Recruiting for UKRI and UK SBS

Cosmic Ray Effects on Electronics Physicist/Engineer Industrial Placement - STFC

Early Careers
210000VJ Requisition #

Science and Technology Facilities Council

ISIS is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford. Our suite of neutron and muon instruments gives unique insights into the properties of materials on the atomic scale. We support a national and international community of more than 3000 scientists for research into subjects ranging from clean energy and the environment, pharmaceuticals and health care, through to nanotechnology and materials engineering, catalysis and polymers, and on to fundamental studies of materials.  

ChipIR is a state-of-the-art instrument in ISIS, and one of the world’s best accelerated-testing facilities for the effects of radiation on electronics, known as Single Event Effects (SEEs). SEEs occur when radiation causes destructive and non-destructive errors in electronic equipment, and are of increasing importance with the growing incorporation of electronics in critical-end uses. ChipIr provides a radiation environment that mimics fast “atmospheric” neutrons, for the testing of chips used in different avionics, space and ground applications. In a very short time, the ChipIr instrument has already developed a strong commercial and industrial user base across the electronics and avionics sector alongside a vibrant academic user community! 

The novel NILE instrument consists of two compact accelerators producing neutrons: one 14 MeV from Deuterium-Tritium (DT) and one 2.45 MeV from Deuterium-Deuterium (DD). In both machines, deuterons are accelerated on a target (containing Tritium or Deuterium respectively) and neutrons are produced by the fusion reactions (D + T → n + α, D + D → n + 3He) . NILE is the latest addition to the ISIS instruments for the testing of single-event effects on electronics. The two generators will also contribute to the study of novel solid-state detectors, electronics such as SRAMs and AI systems, and to the research of detectors seeking to observe dark matter. 

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities 

An industrial placement opportunity exists to join the group running the ChipIr and NILE instruments in evaluating the characteristics of the NILE instrument sources, using different detection techniques, and in determining the best detection technique for each instrument. 

Neutrons of high energies (> 10 MeV) are the source of disruption and reliability problems in modern electronic devices, particularly in highly advanced technologies. The successful candidate will identify the effects of neutron irradiation on electronic technologies that are being increasingly used in safety critical applications, such as for automating vehicles and for the aerospace market. These technologies include SRAM memories, and potentially machine learning and AI systems. Neural networks are of particular interest: thanks to the intrinsic approximate nature of neural-network computation, some output errors are sufficiently close to the expected value that the application treats them as correct.  

Through irradiation campaigns, the student will compare ChipIr and the DT neutron generator, and will examine the disruptions caused by the intermediate energy neutrons produced by the DD neutron source.  

Responsibilities include: 

  • Work within a team delivering neutron irradiation facilities to a world-wide electronics industry 
  • Gain experience in methods for the calibration of the NILE neutron generators
  • Develop intermediate and fast-neutron irradiation experiments on solid-state detectors (such as Si, SiC, diamond detectors) and scintillators
  • Develop fast-neutron irradiation experiments on electronics devices (such as SRAMs, FPGAs), collaborating with international users
  • Perform fast neutron measurement for diagnostics on the ISIS source and potentially cross calibration with other world wide neutron facilities
  • Compare results of 14 MeV neutrons and atmospheric, determine significance of 2.5 MeV neutrons

Do you enjoy problem solving? This is an excellent opportunity to work on a state-of-the-art instrument in a highly industrially relevant and rapidly developing area and to develop skills and knowledge in physics, scientific and technical computing while working with a passionate team! 

In order to apply for this role you must have:  


  • At university, enrolled on an undergraduate degree course and required or have requested to take a year out of studies to gain experience within industry  
  • Right to live and work in the UK  
  • Ability to work independently and in a team  
  • High degree of responsibility, dedication and reliability  
  • Passion, motivation and initiative 


  • Good interpersonal and communications skills 
  • Demonstrated ability and initiative in solving technical and scientific problems  
  • Awareness of some aspects of scientific data analysis techniques, software and programming  
  • Some knowledge of one or more of the standard computing languages used at ISIS (e.g. Python, Fortran, C, C++, Java, Visual Basic, Labview etc)  
  • Basic understanding of radiation physics will be a plus 

About The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) 

The STFC is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation where curiosity, blue-skies thinking meets practical, application-led science and engineering. Our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world. 

As one of Europe’s largest research organisations, we’re trusted to support, enable and undertake ground-breaking projects in an outstanding diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving progressive advances in science, engineering, computing and technology. Our research seeks to understand the Universe from the largest astronomical scales to the tiniest constituents of matter, yet creates impact on a very tangible, human scale. 

For more information about STFC please visit 

You can also visit our careers site 

About UK Research Innovation (UKRI) 

UKRI is an organisation that brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Together, we build an independent organisation with a strong voice and vision ensuring the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. 

Supporting some of the world’s most exciting and challenging research projects, we develop and operate some of the most remarkable scientific facilities in the world. We are pushing the frontiers of human knowledge through fundamental research and delivering benefits for UK society and the economy through world-class research, skills and business-led innovation. 

More information can be found at  

How we support EDI in the workforce 

At UKRI, we believe that everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be provided with equal opportunities to thrive and succeed in an environment that enables them to do so. We also value diversity of thought and experience within inclusive groups, organisations and the wider community. For further information, please visit ‘How we support EDI in the workforce’

Disability Confident Employer

As users of the disability confident scheme, we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy/ies. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation. 

How to apply 

Online applications only preferred for this role. Please submit a CV and covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation for UKRI and the role. Ensure that the job reference number is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Note that failure to address the above criteria or submit an application without a covering letter may result in the application not being considered. Assessment will only be based upon the content of your submitted covering letter and CV and not the ‘experience’ section of the application. 

UKRI seeks to ensure it creates and maintains a system of openness, fairness and inclusion – a collaborative, trusted environment, which is attractive to and accessible to everyone who is interested in developing their career with us. 

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