R&D S E , Systems Engineer (Senior or Principal)
Sandia National Laboratories - Albuquerque, NM

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R&D S&E, Systems Engineeri SE

Job Summary

Org. 5718 is responsible for flight segment system engineering for Sandia?s contribution to the U.S. Nuclear Detonation Detection System (USNDS. The full GBD payload life cycle is supported within a structured systems engineering approach. The group conducts system studies and simulations, defines system architecture, develops requirements, provides system configuration management, and assures that system test plans are in place for verification activities. These activities are performed in close collaboration with the USNDS mission engineering department (05741) and with flight segment colleagues at LANL. Department personnel are frequently utilized as key information resources for planning and development efforts involving satellite-based detector systems.

Applies integrated technical judgment--which requires using the scientific method to recognize and formulate problems, to collect data through observation and experimentation, and to formulate and test hypotheses--to anticipate, innovate, and deliver solutions to Sandia National Laboratories missions. Roots the work in the fundamentals of science and engineering while applying a deep understanding of engineering and scientific principles. Creates and applies scientific theories and laws and engineering methods used within scientific and engineering disciplines to develop or demonstrate new designs, concepts, materials, machines, products, processes, or systems. Uses physical and computational simulation, analysis, and evaluation as inherent activities of development. Plans, conducts, and executes Sandia's science and engineering programs within the spectrum of fundamental research, development, or demonstration.

Works with the project manager and the customer to negotiate and define system requirements that enable mission function and performance; develop system conceptual designs to meet those requirements; and define the necessary subsystems, components, and interfaces to realize the system. Using a deep understanding of system operation and performance, performs functional decomposition of system requirements into subsystem-level performance requirements that are achievable within the cost and schedule constraints of a project. Provides system-level design architecture analysis that combines a number of component parts or subsystems into a complete functional system. Defines component and system-level performance requirements and develops acceptance criteria for the subsystems and system. Evaluates competing characteristics between system elements to determine the most effective integrated system solution.

Primary Job Duties

Leads research and development conceptual system trade studies for Sandia programs.
Directs systematic study toward a fuller knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and of observable facts, and discovers or synthesizes new approaches to achieve goals.
Uses systems engineering principles to research, design, or develop structures, instruments, machines, experiments, processes, systems, theories, or technologies; to construct or operate the same with full cognizance of their design; or to forecast their behavior under specific operating conditions as well as eventual mission characteristics and application.
Creates new understandings and capabilities by using the scientific method's hypothesis, test, and evaluation techniques; critical review; or similar engineering research and development methods to bring disparate technologies together to solve system issues.
Initiates, designs, develops, executes, and evaluates new processes, products, or systems through basic and applied research.
Defines future development activity and possible technology transfer of solutions, products, principles or technology.
Undertakes creative work, making systematic use of investigation or experimentation, to discover or revise knowledge of reality, and uses this knowledge to devise new applications and solutions.
Understands the nature of system problems; leads anomaly resolution teams through root cause analysis, solution options, and the trade space to evaluate the efficacy of those options; and may lead customers and stakeholders through this process.
Evaluates, tests, and analyzes system functionality and subsystem contribution to system function.
Interfaces with the system customer and those responsible for developing, testing, and implementing the system and its elements.
Works with the various subsystem teams to verify complex requirements, often from a combination of analysis and simulated environmental testing.
Uses physical and computational simulation, analysis, and evaluation as inherent activities of verification.
May use statistical knowledge to understand production feasibility, capabilities, or processes to be applied to the solution space.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

Advanced technical degree or significant equivalent experience.
Multidisciplinary technical knowledge and competencies appropriate to the position.
Ability to perform the integrated technical analyses that underpin the development of a realizable system concept.
Ability to synthesize operational concepts for experimental or exploratory systems to innovate and deliver solutions to customers in mission areas not fully defined or understood.
Thorough knowledge of and applied experience with scientific and engineering methods and with the discipline's standards for the ethical conduct of research.
Thorough knowledge of and experience with scoping, designing, planning, and executing research, design, and development projects.
Demonstrated knowledge of and experience with implementing policies affecting research, design, and development activities, projects, or initiatives.
Demonstrated ability to engage customers and stakeholders in the synthesis of significant systems experiments and to team across disciplines.


-- Advanced degree (MS or PhD) in an engineering or science field with at least three (3) years direct experience performing systems engineering for projects of significant size and impact.

-- Bachelor's cumulative GPA should be 3.2/4.0 or higher. Master's cumulative GPA should be 3.5/4.0 or higher. All GPA's should be included on resume.

-- Experience will be required in the generation of system requirements, top-level functional designs with requirements flow-down, interface definitions, verification and validation activities and production of project documentation.

-- Excellent teaming, influencing and communication skills are required in order to interact with the GPS/NDS community and multiple associated project teams.

-- The candidate must have the ability to prioritize and balance competing activities, and be comfortable working with varying degrees of ambiguity.

-- This job will require working in a close-knit team environment as well as working with and interfacing to related projects with different priorities and customers.

-- Ability to obtain and maintain a required US DOE security Q-clearance.

-- Some travel may be required.


-- Systems Engineering degree.

-- Several years of experience on large multi-organizational projects, with a particular emphasis on the satellite business being most desirable. Project management experience is a plus.

-- Experience with both military payload development projects and research and development payloads is valuable, as is experience in product realization (development to production or demonstration).

-- Active DOE Q Clearance.

Security Clearance

Position requires a Department of Energy (DOE)-granted Q-level security clearance.

Sandia is required by DOE directive to conduct a pre-employment background review that includes personal reference checks, law enforcement record and credit checks, and employment and education verifications. Applicants for employment must be able to obtain and maintain a DOE Q-level security clearance, which requires U.S. citizenship.

Applicants offered employment with Sandia are subject to a federal background investigation to meet the requirements for access to classified information or matter if the duties of the position require a DOE security clearance. Substance abuse or illegal drug use, falsification of information, criminal activity, serious misconduct or other indicators of untrustworthiness can cause a clearance to be denied or terminated by the DOE, rendering the inability to perform the duties assigned and resulting in termination of employment.


At Sandia you will receive many benefits as a valued employee of a premier national multi-program engineering and science research laboratory. In our Total Rewards package you will enjoy competitive pay, great benefits, a stimulating, positive environment and learning opportunities that will help build your career. More information may be found on our Careers website.

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