Scientific Software Engineer - Placement

Recruiter
The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Location
Didcot
Salary
Competitive
Posted
09 Oct 2018
Closes
06 Nov 2018
Specialism
IT
Start Date
Immediate
Duration
Permanent
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.

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. We offer a friendly and supportive team environment, a generous holiday allowance, flexi-time, on-site restaurant and sports and social club.

You will work within the Mantid project, an international collaboration that 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. 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.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

The four sandwich student positions within the team will focus on the development of software for the analysis of data measured on neutron scattering and muon instruments. Your contributions will be actively used to support new experiments on the facility's instruments, enabling new insights in materials science.

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 (such as reflectometry, diffraction or spectroscopy) across all international collaborating facilities
  • participating and presenting the work in meetings/conferences through technical reports/posters where appropriate.

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 writing reports. This position is a chance to gain highly sought-after software engineering skills within a major national scientific laboratory.

You will be responsible for:
  • agreeing software requirements with facility scientists;
  • implementing algorithms and GUI components in modern C++ and Python;
  • building, testing, documenting and maintaining solutions using modern software engineering techniques;
  • regular liaison with facility scientists to ensure the developed code meets scientific requirements;
  • working closely with other team members to share skills and knowledge; and
  • participating in outreach activities where appropriate, e.g. meetings with user groups or external collaborators.
  • In all cases, a more senior developer will be available to offer support and guidance.

The placement would be suitable for a student studying for a degree in Computer Science, Physics, 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.

Shortlisting and Interview Criteria

Essential:
  • 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
  • A Level (or equivalent) in a scientific or technical area
  • experience of computer programming.
  • good communication skills.
  • ability to work as part of a team.
  • willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical.
  • open-minded and flexible in relation to the type of work assigned to them.

Desirable:
  • A Level (or equivalent) in a subject with substantial computer programming content.
  • knowledge of C++ and/or Python
  • experience of object-oriented programming
  • interest or experience in physics or mathematics.
  • good problem-solving abilities.
  • proactive and willing to take ownership of tasks.


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.

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