Principal Beamline Scientist - VMXi

About Us

Diamond Light Source is the UK’s national 3rd generation synchrotron science facility. By accelerating electrons to near light-speed, Diamond generates brilliant beams of light from infra-red to X-rays which are used for academic and industry research and development across a range of scientific disciplines including structural biology, physics, chemistry, materials science, engineering, earth and environmental sciences. 

Diamond is one of the most advanced scientific facilities in the world, and its pioneering capabilities and talented staff are helping to keep the UK at the forefront of scientific research.  

About the Role

VMXi is a unique macromolecular crystallography beamline within Diamond, designed specifically for automated data collection from in situ crystallisation experiments and is highly adaptable to serial data collection methods. 

We now have three new opportunities for Principal Beamline Scientists to join our team, including for an internationally recognised structural biologist and/or methods development expert to take up this role at group leader level for the VMXi Beamline, to guide and develop the newly established facility. 

In the role of Principal Beamline Scientist (PBS) you will supervise a small team of scientists to establish a competitive research programme which exploits the capabilities of VMXi and Diamond and contribute to the development and operation of the international user programme at VMXi and the MX group more broadly. 

The post is underpinned by funding for a post-doctoral research associate linked to the role, subject to a suitable case being made to support research and development within the group. Furthermore, Diamond has a successful PhD programme and is strategically partnered with a number of doctoral training centres across the UK providing  the opportunity for PhD studentships ( You will have access to state-of-the-art laboratories for structural and cellular biology embedded at Diamond and within the Research Complex at Harwell to pursue your research. 

Instrumentation and software development is facilitated by dedicated support from Diamond’s computing, engineering and scientific software groups as well as partnerships with CCP4 and the recently established Rosalind Franklin Institute (who are close partners of the HeXI project) amongst others. We expect candidates to apply for external grant funding through national and international funding agencies to take full advantage of the stimulating and exciting research environment at Diamond. 

VMXi is equipped with Formulatrix plate hotels linked via robotics to the data collection system for automated screening and data collection from crystallisation plates, coordinated for users via the ISPyB SynchWeb interface. High flux (10e14 ph/s) x-rays are available via a double multilayer monochromator as well as from a more conventional double crystal monochromator (10e12 ph/s). This opens up significant potential to explore serial data collection methods alongside in situ data collection coupled with the advanced Eiger2 X 4M detector. The beamline is currently in the optimisation stage of its user programme for in situ experiments, being able to collect rotation data from thousands of samples at room temperature at very high data rates and is in early commissioning developments of its serial crystallography capabilities, presenting a unique opportunity for this role to develop methodologies and a complementary user programme for room temperature crystallography with these sample delivery methods. 

The macromolecular crystallography (MX) group at Diamond comprises 7 world-class MX beamlines with unique capabilities and is complemented by dedicated beamlines for BIOSAXS, CD, X-ray imaging and spectroscopy, IR-microspectroscopy and the UK’s national Cryo-EM centre (eBIC). The MX group at Diamond established the first dedicated synchrotron-based labs for X-ray fragment screening (X-Chem) and membrane proteins (MPL).  In addition, the UK XFEL hub provides a focus for XFEL work, engaging UK users in serial crystallography experiments around the world, and directs UK developments at the SPB/SFX instrument at the European XFEL. The MX group has a strong software development programme which includes development of the DIALS integration software package, ISPyB/SynchWeb and automation pipelines.  

For informal queries about the role, please contact Dave Hall.

About You

You will hold appropriate first and higher degrees or demonstrate significant equivalent experience. 

You will be a highly talented structural biologist or methods development expert, with expertise in macromolecular crystallographic techniques as applied at synchrotron beamlines, and a broad outlook in structural biology. 

Experience of beamline instrumentation and/or sample environment equipment, in situ and/or serial crystallography and programming, especially python and java, will benefit your application. 

You will demonstrate skills in managing a small team, as well as a managing a budget and other resources for research and operations and upgrade projects. 

You will have demonstrated ability to develop a research programme, and to lead significant projects. 

You will display excellent interpersonal, communication and presentational skills, to interact effectively with staff and stakeholders at all levels. 


Diamond offers an exceptional benefits package to support staff in achieving a positive work/life balance. This includes 25 days annual leave plus 13 days of statutory and company holidays, along with flexible working hours and an excellent pension scheme. Staff also have access to a range of amenities on site including a nursery, cafes, a restaurant and sports and leisure facilities. A relocation allowance may also be available where applicable. 

To Apply

Applicants are required to outline their suitability for this role via the online application process. Please also state where you saw this role advertised. 

Diamond is a thriving international organisation, attracting a diverse range of talented individuals from around the world. Our staff currently comprises 39 nationalities and we welcome applications from everyone interested in joining us.

Business Area
Full Time Salary
£55,097 to £64,821 per annum (Discretionary range to £74,545)
Post Type
Full time / Permanent
Closing Date
Ref No


Other information


Where relevant, and possible for the role, we will consider flexible working arrangements and secondment opportunities.

Diamond attract talented individuals from around the world and currently employ 39 different nationalities.  Reflecting trends in our sector we employ more men than women (78% men and 22% women as at 5 April 2019). Therefore, in accordance with law and good practice, we particularly welcome applications from suitably qualified women. 

If you are disabled and would like to be considered under the Guaranteed Interview Scheme, please let us know via the online application process.

Diamond are members of Working Families (the UK’s work-life balance organisation), we have also achieved the Athena SWAN Bronze award and Disability Confident Level One.