory and outdoors. Creates a database to document history of instrument performance for its life cycle.
  • Responsible for preparation of complex equipment for field deployment to ensure proper calibration, functionality, and performance. Develops pre- and post-deployment test procedures to ensure high quality precision accuracy and ultra-reliability of instrumentation, such as developing burn-in processes and developing software to automate test processes. Supervises, coordinates, and reviews the work of technicians preparing instruments for field deployment.
  • Works with the atmospheric science community, which includes scientists from NCAR, NSF, NASA, NOAA, and university partnerssuper in the worldwide deployment of instrumentation. Operates and supports scientific instrumentation in the field and leads field programs when appropriate. Analyzes the instrumentation data sets from field projects to evaluate the instruments’ performance based upon these results and leads the effort for determining engineering solutions to improve data quality, reliability, and performance.
  • Creates engineering documentation in a variety of formats for all projects at the professional level and the maintenance of these documents. Determines the best format for the particular documentation.



  • Bachelor's degree in engineering and at least six years of engineering experience; or a Master's degree in Engineering and at least four years of experience; or a Ph.D. degree and at least two years of experience; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Highly skilled in the design of analog and digital electronic circuits, embedded microprocessor systems and embedded development tools.
  • Strong skills in evaluating and documenting the performance of instrumentation.
  • Skill in software development in C for use in embedded systems and Labview for instrumentation control.
  • Skill in scientific metrology along with experience working with calibration systems.
  • Strong background in statistical and numerical analysis methods.
  • Advanced knowledge in Computer Aided Design (CAD) software for circuit design/simulation, schematic capture, and working knowledge in mechanical design.
  • Advanced knowledge of personal computer operating systems including, Linux, Windows.
  • Highly skilled in the use of electronic test equipment: mixed-signal oscilloscopes, DVMs, spectrum analyzers, etc.
  • Excellent knowledge of electronic components, microprocessors, op-amps, power supplies, digital logic, passive components.
  • Good written and oral communication skills.
  • Experience managing staff, equipment and resources.
  • Skill in working effectively as a member of a diverse team including interactions with a broad range of UCAR and community staff.


Other Requirements:

  • Willingness to travel up to approximately 60 days per year, typically for not more than 21 days per trip in support of field projects.
  • Must be able to obtain a passport and participate in foreign travel.
  • Willingness to climb structures up to 50m.
  • Must pass safety climbing class.
  • Must have a valid US Driver’s license.


Desired Skills:

  • Experience in working in an outdoor environment in diverse, sometimes physically demanding conditions.
  • Experience developing payloads for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
  • Experience working with meteorological in-situ instrumentation such as pressure, temperature, wind, humidity, carbon dioxide concentration, etc.
  • Skill in configuring wireless networks.
  • Working knowledge with data communication hardware and protocols.
  • Managing the development and implementation of complex projects.

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