Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC246740
Location Didcot See on Map
Salary £30357 - £45988
Date Posted 14 September 2018
Grade UKRI-Band D
Contract Type Fixed Term Appointment
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 14 October 2018
Interview Date

Brief Description

Salary: £30,357 - £45,988 (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: 14th October 2018


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.

A major project to improve and accelerate the analysis software has been funded in the ISIS Excitations Group, which operates four world-class neutron instruments at ISIS. 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. PACE consists of three distinct sub-projects: (1) the data analysis framework, which will provide multi-dimensional data objects specific for neutron spectroscopy and manipulation of those objects; (2) the development of APIs to various third party modelling codes to simulate the outcome of experiments and (3) the development of algorithms to convolute simulations with instrument resolution functions and optimise parameters of the models to best fit experimental data.

The ISIS Excitations Group and STFC Scientific Computing Department are seeking to employ three software engineers to implement PACE. This post is for a developer of scientific software for parallel and distributed computing environments, with particular responsibility for writing APIs to third party modelling codes, including writing algorithms to calculate neutron scattering cross-sections from the output of those codes.

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 parallel and distributed computing algorithms to compute neutron scattering cross-sections from lattice vibrations
  • development of a generic API to third part modelling codes, in particular CASTEP (atomic vibrations) and SpinW (magnetic excitations) and other codes as required by the scientific needs of the Excitations Group
  • integration of the operation of third party modelling codes into PACE
  • agile development of the first release of PACE in response to feedback from ISIS 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 part of the software engineering team in the Scientific Computing Department working on PACE and will work closely with Prof. Perring and other members of the ISIS Excitations Group who have programming/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 HPC 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) 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 modelling code in a technical or research environment (Essential for Band E, desirable for Band D)
  • excellent written communication skills.


  • research experience with neutron or x-ray scattering techniques, in either lattice dynamics, magnetic dynamics, phase transitions, crystallography, molecular spectroscopy, or disordered materials
  • skill in programming in languages in both Matlab and Python
  • experience of writing data analysis software for use by others (extensive for Band E level, some experience for Band D).

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.


  • experience of up-to-date software development practices (version control, unit and system testing, automatic documentation generation etc.) (extensive well-evidenced experience for Band E level; experience and knowledge of best-practice for Band D level)
  • good organisational and project management skills.

For more details about the PACE project, please 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.

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 14th October 2018. The interview/assessment date for this vacancy is to be confirmed and will be held at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

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.

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