16. July 2018 - Science and Technology Facilities Council
Post-doctoral Research Associate in neutron scattering software development
Post-doctoral Research Associate in neutron scattering software development
16. July 2018 - Science and Technology Facilities Council
Post-doctoral Research Associate in neutron scattering software development
Post-doctoral Research Associate in neutron scattering software development
Science and Technology Facilities Council

Didcot, UK


The Excitations Group is seeking to appoint a scientist with both neutron scattering experience and experience of writing data analysis programs, to join a major project to improve and accelerate the analysis software in the Group. The project, christened PACE (Proper Analysis of Coherent Excitations), involves implementing analysis and modelling codes on distributed computing, and both simplifying and improving workflows by creating interfaces between experimental data, analysis and modelling codes. The project involves the programming effort of scientists from within the Excitations Group and from the Scientific Computing Department at STFC.

Description of Institution

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 Excitations & Polarised Neutron Group at ISIS operates four world-class inelastic neutron spectrometers for investigations of the dynamics of materials covering timescales from the femto-second to the nano-second range. Materials studied include quantum and low-dimensional magnetic materials, unconventional superconductors, molecular magnets, and thermoelectrics. The instrumentation is backed up by leading data analysis software.

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 www.ukri.org.

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.

Job description

You will join the Excitations Group as part of the PACE team to develop and experimentally verify models for the instrumental resolution functions and to develop algorithms for convoluting the resolution function with third party models for the scattering function of magnetic and lattice dynamics. You will participate in neutron experiments and perform data analysis. There will be the opportunity to conduct an independent scientific programme that utilises the large-scale computing methods to analyse neutron scattering data as part of the prototyping work for the project.

The duties of the position

  • to extend the current resolution function models to account for the latest instrumentation and upgrades to instrumentation
  • develop and implement new methods to convolute the resolution function with existing modelling codes and verify against experimental data
  • to work with software engineers in the PACE team to integrate the algorithms into the parallel and distributed computing framework to be developed as part of PACE
  • participate in neutron spectroscopy experiments and analyse the data from spectroscopy experiments that will help develop the aforementioned models and methods
  • conduct an active research programme in neutron spectroscopy.

Contacts and Communication

This post is within the Excitations and Polarized Neutron Group, led by Dr Russell Ewings – the post holder will report directly to ProfToby Perring, who is responsible for the PACE project. You will work closely with other members of the Group and with the STFC Scientific Computing Department.

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.

Requested Profile

Shortlisting Criteria


  • educated to PhD level (or equivalent) in one of the physical sciences (chemistry, physics, material science, earth science, etc.)
  • research experience in either lattice dynamics, magnetic dynamics, phase transitions, crystallography, molecular spectroscopy or disordered materials
  • skill in programming in either Matlab or Python
  • post-doctoral experience in a relevant research environment (extensive for Band E level) – or early stage (recent PhD completion) researchers considered (Band D level)
  • ability to work both as part of a team and with a high degree of autonomy
  • excellent written communication skills.


  • skill in programming in languages other than Python and/or Matlab
  • experience of writing data analysis software (extensive for Band E level, some experience for Band D)
  • good publication record
  • good organisational and project management skills.

Interview Criteria


  • experience of neutron or x-ray scattering experiments (several years relevant postdoctoral experience for Band E level, recent PhD for Band D level)
  • good problem solving abilities
  • excellent oral, presentational and interpersonal communication skills
  • high degree of responsibility, commitment and reliability.

Special Requirements

  • there may be a requirement to work out-of-hours and at weekends
  • ability and willingness to work in a radiation area and with radioactive materials
  • the post requires you to climb/descend ladders and access confined or awkward spaces
  • ability to travel within the UK and occasionally overseas (mainly Europe).


  • experience in elastic neutron scattering (extensive, including time-of-flight methods, for Band E level; some for band D level)
  • experience of or willingness to learn, the use of McStas to simulate neutron instruments
  • experience of modern software craftsmanship practices (version control, unit and system testing, automatic documentation generation etc.) (extensive well-evidenced experience for Band E level or experience and knowledge of best-practice for Band D level)
  • ability and drive to pursue an independent research programme.

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.

How to Apply

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

The closing date for applications is 23rd July 2018. The interview/assessment date for this vacancy will be 13th -17th August 2018.

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 IRC reference number IRC245333 when calling.

23. July 2018
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