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Section Head Mechanical Engineering

SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research

SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research

Other Engineering
Leiden, Netherlands
Posted on Thursday, December 21, 2023

Are you our new colleague?

Do you feel at home in a high-tech environment? An environment that’s diverse and inclusive, where new instruments for scientific research from space are developed and built? Then you are the colleague we are looking for!

It is the mission of SRON to bring about breakthroughs in international space research. Therefore, the institute develops pioneering technology and advanced space instruments, and uses them to pursue Earth science, astrophysical and exoplanetary research. The instruments which SRON develops for satellites of ESA, NASA and JAXA require world leading (opto)mechanical systems, which are often very complex cryogenic mechanisms with the highest requirements on reliability.

You and SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research

SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research is hiring a

Section Head Mechanical Engineering

You will be part of the Engineering Group. The EG realizes the mechanical, electronic and software designs and is responsible for the realization, integration and testing of the prototypes and instruments for space research. All your colleagues have very different background and nationality but are equally passionate for engineering, technology, space research and challenges which require innovative solutions.

Your position and team

This is a very attractive job in the sense that you will become a manager of a department that can handle, and is involved in, the full range in mechanical engineering: from analysis, to designing, to manufacturing, to assembly, testing and even integration on the satellite.

Your team consists of highly skilled people: 12 mechanical design engineers and 7 mechanical technicians, and is involved in all missions of SRON, from start to finish.

The Engineering Group and this section are both located in Leiden and in Groningen. This vacancy is for the location Leiden, but you need to be at the Groningen location frequently. This needed to be fully informed on, and involved in, what is happening in both locations to be able to carry the responsibility for the whole section.

A section head:

  • manages the section and executes the HR, QSHE and Finance & Control policies.
  • has a significant impact on the policy within the Engineering Group (EG).
  • advises project managers with respect to staffing and the engineering aspects of the project plans, and has in the end the responsibility to decide which people will be available on which projects.
  • gives direction to the technical aspects of the strategy of the section, based on the SRON strategy, project portfolio and trends in the field of mechanical engineering. Translates this into development plans and potentially collaboration projects for the section.
  • is responsible for development and coaching of the people in the section and creates opportunities for developments of the talents for the people in the section.
  • deals with the day-to-day dynamics of the mechanical realization in our workshop and cleanroom.

Position requirements

From technical skill perspective, we would like to see:

  • You have a bachelor or masters in (precision) mechanical engineering and at least 5 years in a position in which you led a team of more than 5 persons.
  • Speaking both English and Dutch fluently.
  • Team leader with affinity for hardware, space and/or science.
  • In-depth knowledge of mechanical design or realization, and affinity with the other disciplines.
  • In-depth knowledge of cryogenics is a huge advantage.
  • You have sound knowledge of manufacturing processes and the mechanical design process.
  • You are familiar with CAD and CAM software.

Last but not least, we would like to see the following personal characteristics:

  • Capable communicator, who easily connects to people.
  • Likes to work with people, coach them and help them to develop their talents.
  • Has experience in stakeholder management.
  • Organizational sensitivity is a strong advantage.
  • Proficient working with teams.

What we offer

Employment of this fulltime position is by NWO-I (the Institutes organization of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). You will start with a temporary contract for 2 years, with the intention of a permanent contract in the future. The salary will be in accordance with the salary scales of NWO-I, scale 12 and dependent on your experience.

NWO-I has good secondary employment conditions such as:

  • 42 days of vacation leave a year on full-time basis.
  • An excellent pension scheme.
  • Options for (additional) personal development.
  • Excellent facilities for parental leave.


You will be working on groundbreaking instruments in a closely collaborating team of engineers and scientists. The technology, project and processes are challenging. SRON offers all opportunities for personal development.

About SRON

SRON is the Netherlands Institute for Space Research. Based at locations in Leiden and Groningen, SRON combines fundamental scientific research, technology innovation, and instrumentation development to enable breakthroughs in astrophysics, exoplanet research, and earth atmospheric research from space. In partnership with leading international partners and space agencies such as ESA, NASA and JAXA, SRON provides scientific and technological contributions to international space missions as well as expertise and support to the Dutch and international scientific communities.

SRON is the national base for the Netherlands participation in the ESA science program. On the national level, it works in close collaboration with the Dutch universities, other NWO institutes, and governmental agencies to pursue a cohesive agenda for space-based research.

For more information, please contact

More information about SRON can be found at For further information about the position, please contact ir. M. Oldenburg, Head of Engineering at +31-(0)88 777 5708.

We look forward to receiving your application via our website:

The position will remain open until filled.


The vacancy is based at SRON Leiden.

  • Online screening may be part of the selection procedure.
  • Assessment will be part of the selection procedure.
  • Women and minority groups are encouraged to respond.

Recruitment consultants, please put down the phone. We’ll do the recruitment ourselves so unsolicited acquisition to this vacancy is not appreciated.