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Software Developer – ISIS Experiment Controls Group

Salary range: 
Up to £19,999
Job/scheme locations: 
Type of opportunity: 
Application deadline: 
STFC - ISIS - Software Developer for ISIS Experiment Controls - Industrial Placement 
The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest research organisations. We’re trusted to support, enable and undertake pioneering projects in an amazing diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving ground-breaking advances in science, technology and Engineering.
STFC is one of nine organisations that have been brought together to create UK Research and Innovation (UKRI); a new organisation with a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation.
Each year we offer opportunities to undergraduate sandwich students to gain practical experience, working alongside technical experts at the forefront of scientific research. We offer an invaluable experience with exposure to world class science and technology, and the opportunity to develop working relationships that continue well after your placement has finished.
STFC consists of several distinct departments which each focus on a different specialism within science, technology, innovation and support, yet work together to achieve STFC’s grand ambitions. Different departments may look for placement students with similar skills, so you should consider which role/s are most suitable to you, and apply for up to two of these. 
ISIS Experiment Controls
The ISIS pulsed neutron and muon source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences. It is owned and operated by the Science and Technology Facilities Council. ISIS produces beams of neutrons and muons to study materials at the atomic level using a modern suite of neutron and muon instrumentation. 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. Computing lies at the heart of many ISIS activities, from user office management, experiment planning, device control, data acquisition through to data analysis and management. 
In order to control and gather data from the ISIS experiments a suite of software and associated systems is developed and maintained by staff in the Experiment Control Group. The data acquired is collated from a number of distributed systems using various communications protocols, and co-ordinated by IBEX, our next generation of instrument control software. The IBEX project uses the open source EPICS (Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System) and Eclipse/RCP frameworks. Development is carried out in a number of programming languages including: Java, Python, and C++
As well as IBEX there is the possibility of being involved in other projects that the group are involved in, such as the writing of cryomagnet control systems, interactions with motor controllers, automation of code generation, or a collaboration being undertaken between the Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin in Germany, The Institut Laue-Langevin in France and ISIS here in the UK to develop a Helium management system that collates facility wide distributed values of helium pressure, temperature, mass, level and flow.
Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities
The position will be as a full member of a software development team. You will be responsible for developing new drivers for use with the hardware that controls experiments and related support activities at ISIS. You will also be involved in developing and maintaining the user interfaces. 
IBEX and other projects are developed using an Agile methodology, and you will be expected to be involved in all aspect of the process.
You will be responsible for full life-cycle development from specification, which will involve interacting with the customer, through simulation and programming to testing and deployment of software solutions for various items of hardware used to control the conditions of experiments at ISIS.
You should be studying computer science, software engineering or an IT related discipline combined with significant exposure to software development. 
The placement will involve interaction with scientists and engineers within ISIS as well as with other members of the team. 
Some of the work may require:
  • working with systems that can sustain extreme temperatures
  • working with systems producing strong magnetic fields
  • interacting with automated motion systems.
You will occasionally be required to work in a radiation controlled area. Interaction with international collaborators may also be required.

Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. 

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation, and our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world.

  • 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 (S)
  • Right to live and work in the UK (S)
  • Excellent knowledge of modern programming languages such as Java, C++, C# or Python (S&I)
  • Some knowledge of Python (S&I)
  • Good knowledge of software development methodologies (S&I)
  • Familiarity with programming paradigms (S&I)
  • Good communication skills (S&I)
  • Demonstrate good team working capabilities (S&I)
  • The willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical (S&I)
  • Open minded and flexible in relation to the type of work assigned to them (S&I).


  • Good knowledge of Python (S&I)
  • Knowledge of Structured Query Language (S&I)
  • Knowledge of OOP techniques (S&I)
  • Good knowledge of software design patterns and techniques (S&I).

This role may require travel within the UK and Europe. Additionally, the successful candidate will occasionally be required to work in a radiation controlled area.


Software Developer – ISIS Experiment Controls Group - IRC250870

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More about this vacancy

Number of vacancies: 
Up to 5