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Research Associate on the CMS experiment

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Didcot, UK
£31931.0 - £39748.0 per annum
Closing date
17 Feb 2023

Job Details

Research Associate on the CMS experiment.
Salary: Band D £31,931-£34,709 or Band E £39,748-£44,166 (Dependent on Experience)
Location: STFC - Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Didcot
Benefits: 30 days holiday + 8 bank holidays + 2.5 privilege days + exceptional defined average salary pension + excellent work life balance
3-year fixed term contract, with expectations of an extension.
Closing date for application is the 18th Feb 2023


Applications are invited for a Research Associate position in Experimental Particle Physics to work on trigger and data acquisition systems within the Particle Physics Department (PPD) at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. The post will initially be for three years with the possibility of renewal.


PPD is one of the largest Particle Physics groups in the UK and the CMS group has been prominent on the CMS experiment since the start of the collaboration. For the initial CMS detector the design and construction of the electromagnetic calorimeter endcaps was led by PPD and the group also played a major role in the tracker readout. For phase I upgrades the group had significant activity on the level 1 calorimeter trigger upgrade. The group now has major involvement in the upgrade of the CMS detector for HL-LHC running and is working on the level 1 trigger upgrade, the track finder for the replacement silicon tracker and the readout of the barrel electromagnetic calorimeter. All of these activities involve fast electronics and the use of cutting edge FPGAs. Online software is a particular strength of the group. The group has a strong interest in physics beyond the standard model including a long history of work on; searching for Z' bosons, various BSM Higgs bosons searches and numerous analyses that exploit the groups expertise on lepton reconstruction. A particular feature is the long-standing close collaboration with phenomenologists as part of the NExT Institute.


All of the PPD CMS group's upgrade activities involve cutting edge electronics and the use of FPGAs. Each of the activities is related to fast data processing to enable the first level of trigger decision in hardware. The successful applicant will work on the CMS level 1 trigger upgrade involving both online software and trigger algorithm development. They will also be able to contribute to one of the group's analysis activities exploiting Run 3 data.


PhD in Particle Physics or similar qualification(S)
Experience of working on particle physics experiments (S&I)
Knowledge of C++ and python (S&I)
Experience of data analysis (S&I)
Ability to work independently and undertake original research (S&I)
Ability to think logically (I)
Ability to work collaboratively and effectively in teams, including with large groups of people from many different countries (S&I)
Good communications skills including fluent English, both written and spoken (S&I),
Ability and willingness to acquire required knowledge (I)
High degree of self-motivation (S&I)
Ability to work on several activities in parallel (I)
Willingness to travel frequently to CERN and elsewhere (I)
Willingness to go on long term attachment to CERN (I)
Willingness to work at RAL (I)
Willingness to work occasionally in a radiation environment (I)
Willingness to undertake on call and occasional shift work to run CMS (I)
Driving licence (S)




Experience in the areas listed below is desirable. In addition:
for a Band D post the applicant would be expected to satisfy at least one of the criteria below.
for a Band E post the applicant would be expected to satisfy at least three of the criteria below.


Experience of working on the CMS or ATLAS experiments (S&I
Knowledge of online systems (S&I)
Experience of working with electronics hardware (S&I)
Experience of writing online software for a particle physics experiment (S&I)
Knowledge of triggering at colliders (S&I)
Experience of the use of FPGAs(S&I)
Knowledge of HLS or firmware
Experience of working with large electronics systems on collider experiments (S&I)
Experience with hardware triggering systems. (S&I)
Experience of commissioning large electronics systems (S&I)


Applications should consist of a CV, a covering letter explaining why the candidate is suited to this position and a statement of research interests. The names and contact details of three referees should also be uploaded at the point of application


For an informal discussion about this role please contact: Prof. Claire Shepherd-Themistocleous ()


Employee Benefits:


We are offering a 3 year fixed term contract with a whole host of benefits including:
30 days holiday (in addition to 10.5 bank holidays and privilege days).
Flexible working hours.
An excellent defined average salary pension scheme.
Employee shopping/travel discounts.
Excellent learning and development opportunities.


We are committed to sustaining a diverse and inclusive workforce. We are invested in creating an environment that is welcoming and supportive of all, to help us achieve the highest possible standards in our work and organisation together. In this regard, we encourage applications from under-represented groups.


What could you achieve with the world-leading facilities and experts of one of Europe's largest research organisations by your side? Join us and discover what's possible.




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

Find Us
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
OX11 0QX
United Kingdom

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