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Data Acquisition Scientist / Lead Data Acquisition Scientist

Job Location: 
Didcot, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Job Title / Reference: 
Data Acquisition Scientist / Lead Data Acquisition Scientist - 0049/16/CH
Post details: 
Full time, permanent
£32,480 to £38,211 (Discretionary range to £43, 943) and for appointment at the senior level £41,878 to £49,268 (Discretionary range to £56,658)
Application deadline: 
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Application Details / Contact: 

Diamond Light Source is one of the most advanced scientific facilities in the world.  It houses the UK’s synchrotron light source, a giant microscope that can produce beams of light 10 billion times brighter than the sun, to probe the structure and composition of matter. From viruses and vaccines, to alternative energy solutions and nanotechnology, it underpins research and innovation for more than 8000 scientists. The development of the facility is key to maintaining its world-class, and in many areas, world-leading standing. Developments include improvements in brightness of sources, optical components and state-of-the-art detectors. Such developments initiate new requirements and operational support of the distributed-control systems, along with advances in data acquisition.

For further details on applying for employment at Diamond, please visit our 'Application Form' page.

Appointments will be made depending on the skills and experience of the candidate. Electronic Diamond application forms in MS-Word are preferred. These should be emailed to


This is an exciting opportunity, as a Software Engineer or Senior Software Engineer, to participate in this cutting edge facility. Working on data acquisition applications your task will be to work closely with a team of scientists and engineers to specify and develop software to orchestrate experiments; to provide a user interface and experiment workflow that helps users to get the most out of Diamond. We are currently integrating faster and higher capacity detectors and robotics, providing faster and more advanced analysis in real-time and improving the workflow and usability of the facility. Through automating and streamlining more-and-more of the experimental process, you will play a key role in helping Diamond perform more and better science. You will be working in a Linux computing environment with access to well supported, high performance computing and distributed control systems.

You will need to demonstrate an aptitude for software development and support and a strong ability to understand the needs of Diamond’s users and beamline. Together with a PhD or good honours degree science. For the right candidate the position offers a relaxed non-commercial environment full of motivated individuals and comprehensive benefits.

As a Senior Data Acquisition Scientist, this role will be to lead a team focused on a particular area of the broad range of science performed at Diamond. Teams currently focus on Macromolecular crystallography, imaging, spectroscopy, surface science, diffraction and scattering.


Diamond is one of the UK's leading research institutions, enabling scientific breakthroughs in many disciplines. Being a part of the Diamond team allows our staff to shape some of the most important and exciting scientific projects being undertaken anywhere in the UK. Diamond is a family friendly employer, with a competitive pension scheme and benefits packages including relocation where eligible. We provide continuous learning for our staff, with training and development opportunities available across the organisation. The Diamond site is located in the beautiful South Oxfordshire countryside on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus. We share a site with the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, the Research Complex at Harwell, the pulsed neutron and muon source, ISIS and the European Space Agency, amongst others. This diverse and vibrant campus brings together some of the leading research facilities in the UK on one site with good access to local towns and cities, and excellent schools.

Data Acquisition Scientist - The aim is to Support and enhance the data acquisition software used on Diamond’s beamlines. Work closely with beamline scientists and users of Diamond to help them express and prioritise their needs and then if necessary with software engineers and scientists to implement new functionality, and enhance and streamline existing functionality. Look for opportunities to automate and improve experiment workflows.

Main responsibilities will include:

  • Develop and support software and workflows for the acquisition of data by MX beamlines at Diamond;
  • Work with Diamond’s analysis group to integrate analysis with acquisition software;
  • Contribute to the core framework of the data acquisition software at Diamond;
  • Develop, test, maintain and support the GDA software on Diamond’s beamlines, in collaboration with beamline staff, other members of the Data Acquisition group, and the Scientific Software group;
  • Provide first line support of the software for beamlines, interacting closely with both beamline staff and external users. Including fault diagnosis and resolution. Call on specialists if required;
  • Work with software engineers from the group and from Diamond’s Scisoft & Controls groups to deliver larger projects;
  • Provide a technical advisory/support function to other departments;
  • Use technical and professional knowledge to identify opportunities for technical or process improvement;
  • Undertake research or development work within parameters determined by more senior roles, and with regular review of progress;
  • Maintain responsibility for the management and coordination of own workload, and ensure outputs are delivered on time and to high quality.

Lead Data Acquisition Scientist - The aim is to take a senior role in the group that supports and enhances the data acquisition software used on Diamond’s beamlines. Work with beamline scientists and external users to help them express and prioritise their needs and then if necessary with software engineers and scientists to implement new functionality, and enhance and streamline existing functionality.. Look for opportunities to automate and improve experiment workflows and share solutions across Diamond’s beamlines.

Additional responsibilities at Senior Level:

  • Lead in the consolidation of workflows and software used across beamlines that use overlapping techniques. Keep the user experience across beamlines consistent;
  • Lead larger projects that require the input of software engineers from the group and from Diamond’s scisoft & controls groups;
  • Lead the MX data acquisition team;
  • Deliver high quality reporting and professional advice, presenting findings to senior management and guiding future approach.

Qualification & Experience - Essential

  • First degree in engineering or science;
  • Experienced professional with post-qualification experience in experimental science;
  • Experience of object oriented languages such as Java, C, C++ or Python;
  • Ability and initiative to get to the heart of the problem and take it effectively through to completion;
  • Good interpersonal, communication  and presentational skills;
  • Conscientious and pays attention to details;
  • Ability to interact effectively with staff at all levels;
  • Self motivated;
  • Must be available to travel occasionally in UK and overseas including overnight absences;
  • Ability to work on own initiative and take personal responsibility for delivery of work packages;
  • Ability to communicate complex information to a ‘non-technical’ audience in an easily comprehensible way.

Additional responsibilities at Senior Level:

  • Ability to influence at a senior management level using in-depth professional knowledge;
  • Previous experience in supervising and directing projects;
  • Experience in planning ahead for resource and technical requirements and negotiating appropriate resources;

Qualification & Experience - Desirable

  • PhD in science;
  • Experienced professional with significant post-qualification experience in technical software engineering;
  • Excellent technical/theoretical understanding of methods, systems and approaches relating to technical software engineering;
  • Experience in managing significant projects, co-ordinating internal/external resources and managing associated budgets;
  • Experience of UNIX-like operating systems and their administration.

Further Information

Must be available to travel occasionally within the UK and abroad, including overnight absences.

Open until filled (The job posting will expire 3 months after post date): 
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