Head of Beamline Controls

This vacancy is now closed
Job Title Head of Beamline Controls
Job Reference 0058/16/NH
Post Type Full time / Permanent
Division Technical
Salary information Competitive
Application deadline 11/07/2016

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. 

Photon beamlines and experiment station are controlled through a distributed, heterogeneous computing environment, using embedded systems for direct control of the instrumentation, together with Linux workstations for the operator interfaces. The software makes extensive use of the open source EPICS Control System tool kit (https://www.aps.anl.gov/epics) with EPICS servers interfaced to underlying hardware. For large area pixel detectors, the EPICS Area Detector extensions are used to provide high data rate paths to parallel file systems and streaming data to client applications. The client applications comprise general-purpose tools for synoptic display management, alarm handling and archiving, as well as bespoke tools to manage the data acquisition processes.

The Head of Beamline Controls will provide leadership and management of the design, development, commissioning and operational support of distributed controls systems to support the design, development and operation of the beamlines and experiment station on Diamond. In addition, the technical development and support of control system software.  The role will work closely with the Group Leader Data Acquisition, to jointly manage the aligned controls and data acquisition teams and develop overall technical direction for beamline control systems and data acquisition. The role will work in close collaboration with other software and IT groups in Diamond to deliver an integrated service.


  • Provide technical direction and management for the delivery of new beamline control systems across Diamond;
  • Responsible for the operation of Diamond’s beamline control systems including managing fault analysis and improvement programmes to achieve continuous improvement in operational reliability, taking into account component ageing and obsolescence issues;
  • Responsible for beamline control systems projects, involving interfacing with internal customers, including Directors, and Group Leaders, at all stages of the project life cycle to, for example, developing requirements, tracking project progress, and verify operation of control systems;
  • Jointly leading the aligned Beamline Controls and Data Acquisition Teams, in close collaboration with Data Acquisition Group Leader;
  • Working in close collaboration with other software and IT groups in Diamond to deliver an integrated service;
  • Line management and development of the beamline controls staff of eighteen and contractors typically of four;
  • Provide technical expertise in controls systems, software development, readout of high frame rate area detectors, and the EPICS toolkit;
  • Responsible for ensuring all beamlines control system developments are compliant with Diamond processes;
  • Responsible for managing assigned beamline controls budgets;
  • Contribute to the processes, policies and associated software development and data management to support the design/operation of control systems throughout Diamond;
  • Promote beamline controls at an international level, through the promotion and development of technical profile and best practice, including organizing collaborations with senior managers of large scientific facilities;
  • Responsible for ensuring adherence to Health & Safety policies and compliance with legislation for areas of responsibility across the company.

Qualification & Experience - Essential

  • Honours degree in physics, electrical engineering, and computer science or equivalent other degree plus relevant experience;
  • Extensive experience in the software design and/or programming of industrial or scientific systems; 
  • Knowledge and experience in modern programming languages and techniques;
  • Experience in developing software in a real time distributed control environment;
  • Knowledge and experience of developing in a Unix environment;
  • Knowledge and experience of developing with a source code control and structured release environment;
  • Experience of using software testing and debugging tools effectively and developing automated test harnesses;
  • Knowledge and experience of the operation of accelerators;
  • Knowledge and experience of the EPICS toolkit;
  • Knowledge of the photon beamlines and experiment stations;
  • Strong leadership ability;
  • Ability to effectively manage a team;
  • Ability to effectively undertake project planning and management;
  • Ability to manage the development of software and control systems in a complex environment;
  • Good interpersonal, communication and presentational skills;
  • Ability to produce effective management project briefings to senior staff and directors;
  • Ability to plan and manage budgets;
  • Self-motivated, interested in keeping pace with control 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

  • Knowledge of interfacing and readout of high speed area detectors;
  • 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