Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC241825
Location Didcot See on Map
Salary £30056 - £32670
Date Posted 19 July 2017
Grade RC-D
Contract Type Fixed Term Appointment
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 01 October 2017
Interview Date

Salary: £30,056 - £32,670 
Grade: D
Contract Type: Fixed Term (3 years)
Hours: Full Time
Closing Date: 1st October 2017
Interview Date: TBC


The aim of this research project is to facilitate the interpretation and understanding of inelastic and quasielastic neutron scattering data by developing a new computer modelling method to model the dynamic structure factor, S(q,omega).

The project is a collaboration between Chalmers University, the European Spallation Source, ISIS Facility and the Niels Bohr Institute. The work will mostly be performed at the ISIS facility, where the position will be based.

In this project S(q,omega) will be calculated using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations while the interatomic potentials will be changed until a quantitative agreement is obtained between the modelled and measured scattering function. The method can be seen as a dynamical correspondence to the Empirical Potential Structure Refinement (EPSR) method used to produce structural models of materials in quantitative agreement with neutron and x-ray diffraction data. It is foreseen that our approach will have similar impact on understanding dynamics as EPSR has on structure. Thus, ESS, ISIS and the user community will benefit enormously from the development of the proposed method.

Further, it will be possible to obtain a considerably deeper understanding of how molecular motions affect the macroscopic properties of a material. Thereby, it will be possible to gain invaluable insight in improving new materials in the areas of chemistry, biology, life science and medicine. Moreover, not only the users of neutron spectroscopy will take advantage of the method, but also the computer simulation community will get a unique possibility to refine model potentials by using this approach.

ISIS is a world leading facility for condensed matter research using neutron scattering and muon spectroscopy, with a strong scientific user program and extensive international links. ISIS currently operates 30 instruments and, following an additional £21m investment, is currently in the process of building 4 new instruments.

ISIS has a strong record of delivering successful neutron scattering software and this is an opportunity to join an international project with significant scope to lead areas of work.

List of Duties/Work Programme/Responsibilities

You will initially focus on developing a new modelling tool; where the you will be working with experienced software professionals. Soon after the first version of the software package is completed, you will participate in neutron scattering experiments to validate the model against measured data. This step will allow further refinement of the software package. You will also be responsible for documenting the software and writing scientific articles about the developed modelling tool.

Contacts and Communication

You will be part of the team developing and supporting scientific software. Therefore, as part of your work you will interact frequently with the ISIS scientists and will also be supported by the partners at Chalmers University, the European Spallation Source the Niels Bohr Institute. The post will reside within the Scientific Computing section of the ISIS Computing Group.

Personal Skills and Attributes

You will have a PhD in physics or physics related field, or due for completion within 3-6 months or relevant experience, as well as excellent language skills in English are required. Specific qualifications are of particular importance for the project. You will have a professional approach, an analytical, logical and quick learning mind, a ‘can do’ attitude and be able to communicate clearly and effectively with fellow developers and scientists alike.

Shortlisting Criteria



  • a PhD in physics, or an appropriate field such as computational chemistry, or due for completion within 3-6 months or relevant experience.

Knowledge and Experience


  • experience in developing software in a scientific environment
  • experience of software development in Python
  • experience of object oriented programming techniques
  • excellent English language skills.


  • experience of performing MD simulations
  • experience of development in C++
  • knowledge of neutron scattering theory
  • knowledge of Fortran.

Interview Criteria

Above Shortlisting Criteria plus:

Personal Skills/Qualities


  • analytical and logical ability and experience in delivering software
  • fast learner, able to understand complex problems
  • excellent oral and written skills, both formal and informal
  • able to work in a large distributed team and interdisciplinary environment
  • friendly, helpful manner
  • proven problem solving ability.

Special Requirements


  • as this is an international collaborative project the role will include UK and overseas travel.
In addition to the competitive salary, an excellent index linked pension scheme and generous leave allowance are offered. Full details of offered benefits can be found on STFC’s careers pages.

Online applications only, please submit a covering letter and CV. No Agencies.

The closing date for applications is 1st October 2017. Interviews will take place on a date which is to be confirmed and will be held at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Didcot.

We want to make our application process as easy for you as we possibly can. If you experience any problems in applying for this job, or have any feedback for us about the application process, please contact our Recruitment Hotline on 01793 867000 (8.30am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday). Please quote the appropriate IRC reference number when calling.