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Irradiation Instrument Scientist (NILE/ChipIr)

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Oxfordshire, UK
£39,375 - £43,313 or £48,802 - £53,682 per annum
Posting live until
16 May 2024

Job Details

Salary: £39,375 - £43,313 or £48,802 - £53,682 per annum (dependent on skills and experience). 
Hours: Full time 
Contract Type: Open Ended.
Location: Science and Technology Facilities Council, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Harwell, Oxfordshire


Come and do the kind of science that made you want to become a scientist. Explore the unknown and get to grips with the biggest challenges in Big Science. And, alongside world class engineers, technicians and technologists, use everything you've learnt to find real answers that shape society and improve lives.

Put simply, discover the kind of impact you can make when you work with some of the best facilities and brightest scientists in the world.

ISIS is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford in the United Kingdom. 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. 

The neutron irradiation capabilities at ISIS are designed to provide some of the world’s best accelerated testing facilities for single-event effects in electronic chips. Single-event effects occur when fast “atmospheric” neutrons, which result from cosmic rays hitting the Earth’s atmosphere, cause errors in electronic equipment. Such cosmic-ray induced effects are increasing in importance across the electronics industry as chips are being employed in critical systems.   

ISIS has recently developed the NILE facility that consists of two small compact fast-neutron sources to primarily develop electronic testing techniques and detector development, training and benchmarking. This facility also has applications in more general fast-neutron irradiation areas within related field such as fusion and materials science. 

NILE joins and complements the development of the ChipIr instrument which since 2018 has been providing the international electronics and avionics industry with advanced testing capability, unique in Europe, to understand and mitigate again the effects of ‘atmospheric’ neutrons. 

NILE and ChipIr are working with industry in many of the current key strategic and priority areas (autonomous and electric cars, renewable energy power system, internet communications). Alongside this both NILE and ChipIr have been developing a vibrant academic user community which works collaboratively with the industrial community in the development of the techniques and methodologies, and in innovative research on cosmic-ray effects. 

List of Duties / Work Programme / Responsibilities 

We are looking for a scientist or instrument developer who can make major contributions to the development of NILE facility at ISIS and who will take a lead in expanding the industrial and academic communities using our facilities for irradiation testing. 

You will lead the development and running of the NILE instrument. This represents an excellent opportunity to drive collaborative and personal scientific research programmes exploiting the state-of-the-art capabilities in neutron irradiation facilities that ISIS has developed. In addition to leading on the development of NILE, you will be expected to progress the industrial and commercial use of the facility and to develop collaborations in the areas of irradiation science and technology. 

About the role- 

  • Ensure the day-to-day running of the NILE facility within the Irradiation Group at ISIS ;;
  • Develop NILE for training, method development in irradiation techniques, (e.g. benchmarking of Monte-Carlo simulations and detector development) by both industrial and academic user communities ;
  • Explore the wider commercial and academic application of NILE’s capabilities (e.g. fast-neutron imaging, irradiation effects on materials, activation analysis)  ;
  • Pursuing a research and development program on NILE in the technologies and techniques for fast-neutron irradiation and the wider exploitation of NILE through collaboration ;
  • Help deliver ISIS’s state-of-the art neutron irradiation capability to a global commercial electronics industry. They will interact with commercial clients to help expand the commercial programme for NILE (and ChipIr);
  • Work with the Irradiation Group on wider campus and inter research council collaborations and initiatives within STFC, Harwell Campus and UKRI in use of irradiation facilities at ISIS.   

Contacts and Communication 

You will interact extensively with visitors to ISIS and STFC therefore require the below :- 

  • Extensive and effective communication with the current and future users of the facility and in particular understand the requirements of commercial users;
  • Interact with national and international researchers in the irradiation area, working within partnerships and collaborations, and contributing to networks and projects;
  • Be able to brief industrialists, academics and stakeholders on the irradiation activities and its commercial and societal impact;
  • Present the irradiation capabilities and work at ISIS as well as their own scientific work at conferences and meetings, and to ensure that the impact of this area of work is recognised and communicated;
  • Contribute and actively represent the group in its interactions with other ISIS and STFC science and technology groups, and a variety of stakeholders including ISIS senior management and STFC Business Development and Innovation staff. 

Personal Skills and Attributes 

The below criteria will be reviewed under shortlisting (S) and or Interview (I):  

  • To be qualified to degree level or equivalent in a relevant physical or technical science (S);
  • PhD, or imminent (within months) award of PhD in a relevant research area (S&I);
  • Understanding of the requirements of industry and/or commercial clients in single-event effect testing (S&I);
  • Understanding of working with industrial customers/users in a large facility context (S&I);
  • Interest and proven ability in instrumentation development (S&I);
  • Ability to interact with national and international researchers in the irradiation area, working within partnerships and collaborations, and contributing to networks and projects (S&I) ;
  • Ability to present the irradiation capabilities and work at ISIS as well as their own scientific work at conferences and meetings, and to ensure that the impact of this area of work at ISIS is recognised and communicated. (I).

For the higher band position you will be reviewed against the above and the following:

  • Experience or a good understanding of the requirement of industry and/or commercial clients in single-event effect testing (S&I);
  • Experience of working with industrial customers / users in a large facility context (S&I);
  • Ability to brief industrialists, academics and stakeholders on the irradiation activities at ISIS and its commercial and societal impact (S&I);
  • Ability to interact with a variety of stakeholders including senior UKRI- STFC managment (I).

Please be advised that the interviews are due to be held on the week commencing 3rd June 2024.

Please note, if you will require sponsorship to work in the UK, and meet immigration requirements, as part of your sponsorship application, you and any dependants travelling with you, will be required to pay costs directly to The Home Office for the application before you start your role with us. UKRI is normally able to reimburse some, or all of these fees after you have become an employee and this can be discussed with the Hiring Manager. For more information please visit or contact


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

Company info
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
OX11 0QX

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