Engineers at ISIS
03 Nov 2021
- Evan Jones



For 'This is Engineering Day', here is an insight into the value that engineers bring to ISIS.

Staff members lifting parts of the new berylium reflectors

​At ISIS the team of engineers we have working here are vital for the continued successful operations of the facility. Our engineers are here to provide the tools to push the boundaries of science – and to explore ways to translate new technologies into practical applications.

The experiments carried out at the ISIS facility have been all been pre-planned well in advance of the users coming in, in some cases even years in advance. This means that the operation of the facility has to run like clockwork; each experiment is different and will require different environments and specifics. It is the job of our excellent engineers to ensure that the instruments are all working correctly and that the user has everything they require for their experiment. In some cases they won't know what the user needs until they arrive at the facility so they have to work quickly and effectively with the user to get the experiment working and the required results in the narrow timeframe. Without our team of dedicated engineers we would not be able to offer 24 hours of beamline access and our precise schedule would fall apart.  

“It's incredibly satisfying to set up a complex experiment for our world-leading scientists and see how we've helped deliver a successful set of results." – Jamie Nutter, Electrical Support Section Leader. 

Our team don't just focus on the maintenance of the facility. Software engineer Sarah Medley joined ISIS in May 2020, working on the accelerator control system. While Sarah's main role is focused on the control room, she was also a vital part of the work ISIS performed whilst in the pandemic. Sarah was involved in an extremely important project that saw the STFC develop low-cost ventilators​ that were designed to be an aid to help with the fight against COVID-19 in developing countries around the world.

As well as helping with the pandemic, our engineers here are also committed to the important cause of helping our environment. Olli Tarvainen joined ISIS in 2018, his role is a mixture of both physics and engineering. Alongside colleague Ben Shepherd their project on ion beam analysis​ was successful in obtaining funding from the new STFC Environmental Sustainability Concept Fund (ESCF), which is a new initiative to help enable positive environmental impact alongside the world class innovation that comes from the STFC. They aim to use this funding to help innovate new ways to turn research into real-world solutions and technologies to help achieve the goal of net-zero.

I think STFC should take the lead in this country to develop prototypes for sustainable technologies. It is exactly what STFC has the expertise and know-how on! – Olli Tarvainen​

For more information on what it's like to be an engineer at ISIS, watch our recent video, featuring Jamie and Sarah among others, and visit our engineering careers page​. 


Contact: de Laune, Rosie (STFC,RAL,ISIS)