Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC254058
Location Didcot See on Map
Salary £30782 - £42576
Date Posted 12 June 2020
Grade RC-E
Contract Type Open Ended
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 19 July 2020
Interview Date

Brief Description

Salary: £ 30,782 – £ 36,459(Band D) or £ 38,318 - £ 46,576(Band E) Pro-rata for part-time (dependent on skills and experience and inclusive of annual role-based allowance)
Band: D or E
Contract Type: Open-Ended
Hours: Full time or Part time (minimum 28 hours per week)
Closing Date: 19th July 2020


ISIS is a world leading facility for research using neutron scattering and muon spectroscopy, with a strong scientific user program and extensive international links. It supports a national and international community of more than 3000 scientists for research into subjects ranging from fundamental physics and chemistry, through materials science to soft matter, biology and materials engineering.

The diverse fields of research necessitate a wide variety of data analysis software. There is an urgent need to modernise many of these software packages, and particularly to add distributed computing capabilities to them, in order to handle the ever-increasing data volumes collected from the ISIS instruments. The ISIS Scientific Software Group is forming a team of research software scientists/engineers for this purpose, with one position whose immediate focus is to improve two software packages for the analysis of magnetic neutron scattering data, SpinW and McPhase, in collaboration with the ISIS Excitations Group. Beyond this need, we envision that the work will expand in future into the development of new software to exploit advances in instrumentation.

The ISIS Scientific Software Group is responsible for ensuring that data reduction and data analysis facilities meets the needs of in-house and visiting scientists. 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.

The position

The Groups are seeking to employ a Research Software Engineer or Scientist with a strong programming background, to join the Scientific Software Group to work on a project to develop two scientific software packages, SpinW and McPhase, for the analysis of magnetic neutron spectra. This post is for a C++ developer of scientific software for parallel and/or distributed computing environments to add these functionalities to the named software packages. The project is for two years, and thereafter the position will continue within the Scientific Software Group to maintain the completed software and to develop/modernize other data analysis software on the same model as the work on SpinW/McPhase.

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.


The duties of the position:

  • Develop the SpinW framework for parallelized (multiprocess) applications. This will involve the use of MPI.
  • Coordinate the refactoring effort of the McPhase package to use modern C++, with MPI parallelization.
  • Ensure the produced code adheres to professional software development standards.
  • Provide user support to the authored software after its completion.
  • Work with others in the scientific software group on future data analysis software packages as needed after completion of the SpinW/McPhase project
  • Collaborate on other software projects within the department.

You will be considered for the higher grade will also have significant experience from working on many relevant projects and likely have been the technical lead in the success of a project.

For those working at the higher band, the duties also include:

  • Consult with the PACE project to develop a strategy for the integration of SpinW and PACE.
  • Champion software development best practice to ensure the maintainability of the SpinW and McPhase packages. Mentor more junior developers as appropriate.
  • Plan and lead continued maintenance effort post delivery.
  • Take significant leadership of new analysis projects within the department beyond the end of the SpinW/McPhase projects.

Contacts and Communication

This post is within the ISIS Computing Division (Scientific Software Group) of the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source at STFC, on a project funded by the Ada Lovelace Centre. The project is being led by Dr Duc Le at ISIS who is the project manager.

You will be working closely with Dr. Le. In addition, the project will involve interactions with other members of the Scientific Software Group.

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 (S), Interview Criteria (I) or both (S&I)


You should have as a minimum:

  • Degree or equivalent experience in computer science, software engineering, or one of the physical sciences with a strong emphasis on software development. (S)
  • Experience in parallel programming in C++ for distributed computing (MPI) architectures (S&I)
  • Experience of developing scientific software or software with similar challenges (S&I)
  • Experience of using code repositories and issue tracking systems (S&I)
  • Experience of unit and system testing (S&I)
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English (S&I)
  • Ability to work as part of a team (S&I)
  • Ability to take initiative and proactive attitude to problem solving with an analytical and logical approach. (I)

Essential for the higher band (E):

To be considered for the higher grade you will meet all of the above essential criteria and will also have:

  • Experience of leading the software development process using modern agile techniques (e.g. SCRUM, Feature Driven Development etc.) (I)
  • Experience in automated testing and/or continuous integration tools using Jenkins, Hudson or similar (I)
  • Ability to keep stakeholders aligned with a project’s aims, agreeing requirements and project managing small projects to completion (I)
  • Significant technical experience from working on many relevant projects and likely have been the technical lead in the success of a project. (I)


To be considered for either band you will also have some or all of the following:

Master’s degree or PhD in one of the physical sciences, or equivalent experience (S)

  • Experience of programming in Matlab and/or Python (S&I)
  • Experience of developing user-oriented scientific data analysis applications (S&I)
  • Experience of using and writing scientific code in a technical or research environment (S&I)
  • Experience working in large software projects (S&I)
  • Knowledge and/or experience in agile software development. (S&I)

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.

Employee Benefits

UK Research and Innovation recognises and values employees as individuals and aims to provide a pay and reward package that motivates staff to the best of their ability. The reward and benefit package includes a flexible working scheme, an excellent Defined Benefit 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 filename description of each document uploaded. Please note that failure to address the above criteria or submitted without a covering letter may result in your application not being considered.

If you would like to receive this advert in an alternative format (e.g. large print, Braille, audio or hard copy), are unable to apply online or do not wish to create an account but would still like to apply for a specific role, please contact us by telephone on 01793 867000.

If you have not already logged into iRecruitment (including as a current employee) you will be re-directed to the login/register page by clicking the "apply now" button. If you don't have an account with us, by choosing to register you consent to UK SBS processing the information you provide as part of the Recruitment Service. You can select appropriate job alerts and notifications as part of your account preferences, and you are able to close your account (withdraw consent) should you wish to do so. Before starting your online application and inputting your personal details, please read our Privacy Notice which contains full details of how your information is processed once you have made an application.