Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC249479
Location Didcot See on Map
Salary £30782 - £46576
Date Posted 29 May 2019
Grade UKRI-Band D
Contract Type Fixed Term Appointment
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 30 June 2019
Interview Date

Brief Description

Salary: £30,782 - £46,576 (dependent on skills and experience and inclusive of maximum annual role-based allowance)
Grade: RC-D or RC-E
Dependent on skills and experience relevant to the role appointment will be made at band D or E
Contract Type: Fixed Term (3 years)
Hours: Full Time or Part Time (minimum 28 hours per week)
Closing Date: The closing date for applications is 30th June 2019, however applications will be reviewed and interviewed on an ongoing basis until this vacancy is filled. 


ISIS is a world leading facility for condensed matter research using neutron scattering and muon spectroscopy, with a strong scientific user programme and extensive international links. It supports a national and international community of more than 2000 scientists for research into subjects ranging from fundamental physics and chemistry investigations, through materials science to soft matter, biology and materials engineering.

The ISIS Excitations Group operates four world-class neutron instruments at ISIS which are used to study numerous classes of materials, including superconductors, quantum and low dimensional magnets, thermoelectrics and other functional materials. It has just started a major software project to enable a step change the rapidity and quality of the data analysis of the experiments performed on the instruments in the Group. The project, christened PACE (Proper Analysis of Coherent Excitations), aims to provide an integrated visualisation, simulation and fitting environment on parallel and distributed computing, and which will interface to materials modelling codes. The goals are to allow Scientists using the instruments to perform virtual experiments before and during experiments, and to enable quantitative analysis and interpretation of the full datasets – up to 0.5 terabytes each – with proper account of the instrument resolution functions.

The position

The Group is seeking to employ two Research Software Engineers or Scientists with a strong programming background, to join the PACE development team and to work with members of the ISIS Excitations Group to implement PACE. This post is for a developer of scientific software for parallel and/or distributed computing environments to participate in the creation of the PACE data analysis framework, and to take particular responsibility for writing interfaces to third party materials modelling codes. This will include writing algorithms to calculate neutron scattering cross-sections from the output of those modelling codes.

The position would suit a Computational Scientist, an Experimental Scientist with parallel programming experience, or a Research Software Engineer with a strong technical or scientific background. The role offers the appointee an exciting opportunity to work in a high level research environment, with the chance to learn from and work together with Scientists, Researchers and Software Developers with a variety of backgrounds and skills.

List of Duties/Work Programme/Responsibilities

The duties of the position:

  • input to the design of PACE,with particular responsibility for the interface with third party modelling codes
  • implementation of the data analysis framework together with the other PACE developers
  • development of a generic API to third part modelling codes, in particular CASTEP (atomic vibrations) and SpinW (magnetic excitations), and other codes in response to the scientific needs of the instruments
  • development of parallel and distributed computing algorithms to compute neutron scattering cross-sections
  • integration of the operation of third party modelling codes into PACE
  • agile development of the first release of PACE in response to feedback from instrument scientists and users during the extended beta release period.

Contacts and Communication

This post is within the Computational Science and Engineering Division of the STFC Scientific Computing Department, on a project funded by the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source at STFC. The project is being led by Prof Toby Perring at ISIS who is responsible for PACE achieving its scientific objectives.

You will be working closely with Prof. Perring and other members of the ISIS Excitations Group who have programming and/or modelling experience. In addition, the project will involve interactions with other divisions in the Scientific Computing Department, in particular the Ada Lovelace Division and the Systems Division, which maintains the data systems and high performance computing that PACE will use.

Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. More information can be found at

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation, and our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world.

Shortlisting Criteria


  • master’s degree or PhD (or equivalent experience) in one of the physical sciences (chemistry, physics, material science, earth science, etc.) or equivalent experience
  • experience of parallel programming in C++ for shared memory (e.g. OpenMP) and/or distributed computing(e.g. MPI) architectures for scientific software development (extensive well-evidenced experience for Band E level, some experience for Band D)
  • skill in programming in either Matlab or Python (extensive for Band E level, some experience for Band D)
  • experience of using and writing scientific code in a technical or research environment (essential for Band E, desirable for Band D)
  • excellent written communication skills.


  • experience working in large software projects
  • experience using up-to-date development practices (version control, unit and system testing etc.) (extensive well-evidenced experience for Band E level; experience and knowledge of best-practice for Band D level)
  • experience working with neutron or x-ray scattering techniques.

Interview Criteria


  • good problem solving abilities
  • enthusiasm to write user-oriented scientific data analysis applications
  • ability to work both as part of a team, and with a high degree of autonomy
  • excellent oral, presentational and interpersonal communication skills
  • a high degree of responsibility, commitment and reliability.


  • good organisational skills.

For more details about the PACE project, please visit the web page , or contact Professor Toby Perring (, +44 (0)1235 445428,

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.

To enable us to hire the very best people we will conduct a full and comprehensive background and pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process.

UKRI supports research in areas that include animal health, agriculture and food security, and bioscience for health which includes research on animals, genetic modification and stem cell research. Whilst you may not have direct involvement in this type of research, you should consider whether this conflicts with your personal values or beliefs.

To enable us to hire the very best people we will conduct a full and comprehensive pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process on all individuals that are offered a position with UKRI. This will include a security check and an extreme organisations affiliation check.
Limited parking subject to waiting list (Polaris House, Swindon only)

Employee Benefits
UK Research and Innovation recognises and values employees as individuals and aim to provide a pay and rewards package that motivates staff to perform to the best of their ability. The reward package includes a flexible working scheme, a Career Average Revalued Earnings pension scheme, 30 days annual leave allowance and a number of other benefits.

Developing Talent
We are committed to developing employees in their roles throughout their career. Learning and development plans enable employees to continue their professional development through training and development opportunities such as e-learning, classroom training and on-the-job experiences. We encourage our employees to share their learning across teams and organisations

Equal Opportunities
We strive to make decisions based on individual merit and ability. We welcome applications from all sections of the community and promote equality of opportunity in accordance with the Equality Act 2010. As holders of Disability Confident Employer status, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.

Online applications only, please submit a covering letter and CV, ensuring that the IRC reference is included in the file name description of each document uploaded. No Agencies.

The closing date for applications is 30th June 2019. Early applications may be considered. The interview/assessment date for this vacancy is to be confirmed and will be held at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

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