Graduate working at STFC

Scientific Software Engineer (Scientific Computing/Software Engineer) - Year-Long Placement


STFC offers you an opportunity to gain paid practical experience as part of your degree. Each year STFC recruit up to 45 sandwich students who are able to use and develop the skills they’ve acquired at university in a working environment, providing learning on the job and working on real projects alongside expert scientists and engineers. Learning new skills to help in their further studies. 

You will be employed by the world leading ISIS Pulsed Neutron and Muon Source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory to deliver software for analysis of data from ISIS instruments.

You will work within the Mantid project, an international collaboration which is developing analysis software for neutron and muon instruments within a contemporary structured programming framework. The Mantid project is an open source development that is developed and supported by a core project team of developers across three countries. Within the team you will be responsible for the development (using C++ and Python) and testing of algorithms specific to the analysis of neutron and muon data; regular liaison with facility scientists will be important to ensure the developed code meets the scientific requirements.

As a professional software project Mantid was highly commended at the UK IT Industry Computing Awards in the Project Excellence category for the best not for profit product.

List of Duties / Responsibilites

The four sandwich student positions within the team will focus on the development of software for the analysis of data measured on Molecular Spectroscopy instruments, Muon instruments, Reflectometry instruments and Diffraction instruments.

A sandwich student project will involve:

  • Working with beamline scientists from within an ISIS group to deliver algorithmic customisations and changes to base workflows
  • Generating and adapting user interfaces which execute the aforementioned algorithms and workflows.
  • Identifying and optimising runtime performance in key areas.
  • Working to improve a technique area across all international collaborating facilities.
  • In each case, the requirements will be defined in consultation with facility scientists, and you will be responsible for coding, testing and demonstrating solutions. A more senior developer will be available to help. If time permits, there may be the opportunity to become involved in other aspects of the Mantid project, whether coding algorithms, working to enhance the platform or report writing. This position is a chance to gain experience in programming within a major national scientific laboratory.

Personal Skills and attributes

  • The placement would be suitable for a student studying for a degree in Computer Science or a related discipline. A track record of object oriented programming (ideally in C++, but training is available) and a keen interest in physics or mathematics would be advantageous.



  • A level (or equivalent) in a scientific or technical area.


  • A level (or equivalent) in a subject with substantial computer programming content.

Knowledge/Skills and experience


  • experience of computer programming.


  • knowledge of C++ and/or Python.

Personal Skills & Qualities


  • good communication skills
  • demonstrate good team working capabilities
  • the willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical
  • open minded and flexible in relation to the type of work assigned to them

Interview Criteria


  • ability to work as part of a team.


  • problem solving ability.

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