Head of Scientific Computing

This vacancy is now closed
Job Title Head of Scientific Computing
Job Reference 0033/16/NH
Post Type Full time / Permanent
Division Technical
Salary information Competitive
Application deadline 02/05/2016

Job Description

Diamond Light Source is the largest scientific facility to be built in the UK for over thirty years. The facility consists of three accelerators which provide high brightness photon beams through beamlines to experiment stations.  Diamond is now operational with an initial complement of 26 experiment stations and a further 5 in design and construction. 

The Scientific Computing Group manages the computing infrastructure, networking and applications to support the data from the experiment stations through online storage, processing and archiving. In doing so, it operates a large Linux based user service together with petabyte sized parallel file systems and large compute clusters connected by high performance networking. The environment is managed through a configuration management system covering operating systems and applications. The group works closely with other groups in developing and operating computer systems such that they meet challenging requirements in terms of data sizes and rates. This requires a substantial investment in terms of storage, compute and network capability year-on-year.

The Head of Scientific Computing will lead Diamond-wide scientific computing provision, including managing operation of scientific computing, developing companywide focus on medium and long term requirements encompassing cross facility collaborative projects, where appropriate. He/she will provide strategic advice on scientific computing to senior managers, including Directors, on facility data taking, analysis and archiving capabilities so as to maintain Diamond’s science capability as a best in class facility. He/she will work in close collaboration with other software and IT groups in Diamond to deliver an integrated service.


  • Management of the coordination, implementation and maintenance for all scientific computing and networking solutions across Diamond including the infrastructure, compute cluster, high performance storage, together with Diamond-wide networking and extranet connectivity;
  • Lead in coordinating and managing the provision of strategic policy and forward vision for scientific computing hardware, system management and operation. Provide direction in these areas at all levels within the company. Advise senior manager and Directors and other senior company managers on the application of policy in the areas of responsibility;
  • Responsible for the identification of opportunities for technical and process improvement and initiate the necessary research or development work in relation to scientific computing; this includes high level evaluation of state of the art hardware and protocols, applicability and risks;
  • Management and development of, scientific computing staff of eleven and typically two contractors;
  • Working with the company wide groups, e.g. all science PBSs, to provide leadership in defining scientific computing requirements covering medium and long term needs to ensure the world competitiveness of Diamond in data taking, analysis and archiving;
  • Responsible for managing assigned scientific computing budgets in excess of £2m annually;
  • Lead in the development, production and monitoring of Diamond wide policies for such areas as data retention, file formats, software architecture and remote access;
  • Lead in the development, delivery and maintenance of an integrated service for scientific computing and networking across all Diamond’s science areas including developments to support Electron Microscopes, and for the Serial Femtosecond Crystallography facility within the UK-XHEL Hub;
  • Represent the company on the international stage e.g. scientific facilities across Europe through the promotion and development of relevant scientific computing best practice and represent the company in relevant UK projects e.g. H2020 SAGE;
  • Chair assigned committees and meetings relevant to the role with cross-divisional impact and responsibility of Scientific Computing ensuring adherence to policies.

Qualification & Experience - Essential

  • Honours degree in physics, electrical engineering, and computer science or equivalent other degree. Plus  relevant experience in relevant field;
  • Experience of successfully managing a large and diverse IT/Software support service. Preferably within a complex scientific research organisation;
  • Experience of successfully developing and implementing IT strategy. Preferably within a complex scientific research organisation;
  • In depth technical knowledge and experience across broad range of IT specialist areas, including programming, systems architecture, high performance computing high performance storage and networking technologies;
  • Experience of the successful development and delivery of complex IT/Software development projects;
  • Experience of the software specification, development and maintenance in a high performance computing environment;
  • Experience of large scale(PB) data management and archiving;
  • Demonstrable ability to lead diverse teams within a complex and challenging customer service environment;
  • Demonstrable  an ability to effectively undertake project planning and management;
  • Good communication skills including the ability to produce strategic documents, present ideas and solutions to non-technical audience and listen effectively to understand user needs;
  • Ability to produce effective management project briefings to senior staff;
  • Ability to plan and manage budgets;
  • Self-motivated, interested in keeping pace with computing systems and the development best practice techniques;
  • Ability to interact effectively with staff at all levels;
  • Ability and initiative to solve problems;
  • Ability to influence and negotiate at the highest level both internally and externally;
  • Understanding of the external environment and awareness of best practice / new technologies within the field of control systems;
  • Be willing to work overtime at unsociable hours as required;
  • Be willing to travel in the UK and abroad, including occasional periods away from home;
  • Be prepared to undertake further training.

Qualification & Experience - Desirable

  • An understanding of new and emerging detector technologies and science techniques that are driving data rates;
  • Appreciation of the synchrotron light based science.

Further Information

Applying for employment

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 recruitment@diamond.ac.uk

Other information