About the Role

Put simply, we set the standards by which everything is measured. In doing so, the National Physical Laboratory is helping to combat issues on a global scale such as climate change, curing diseases and the development of cutting-edge communications technology. 

The UK’s National Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry Imaging (NiCE-MSI) at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is a world-class centre advancing measurement capability and developing metrology to improve reproducibility,supporting the uptake into industry and academia.

You’ll plan and deliver a number of technical activities to take our research to the next level. As we’re pushing boundaries all the time, we’ll expect you to acquire new knowledge to find solutions to advance our research. It’s your responsibility to share your learnings so that we all benefit, mentoring those with less experience than you. Equally, if commercial opportunities arise from your work, you’ll need to flag these – as this is how new products and services are born. The same can be said for developing partnerships to strengthen our capability. You’ll also act as an ambassador for our work externally and be willing to promote what we do. And, as an expert in your field, we’ll also seek your technical support for any bids we may be undertaking.

About You

We are now seeking highly motived full-time Research Scientists and Higher-Research scientists to join our team to advance measurement capability,focusing on secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). You will be joining a multidisciplinary team of physicists, chemists, biologists, and computational scientists working in mass spectrometry imaging with a focus on metrology. NiCE-MSI has one of the largest ranges of state-of-the-art mass spectrometry imaging techniques worldwide including Time of Flight (ToF) SIMS, NanoSIMS, DESI MSI and MALDI MSI instrumentation aswell as techniques created by NPL such as the OrbiSIMS. We are looking for candidates that can work independently and have a strong interest in experimental work and with experience of working in a laboratory environment.


The roles will involve:

  • Use of Time of Flight (ToF)SIMS and OrbiSIMS instruments on a variety of sample types.
  • Opportunity to collaborate and train with colleagues specialising in other mass spectrometry techniques and computational science. 
  • Advancing Cryo-OrbiSIMS for native-state biomedical imaging and the development of protocols for correlative imaging with other techniques.
  • Metrology for SIMS characterisation of advanced materials including 2D materials, semiconductors,organic electronics, battery and hydrogen storage materials. 
  • Working with and supporting academic and industrial partners to help meet their measurement challenges.
  • Delivery of commercial measurement services and bespoke consultancy projects to industrial and academic customers.
  • Writing articles for publication in leading scientific journals.


A background in mass spectrometry imaging is helpful but not a prerequisite since training can be provided. For the Higher Research Scientist roles, a demonstrated ability to problem solve, analyse and interpret data and the preparation of publications is important. For the Research Scientist role the ability to work with complex instrumentation is advantageous. 


Skills required:

  • PhD in physics, chemistry, biology or material science (Higher Research Scientist) or a university undergraduate degree for Research Scientist.
  • For the Biomedical (OrbiSIMS and ToF-SIMS) imaging position experience in biological studies and sample preparation is advantageous.
  • For the advanced materials characterisation position previous relevant research experience is helpful.
  • Strong communication and presentation skills in English, both written and spoken.
  • A demonstrated ability to write publications (Higher Research Scientist)  


At NPL we learn from each other, respect each other and work together to do better. For ourselves and for our customers. And whilst we’re always looking to stretch beyond what we know, we don’t make things more complicated when there’s no need. Together, we’re helping make the impossible, possible.

About The Company

NPL and BEIS have strong commitments to diversity and equality of opportunity, and welcome applications from candidates irrespective of their background, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, or age, providing they meet the required criteria. Applications from women, disabled and BAME candidates in particular are encouraged. All disabled candidates (as defined by the Equality Act 2010) who satisfy the minimum criteria for the role will be guaranteed an interview under the Disability Confident Scheme.

We’re transforming. As a national laboratory, we’re exploring even more commercial routes to market and that’s presenting us with greater opportunity – for you and us. Our success relies on the diversity and talent of our people, we strive to nurture and respect individuals to ensure everyone feels valued and supported to excel in their chosen field. This value is at the core of our organisation.

We believe in a culture of fairness by treating everyone on the basis of their own individual merits and abilities regardless of their own or perceived identity, background or any other factor irrelevant to a person’s work. At NPL we are committed to the health and well-being of our employees. Flexible working and social activities are embedded in our culture to create a positive work-life balance, along with a broad range of benefitsNPL’s values are at the heart of what we do and they shape the way we interact, develop our people and celebrate success.

As part of our commitment to diversity & inclusion, we signed up to the Institute of Physics' Project Juno in 2015 as a Juno Supporter. NPL were proud to be awarded Juno Practitioner status in 2018. NPL also joined Stonewall as a Diversity champion in 2015, participating in their annual Workplace Equality Index for the equality of LGBT+ community at NPL. In 2018, NPL became a member of the Business Disability Forum and joined the disability confident scheme as level 1 committed employer.

To ensure everyone has an equal chance, we’re always willing to make reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process. If you would like to discuss, please contact us.