Job Details

University of California Santa Cruz
  • Position Number: 2565051
  • Location: Santa Cruz, CA
  • Position Type: Engineering - Mechanical

Mechanical Engineer

Location: Santa Cruz
Job ID: 25285

This position is being filled at either the Mechanical Engineer or Senior Mechanical Engineer level. Applicants are encouraged to apply to both job postings. See job numbers 25285 and 25286. To apply for the Senior Mechanical Engineer, visit this link.

UC Vaccination Policy: With limited exceptions, COVID-19 vaccinations are required for Covered Individuals under the Policy. Covered Individuals include all employees, students, or trainees who physically access a University facility or program in connection with their employment, appointment, or education/training.

Covered Individuals do NOT include employees who work 100% remotely with NO expectation that they will physically access any University location or program at ANY time. If 100% remote work ends, the employee is subject to Policy. 

Employees can submit proof of vaccination online or request an exception.

UC Santa Cruz is a public university like no other in California, combining the intimacy of a small, liberal arts college with the depth and rigor of a major research university.

UC Santa Cruz staff jobs are posted until filled. Application materials submitted by 11:59 pm on the IRD will be routed to the hiring unit for consideration. NOTE: Materials submitted after the IRD will be forwarded only at the request of the hiring unit. Submit your materials before the IRD to ensure consideration by the hiring unit. 

Initial Review Date (IRD): 11-08-2021

Dept Marketing Statement
The University of California Observatories (UCO) is a Multi-Campus Research Unit of the University of California, with headquarters at the UC Santa Cruz campus. UCO operates on behalf of astronomers on eight UC campuses and two national laboratories and is comprised of extensive technical facilities, a business office, and telescope and support facilities at the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton. UCO provides UC's scientific, technical, and administrative interface to the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and the Thirty Meter Telescope international project. It also supports training of astronomy Ph.D.'s and post-docs throughout the UC system, and in TMT's partner nations. 

The UCO engineering staff supports the design of new instruments, the upgrading of Lick Observatory and Keck Observatory instruments systems, as well as the continuous improvement and maintenance of Lick Observatory infrastructure. 

The Keck partnership includes working in collaboration with our partners at Caltech and across UC to design new instrument concepts, design, develop, fabricate, and integrate and test new instruments and subsystems, and work with Keck to diagnose and repair existing instruments. Any new mechanical engineer can expect to work closely with Keck Observatory staff and our collaborators on all aspects of new and existing instrument development. 

The Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton has several active telescopes that are operated and maintained by the UCO team. Upgrades to instruments and design changes for repair and improvements are an important aspect of the mechanical design effort at UCO. In addition to the observatory efforts, the UCO staff supports graduate students and postdocs in completing their required thesis work and enabling design work to be done as these new instrumentalists design and build their own sub-systems and instruments.

Job Summary

The University of California Observatories (UCO) Mechanical Engineer will work under general supervisor on research instrumentation, designing and building the next generation of ground-breaking instruments for astronomy on some of the world's largest telescopes. The UCO mechanical engineering group works on a range of technical challenges on one of a kind projects: precision motion control, alignment of large, powerful optics, vacuum-cryogenic systems and more.  We are looking for mechanical Engineers who are enthusiastic about hands-on work and enjoy all phases of a project: concept design, FEA, manufacturing, assembly and alignment, and testing. We welcome applications from mechanical Engineers with any level of experience who want to work in an academic environment on a variety of projects and who are excited about the engineering challenges of research instrumentation.

Salary Information:  $73,700 - $130,000 / Annually.  Salary commensurate with skills, qualifications and experience. 

No. of Positions:  1

Benefits Level Eligibility:  Full

Schedule Information:  
100% weekly
40 hours weekly
Day Shift 

Employee Classification:  Career Appointment 

Job End Date:  None 

Work Location:  UC Santa Cruz Main Campus

Union Representation:  None 

Job Code Classification:  007120 (RSCH AND DEV ENGR 3)


Prepares mechanical engineering designs and analysis of moderate complexity and performs alignment, assembly and testing of novel laboratory equipment and instruments. 


Supports senior engineering team in preparation of detailed drawings, bill of materials and data for in-house or vendor fabrication and iterates as needed with fabrication technicians.


Participates in the evaluation of new instrument and upgrades designs and analysis.


Gathers and analyzes data; prepares formal engineering reports, drawings and status reports.


Instrument implementation and commissioning at partner institutions and vendor facilities during assembly and lab validation process.  

  • Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or a related area and / or equivalent experience / training.
  • Thorough knowledge associated with the planning, development, and fabrication of engineering systems. 
  • Ability to work in a research environment on open-ended problems with few or changing requirements. Ability to work with faculty, staff, and students on these efforts to forward the ultimate research goal.
  • Ability to work in a collaborative manner with colleagues of a diverse background and levels of experience both at UCSC and with national and international partners. 
  • Experience with computer aided design (CAD) and analysis packages (FEA).  Ability to create parts, assemblies, and production drawings.  
  • Demonstrated organizational abilities to work on multiple assignments among many efforts with critical timelines.
  • Ability to generate clear and concise technical documentation and presentations including: internal reports, external design review documentation, and scientific journal publications.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills. 

Preferred Qualifications
  • Demonstrated skill in developing and executing formal mechanical engineering designs to completion, including design validation using Finite Element Analysis and hand calculations.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of engineering materials used in fabrication, knowledge of current fabrication processes, and fabrication drawing/production document development.
  • Hands on experience with fabrication processes and utilization of tools and associated equipment.
  • Experience working on quality control validation of components or assembles including use of hand and automated measuring systems, development of compliance documentation, and development of inventory control processes.  
  • Experience setting up and running lab validation tests using; Matlab, Python, or other software tools. Experience with analyzing performance data and communicating results to a technical audience. 
  • Familiarity with electro mechanics, scientific programing, and/or opto-mechanics.

Special Conditions
  • Selected candidate will be required to pass a pre-employment criminal history background check.
  • Ability to occasionally travel domestically and internationally, including travel to Lick Observatory (Mount Hamilton, CA) and Keck Observatory (Mauna Kea, Hawaii).
  • Ability to work on site at telescope locations (including Mauna Kea, Hawaii) in cold and difficult conditions.
  • The University of California has implemented a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy covering all employees. To be compliant with the policy, covered employees must submit proof of vaccination or have an approved exception or deferral, eight (8) weeks from date of hire.

All UCSC employees must know and follow job safety procedures, attend required health and safety training, proactively promote safety at work, and promptly report actual and potential accidents and injuries.  

How to Apply
Attach your resume and cover letter when applying for this job opening. Do not attach any documents to 'My Activities'. Visit our" href="" target="_blank">How to Apply tutorial for detailed instructions on our applicant process. 


The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. UC Santa Cruz is committed to excellence through diversity and strives to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for the contributions of all students and employees. 

View full job description and access on-line application:

To ensure review of application materials by the hiring unit, they must be submitted on or before the initial review date (IRD) via the Staff Employment Opportunities web site; A computer is available at the UC Santa Cruz Staff Human Resources Office located at Scotts Valley Center. The Scotts Valley Center is located at 100 Enterprise Way, Suite E100, Scotts Valley, CA 95066. To learn more or to request disability accommodations, call 831-459-2009. Hearing impaired are encouraged to use the California Relay Service at 800-735-2922. UC Santa Cruz is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. UC Santa Cruz is committed to excellence through diversity and strives to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for the contributions of all students and employees.

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