Recruiting for UKRI and UK SBS

Neutron Scattering Instrumentation Development Industrial Placement - STFC

Early Careers
210000UU Requisition #

Science and Technology Facilities Council

ISIS Neutron and Muon Source is a world-leading centre for research at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. ISIS produces beams of neutrons and muons that allow scientists to study materials at the atomic level using a suite of instruments, often described as ‘super-microscopes’. It supports a national and international community of more than 2000 scientists who use neutrons and muons for research in physics, chemistry, materials science, geology, engineering, and biology. 

Neutron reflectometry is a unique tool for measuring structures and structural changes in layered systems on a nanometre scale. It provides information about the composition of each layer perpendicular to an interface and can be applied to a wide range of systems from virus-cell interactions and biological membranes, to solar cells and batteries.  

At ISIS we have 4 reflectometer instruments, which are optimised for different applications. This project will work with the instrument scientists from the INTER reflectometer, which is the highest flux reflectometer at ISIS and attracts a wide range of users from both academia and industry. 

The academic and industrial problems are often so complex that their solution requires a combination of experimental techniques, and is even better if these are measured simultaneously with the neutron measurements, on the same sample. The problems are also often seeking to understand how changing conditions effect the sample, such as concentration, temperature or shear-flow, and use a range of sample environments to control these conditions in-situ. 

We have had some success using infra-red spectroscopy (FT-IRRAS) on liquid surfaces and quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) or a rheometer for solid-liquid interfaces, and continue to work on improving and rapidly growing these complementary capabilities. This is non-trivial and requires significant offline (lab-based) and online (with neutrons) testing. 

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities  

In this lab-based project, you will work to optimise the conditions for some of these complementary measurements and help expand the capability of the ISIS reflectometers. This will involve carrying out a range of tests and experiments on both model and new systems. This will also involve working with (but not limited to): 

  • Open QCM which is an inexpensive, flexible and modular setup 
  • On-beam ATR FTIR for solid(-liquid) samples 
  • On-beam rheometer setup 
  • This project will suit someone who can work methodically in the lab, with a keen eye for detail. Duties will include: 
  • Building of test setups 
  • Conducting experiments, documenting, analysing and presenting results 
  • Designing and building new prototypes 
  • Collaborating closely and interacting with scientists and technicians 

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  
  • Undertaking a degree course in a scientific subject area, ideally in the Physical Sciences, with a keen interest in one or more of the following areas: soft matter, materials science, physical chemistry, biophysics  
  • Interest in developing understanding in neutron scattering experiments  
  • Experience in and/or passion for carrying out practical experiments independently  
  • Basic experience with data analysis software (e.g. Excel, Python, Matlab, IgorPro)  
  • Ability to critically assess experimental data  
  • Ability to clearly explain scientific ideas  
  • Clear presentation skills  
  • Clear writing skills  
  • Good communication skills  


  • Experience with FTIR spectroscopy  
  • Experience with rheology

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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