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Data Acquisition Scientist for Structural Biology

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About Us Diamond Light Source is the UK’s national synchrotron science facility. By accelerating electrons to near light-speed, Diamond generates brilliant beams of light from infra-red to X-rays which are used for academic and industry research and development across a range of scientific disciplines including structural biology, physics, chemistry, materials science, engineering, earth and environmental sciences.

Diamond is one of the most advanced scientific facilities in the world, and its pioneering capabilities and talented staff are helping to keep the UK at the forefront of scientific research.

About You

You will be qualified to degree level in a STEM subject, with experience in the full Software Development Lifecycle, using a modern high-level language, and with an understanding of good software design principals and design for usability.

You should demonstrate experience from a science environment, with excellent analytical skills, and ideally with a working knowledge of Macromolecular Crystallography.

Experience of working with large and complex code bases would be an advantage, as would experience of Python, Java, JMS message-oriented middleware, Java RMI, the HDF5 file format and the Eclipse RCP platform.

The DAQ group is looking to migrate GDA to a Microservices Architecture, so an understanding of the associated technologies would be beneficial.

You should display good communication skills and interpersonal skills in order to work closely with science and engineering colleagues and collaborators.


Diamond offers an exceptional benefits package to ensure an excellent work/life balance including 25 days’ annual leave, 13 days statutory and company holidays, flexible working hours, an onsite nursery, an excellent pension scheme, and social and sporting activities. A relocation allowance may also be available where applicable.

To Apply

Applicants are required to outline their suitability for this role via the online application process. Please also state where you saw this role advertised.

The closing date for applications is 05/01/2020, however, applications will be reviewed and interviewed on an ongoing basis until this vacancy is filled.

About the Role

The determination of the structures of biological macromolecules such as proteins, nucleic acids and viruses by X-ray diffraction is a major activity within Diamond. Our DAQ group develops software to interface with and control the hardware which allows experiments to be performed and monitored, as well as guiding the end user to tools for data reduction and analysis.

The group works closely with scientists, motion and controls engineers to continuously develop and improve software solutions for scientific data acquisition and on-the-fly monitoring and data analysis. Typical experiments will generate tens of terabytes of data per day.

Experimental data is acquired with our open source software package for GDA which is responsible for managing and executing experiments, capture and storage of experimental data and real-time visualisation of collected data. GDA is a client-server application written in Java, making use of the Eclipse RCP framework. The GDA server communicates with beamline hardware via EPICS to provide a control and monitor capability and deliver high-level experimental functions. A GDA client provides both a GUI and a Python scripting capability for users to control experiments locally.

The MX experimental setups at Diamond are highly automated, enabling experiments to be planned and executed remotely. This provides an exciting opportunity to lead in the development of bespoke software to make experiments autonomous.

As a Data Acquisition Scientist you will work alongside other focused science teams for data acquisition in an open and collaborative environment. You will interact with scientists and translate their specifications for scientific capabilities into software requirements. You will liaise with controls and motions engineers to put these requirements into action. You will also potentially participate in international collaborations within this domain, sharing best practice and supporting other facilities and synchrotrons within the collaboration.


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