Recruiting for UKRI and UK SBS

Neutron Imaging and Diffraction Development Scientist Industrial Placement - STFC

Early Careers
210000TS Requisition #

Science and Technology Facilities Council

The Crystallography Group at ISIS carries out personal and collaborative research programs using neutron diffraction in various fields of physics, chemistry, materials science, and engineering. The Crystallography Group is responsible for the operation of 9 neutron diffraction and imaging instruments at the ISIS Facility, which is located at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. The Group typically supports around 200 experiments per year, across a diverse range of academic and industrial subject areas. These studies investigate the crystal structures of materials and how the atomic arrangement influences their bulk properties. 

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities:  

IMAT (Imaging and Materials Science & Engineering) is the first worldwide neutron imaging and diffraction instrument for materials science, materials processing and engineering built at a spallation neutron source. IMAT currently has implemented the neutron imaging capabilities such as neutron radiography, neutron tomography and energy-selective imaging with a broad scientific portfolio ranging from Engineering Sciences, Earth Sciences, Archaeology, Cultural Heritage to Soft Matter and Biomaterials. 

At the beginning of 2022 the neutron diffraction detectors and collimators will be installed on IMAT enabling spatially resolved neutron strain scanning, crystallographic phase analysis and texture analysis. Having diffraction and imaging options on the same beamline will allow us to run new types of experiments which require several analysis techniques. A novel feature of IMAT will be tomography-driven diffraction. Residual stresses inside engineering-sized samples can be more effectively analysed if the diffraction scans are guided by tomographic data. After the IMAT diffraction construction and installation project is complete, the instrument will enter a hot scientific commissioning phase, using the spallation neutrons to characterise the performance of the diffraction part.  

The aims of this project are: 

  • To support IMAT scientists throughout the scientific commissioning phase 
  • To test the recently SScanSS software developed on IMAT by combining neutron imaging and diffraction measurements 
  • To implement and test on IMAT the engineering diffraction software developed by Mantid team for Engin-X 

The student will join a hardworking, passionate interdisciplinary research team dedicated to the understanding of processing, structure, and properties of sophisticated materials. The student will also have the opportunity to undertake a wide range of interdisciplinary research activities which go beyond the usual boundaries between physics/engineering/ materials science, along with developing skills to communicate the results from the research to both the scientific community and industrial sectors. 

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  
  • Background in physics, materials or computer science at degree level  
  • Experience in computer software development, though not necessarily through formal training  
  • Strong scientific motivation, independent and creative approach to problems  
  • Happy to work in an active environment with a mixture of lab- and office-based work  
  • Experience of working in a laboratory environment  
  • Attention to detail, careful record keeping and the ability to multitask and prioritise effectively  


  • Understanding of general concepts in physics / materials science and interest in developing this  
  • Experience or interest in diffraction, imaging, optics or photography  
  • Experience in physical property measurements (e.g. specific heat, magnetisation, electrical characterisation)  
  • Experience in software development using Python packages  
  • Experience in laboratory x-ray diffraction or X-ray imaging  
  • Experience working with chemicals and understanding of relevant general safety practices 

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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