Group Leader, Computational Physics

STFC - The Science and Technology Facilities Council - STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory or Daresbury Laboratory

About Us

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest research organisations. We’re trusted to support, enable and undertake pioneering projects in an amazing diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving ground-breaking advances in science and technology.

STFC’s Scientific Computing Department (SCD) develops leading edge software, computer and data storage infrastructures to support the work of world class science both within STFC and internationally; contributing to the solution of grand scientific computing challenges.

About The Role

This is a great opportunity to lead a group of scientists who develop, implement and apply computational methods for studying physical systems at the atomic scale. We are currently a group of 14 people and our activity is mostly in the area of computational materials science from first principles, using and developing methods and software based on Density Functional Theory and beyond.  In addition, we have activities in the area of atomic and molecular physics and plasma physics. The group’s mission is to enable scientists to do more and better research by developing and validating computational methods and software, and offer expertise and training to the people who use them. Partnerships and collaboration are at the heart of what we do. One significant focus of our work is the interpretation of experiment. We are growing our activities in collaboration with the STFC large experimental Facilities in order to validate methods, create and implement algorithms and software tools, and offer expertise to complement experiment and facilitate its interpretation.

The ideal candidate will be motivated by a passion for science and the desire to enable others to deliver excellent science and software. The main requisites of the post are: 

  • Scientific leadership demonstrated by a strong research track record
  • Ability to work collaboratively with communities and form and maintain strong relationships with group and community members
  • Management skills to ensure excellent delivery on the work plans agreed with the communities
  • Coaching and mentoring abilities in order to support the professional development of the group members
  • Proven ability to develop strategic opportunities, including securing funding
  • Ability to disseminate widely and effectively the impact of the work performed in the group
  • Ability to represent computational physics as a key strategic area in STFC and UKRI.

Duties will include:

  • Provide scientific vision and strategy
  • Maintain and extend core expertise through scientific activity and nourish contacts with British and International research establishments
  • Manage projects and people
  • Represent the area of computational physics in the strategic work of the Scientific Computing Department and STFC and assist the department in achieving its goals as outlines in its 5 year strategy:
  • Ensure effective communication and collaboration within the group and between the group and its stakeholders
  • Promote a vibrant, collegial and inclusive culture.

About you:

You will have a postgraduate degree (PhD, etc.) or equivalent in a physical science, engineering science, or computational science

You will have knowledge of computational materials science and electronic structure methods.

You will have both people and project management experience of complex projects involving multiple stakeholders and ideally inter-organisations. Experience in developing computational science software will also be beneficial.

You should have a highly organised approach, the ability to effectively manage stakeholder expectations, refined presentations skills, and an ability to communicate effectively with people from diverse scientific backgrounds.

The group members are based partly at STFC’s Daresbury Lab and partly at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Lab. Whichever lab the group leader may choose to be based at, travel will be required to the other site as well as to other partner sites and to networking events at the national and international level. 


An excellent index linked pension scheme, 30 days leave allowance and flexi-time are offered. Full details of offered benefits can be found on STFC’s careers pages (

To Apply

Applicants are required to include a cover letter outlining their suitability for this role. Please also state where you saw this role advertised.

Applications are handled by UK SBS; to apply please visit our job board at Applicants who are unable to apply online should contact us by telephone on +44 (0)1793 867000.

The closing date for applications is 4th March 2018, the interview/assessments for this vacancy will take place on the 23rd March 2018