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Instrument Scientist – Imaging and Diffraction

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Harwell, UK
£39,748 to £44,166 per annum (dependent on skills and experience).
Closing date
19 Mar 2023

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Job Details

Instrument Scientist – Imaging and Diffraction

Salary: £39,748 to £44,166 per annum (dependent on skills and experience). 
Allowance: A specialist allowance will also be available for this role.
Hours: Full time 
Contract Type: Open Ended.
Location: Science and Technology Facilities Council, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Harwell, Oxfordshire OR Science and Technology Facilities Council, Daresbury Laboratory, Warrington OR Science and Technology Facilities Council, UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh OR Polaris House, Swindon, Wiltshire

Together our scientist, technologists, engineers, and business support team explore the unknown and turn what they find into work that changes the world around us. Whether it’s sending probes into space or finding new ways to treat cancer, everyone here plays a vital role in making a positive difference to society. Come and discover how much you can achieve when you’re surrounded by world-leading experts, encouraged to constantly learn; and empowered to explore your curiosity.

The role

As an instrument scientist, you will conduct independent research in an imaging/diffraction related field and support/collaborate with research groups who visit IMAT – imaging and diffraction beamline. You will develop expertise in imaging/diffraction based neutron techniques and help support a thriving user community of researchers. You will be given the opportunity to advance the technical aspects of the IMAT instrument and develop hardware, software and techniques. You will be strongly encouraged and supported to carry out your own independent research programme in any related scientific field in the life or physical sciences (e.g. materials science, engineering, battery research, biology, earth science etc.) using neutron imaging and/or diffraction.

Broadly, the three main aspects of this role are (1) independent scientific research, (2) instrument operation and user support and (3) instrumentation and technique development. There is a degree of flexibility in the proportion of the above three, depending on your skills and interests.


  • Support the user program on IMAT: provide support for users from universities and industry.
  • Pursue independent scientific research using neutron imaging and/or diffraction.
  • Contribute to the development of new capabilities on IMAT and other instruments in the group, including new instrumentation, sample environment facilities and data analysis techniques.
  • Seek funding, internally and externally for the instrument and other equipment upgrades.
  • Actively work on increasing the user base by raising awareness of neutron capabilities in the scientific and industrial communities.
  • Provide supervision for students and junior team members.
  • Conduct and disseminate research via publications and conference presentations.
  • Conduct tours and other outreach activities for visiting scientists and visiting members of the public.

Essential Criteria:

  • Ph.D. or equivalent degree in a physical science, life science, engineering or related discipline, plus some relevant postdoctoral experience
  • Excellent scientific background in his/her relevant discipline 
  • Recognized international profile in imaging, diffraction and/or other neutron/x-ray techniques (publication record) 
  • Noticeable potential of an independent scientific profile in a related area of physical or life sciences.
  • User experience of working on beamlines at large scale facilities 
  • In-depth knowledge of and experience with neutron or x-ray imaging 
  • In-depth knowledge of neutron or x-ray image analysis using existing packages for reconstruction, segmentation, image analysis or Bragg edge analysis


  • Research interest in a field of physical or life sciences which has direct relevance to neutron imaging/diffraction
  • Work experience at a large scale user facility
  • Proficiency in modern programming languages. e.g. Python
  • Direct hands on experience of independently operating a neutron or synchrotron instrument
  • Experience working with complex data analysis and working with large data sets
  • Experience with neutron instrumentation simulation (e.g. McStas ray tracing package) or knowledge of neutron beamline components
  • Good awareness of and engagement with the UK and international neutron user community

We ask some of the biggest questions in the universe, to answer some of the biggest challenges in the world. Whatever our role, we have the freedom to explore, learn and connect, as part of a community that loves to share knowledge and support one another. As one of Europe’s largest research organisations, this is a place where there’s always something new to learn –about the world around us, about your career, but most of all, about yourself. Join us and discover what’s possible.

Closing Date: Sunday 19th March 2023



STFC imageAt the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), research is driven by practical applications and a curiosity to create a world-leading hub of scientific and engineering excellence. Our science and facilities enable researchers to answer fundamental questions about the nature of the universe. Success typically requires long-term strategic investment, international collaboration on a global scale and the capability to push the limits of technology and engineering. To remain internationally competitive in our areas of science and to keep our facilities at the leading edge, we have to develop bespoke technology that cannot be reliably sourced on the open market, for example in detectors and instrumentation, accelerators, specialist engineering, optics and e-infrastructure. These technologies are often also applied to address broader societal and industrial challenges and we actively promote their translation and commercialization.

Why work for us
When you join STFC, you become a key part of one of Europe’s largest research organizations. We are trusted to support, enable, and undertake cutting-edge projects in an amazing diversity of fields that you could be a part of. With access to our world-class facilities, people like you are helping us to drive ground-breaking advances in science, engineering, computing and technology.

  • The Particle Physics Department (PPD) is one of the largest particle physics groups in the UK. We design, construct and operate some of the most sensitive scientific instruments in the world, collaborating with partners in academia, industry and international laboratories such as CERN. We currently work with the ATLAS, CMS, LHCb, DUNE, Hyper-K, T2K, MICE, Lux-Zeplin, DEAP-3600, CERN RD50, Electron Ion Collider and AION collaborations.
  • The National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) is a £93m UKRI investment over five years based at the Harwell Campus. This is a strategic element within the overall £1bn, 10-year investment into quantum technologies made by the UK since 2014.

Our benefits

  • 30 days annual leave plus 10.5 public and privilege days.
  • Flexible or hybrid working may be available dependent on role.
  • Defined benefit pension scheme (employer contribution – currently up to 26%).
  • Sport and social groups across campus with access to an on-site gym.

For more information on all of our employee benefits, visit

Who we are looking for
The UK has a world-class research and innovation system. Our expertise spans all fields of knowledge, from the discovery of penicillin and monoclonal antibodies, to the jet engine and the World Wide Web. Therefore it is vital for us to have the best people at all levels throughout UKRI. We want to continue to attract a mix of talented professionals, scientists and engineers.


Number of employees
STFC has 2594 staff members across the UK and UKRI has approx. 8000

Main areas of research
Our work encompasses everything from the physical, biological and social
sciences, to innovation, engineering, medicine, the environment, as well as arts and the humanities

Positions recently recruited for
Electronic engineers, data scientists, research associates CMS/DUNE, research associate on electron ion collider (EiC), ion trap physicists

Desired degree disciplines/class
A STEM degree

How to apply
Apply online at 

Closing date
All year round

Quantum physics and computing vacancies: E-mail
Particle physics vacancies: E-mail

Find Us
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
OX11 0QX
United Kingdom

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