Recruiting for UKRI and UK SBS

In-situ Calorimeter Research Scientist Industrial Placement - STFC

Early Careers
210000UH Requisition #

Science and Technology Facilities Council

The ISIS Neutron and Muon Source is a world-leading research centre located at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford in the United Kingdom. Using the different neutron and muon scattering instruments we are researching life science and physical science materials. With this method, we can gain unique understanding of the properties of these samples on an atomic scale by looking at the nuclei. 

We are a national and international research community looking at a diverse range of subjects. These range from current challenges like batteries for renewable energies, carbon capture technology, and novel materials, over medical and pharmaceutical research to fundamental studies of materials. To support this diverse range of research ISIS is home to a staff of around 500 staff from different technical backgrounds and supports a wide range on international scientific activity! 

Neutrons carry no charge and as such offer the unique advantage of not interacting with the electron shell of an atom but instead penetrating to the nucleus of the atom. This allows us to study the behaviour of materials at the atomic level and to penetrate samples deeply without causing radiation damage to the sample. Additionally light atoms such as hydrogen can be observed using neutrons, which is difficult to do using X-ray methods.  

The Molecular Spectroscopy Group operates and develops a range of innovative neutron spectrometers. These can probe the motions and dynamics of different materials, which are relevant for understanding or adjusting their macroscopic properties. IRIS is a time-of-flight inverted-geometry spectrometer, and is the instrument that will be part of this project. Experiments on IRIS focus on the dynamic properties of samples by performing quasi-elastic and low-energy, high-resolution spectroscopy. 

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities  

An in-situ calorimeter has been developed for the IRIS spectrometer, to allow for calorimetric measurements while a quasi-elastic neutron spectroscopy (QENS) experiment is performed. In a standard QENS, experiment an initial scan is performed over a large temperature range, in order to probe for dynamical transitions. These changes can be caused by structural and/or thermodynamic changes. In the case of thermodynamic changes, a calorimetric measurement is normally performed ex-situ. The aim of this calorimeter is to perform the calorimetric experiment simultaneously with the QENS experiment, thus the same sample is measured under the same conditions.  

Sample cells for liquids and powders have been developed and tested and a dedicated member of our team is now required to perform final tests on the powder cells, as well as in-situ testing of the setup to establish it as an available sample stick for the IRIS instrument and hence part of the ISIS user programme. 

The objectives of the project are: 

  • Finalise the testing of the powder sample cells. This consists of ex-situ DSC runs and data analysis and conversations with the cell design team about potential improvements 
  • In-situ experiments on the IRIS beamline for the liquid and powder cells. This will first be done outside of a neutron cycle to ensure complete compatibility with the IRIS hardware and then be finalised with a run during the cycle to perform neutron scattering experiments and calorimetry at the same time 
  • Provide a good documentation and script base for experimental control and data analysis

During this project you will learn about amorphous, crystalline, and thermodynamic properties of different materials, neutron spectroscopy and diffraction, sample preparation and characterisation, data analysis and interpretation. You will work with different ISIS teams (scientists, engineers and technicians) and gain hands on experience regarding laboratory work and running experiments, as well as working on real scientific issues! 

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  
  • Experience in physical sciences (chemistry, physics, or related discipline)  
  • Sound understanding of experimental work  
  • Good computational and analytical skills  
  • Good communication skills including the ability to explain technical concepts effectively 
  • Interested and motivated to work in an interdisciplinary environment  


  • Experience with python or similar for data analysis  
  • Experience/knowledge of DSC experiments  
  • Special Requirements: 
  • Willingness to work in a radiation facility 

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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