Beamline Scientist / Senior Beamline Scientist - XFEL Hub

This vacancy is now closed
Job Title Beamline Scientist / Senior Beamline Scientist - XFEL Hub
Job Reference 0039/16/CH
Post Type Full time / Fixed term for 3 years
Division Life Science
Salary information £32,158 - £37,833, with a discretionary range up to £43,508/Senior role: £41,463- £48,780, with a discretionary range up to £56,097
Application deadline 22/05/2016
Date of interviews 31/05/2016

Job Description

Diamond Light Source is a leading scientific facility of its type in the world. Located on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in South Oxfordshire, we host research facilities supporting cutting edge research in all fields of science. The European XFEL is currently under construction in Germany where it runs underground from the DESY site in Hamburg to the research site in Schenefeld. It will open in 2017 with world-leading source characteristics that will create many new research opportunities.

The UK is a member of the European XFEL, and among other obligations, is a major shareholder in the serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) user consortium ( The SPB/SFX beamline anticipates first lasing from SASE1 by 31 December 2016, and early scientific users throughout the first half of 2017. The beamline will exploit two interaction regions with independent end stations; all within one, interlocked hutch. The upstream region will be commissioned first and encompasses the SPB sample environment. This will enable single particle imaging and serial femtosecond crystallography. The downstream interaction region (the SFX end station) will be commissioned later and will use refocused x-ray photons to support SFX methods.

The Wellcome Trust Strategic Award and UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council have provided funding to establish an XFEL Hub at Diamond in support of life sciences at Diamond Light Source and the European XFEL. We seek to build an outstanding team with in-depth experience in most aspects of structural biology. Part of the mission of the XFEL Hub at Diamond is to facilitate (time-resolved) serial structural biology experiments via sample preparation, delivery, data collection, and processing. We will also conduct R&D at the forefront of several rapidly-evolving XFEL methods, and seek to deliver those techniques that are complementary and synergistic to synchrotron and cryo-EM sources.

The selected candidate must be available to travel within the UK and abroad, including periods of time requiring several overnight absences at one or more XFEL facilities. 

Key responsibilities:

To contribute to the research and development (R&D) activities of the XFEL Hub at Diamond, with particular emphasis on sample delivery and time-resolved structural biology methods. To encourage the growth and support of the UK user community in preparing for and executing XFEL related experiments through training and outreach.

  • Reporting to the group leader you will contribute to the R&D activities of the XFEL Hub at Diamond including, but not limited to, XFEL sample delivery, data collection and processing, which may also be correlated with spectroscopic analysis from the same samples
  • Contribute to the development of novel sample delivery systems for micron-size crystals at Diamond and nanocrystals at the European XFEL facility
  • Participate in R&D efforts in time-resolved structural biology for applications at synchrotron X-ray sources, XFEL sources such as LCLS, SACLA, SwissFEL and the European XFEL, and potentially in cryo-EM and/or the Central Laser Facility on the Harwell campus
  • Attend and present results at relevant scientific meetings
  • Contribute to the analysis of and publication of scientific results in international peer-review journals
  • Keep up to date with the latest results and evolving methods for structural biology at leading synchrotron and XFEL sources, especially with respect to sample delivery and/or time-resolved strategies
  • Dependable participation in large, international collaborative teams with diverse backgrounds. 

Additional for appointment at higher level

  • Carry out an independent and internationally competitive research programme to compliment activities at Diamond and the SFX project at the European XFEL
  • Lead and/or coordinate research teams amalgamated along scientific themes for studies at XFEL sources and synergistic, complementary work at synchrotron sources.

Qualification & Experience - Essential

  • Ph.D. in structural biology or closely related area;
  • Post doctoral training in structural biology with experience in macromolecular crystallography, preferably at a synchrotron or an XFEL source;
  • Good interpersonal, communication, and presentational skills;
  • Ability to interact effectively and diplomatically with staff and facility users at all levels;
  • Ability to design, plan, organise, and implement projects and tasks within an allotted timeframe;
  • Ability and initiative to get to the heart of a problem, formulate a course of action (perhaps requiring collaboration), and then take it through to completion;
  • Strong organisational skills and methodical record keeping;
  • Ability to work flexibly with occasional weekend and out-of-hours working;
  • Ability to work within large collaborative teams wherein group members span a broad range of disciplines and expertise;
  • Experience with most typical biochemistry methods such as protein expression and purification, cloning or molecular biology, enzyme assays and kinetics, etc.;
  • Experience with macromolecular crystallographic data collection, phasing, and structure refinement at synchrotron sources;
  • Strong/deep working knowledge of the primary literature for pertinent areas such as structural biology, biophysics, biology, and/or biochemistry;
  • Experience with Windows/Linux/Unix computer operating systems;
  • Significant post-doctoral experience or equivalent job knowledge.

Additional for appointment at higher level

  • Ability to direct junior members of a team-based research group with diverse backgrounds;
  • Ability to analyse, collate and present complex information in coherent reports or briefings;
  • Significant previous experience with XFEL serial femtosecond crystallography;
  • Significant previous experience in supervising small teams of more junior staff.

Qualification & Experience - Desirable

  • Experience correlating one or more types of single crystal spectroscopy with X-ray diffraction at synchrotron and/or XFEL sources;
  • Experience with computer programming in support of data collection and/or processing;
  • Experience in designing bespoke parts using AutoCAD or similar and proven experience in interaction with mechanical workshops.

Additional for appointment at higher level

  • Extensive computational knowledge (setting up hardware and software and fast networks);
  • Ability to lead or co-ordinate internal and external resource to deliver project work packages on time and to budget;
  • Ability to influence at a senior management level using in-depth professional knowledge;
  • Previous experience communicating complex information to a ‘non-technical’ audience in an easily comprehensible way.

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

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