Fellowship programme brings on the next generation of STFC researchers

11 July 2017

A new cohort of post-doctoral fellows have joined the teams across STFC departments thanks to the Rutherford International Fellowship Programme (RIFP).

RIFP is an EU-funded programme which provides two-year fellowships for the brightest and best early-career researchers to work alongside STFC scientists and within STFC facilities across the UK.

Twelve RIFP fellows have been appointed this year, with details of their projects below. They will all take up their posts in STFC over the next few months and their work will vary from exploration of new technologies for particle accelerators through to using neutrons to study archaeological objects; and from studies of intergalactic dust through to investigation of plasma wave turbulence in the Earth’s magnetosphere.

Dr Philip King from STFC’s ISIS neutron and muon research facility and the co-ordinator of the RIFP programme, said: “The research topics of the new wave of RIFP fellows span STFC departments and facilities, and their work will cover a very diverse range of subject areas. It is exciting that we can attract excellent early-career researchers, who gain a unique training experience whilst contributing to STFC’s science and technology programmes.”

There will soon be a final call for fellowship applications under the current EU grant when a further 11 fellowships will be available (the deadline for applications for this will be 29 September 2017). The RIFP programme, funded under a five-year Marie-Sklodowska Curie COFUND grant to STFC (worth €2.54M), will provide 36 post-doctoral fellowships over a five-year period.

Case study: Jacob Linacre

Jacob Linacre at his computer

Jacob Linacre
(Credit: STFC)

Jacob has come from Fermilab, the US particle physics and accelerator laboratory, where he has been studying the fundamental properties of the universe which are revealed through CERN experiments.

His experience includes working on the CDF experiment at the Tevatron and more recently on the CMS experiment at CERN.

His project involves studying the behaviour of the top quark, the heaviest fundamental particle in the current standard particle physics model. He now has an opportunity to continue his research career based at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the particle physics department (PPD).

Jacob said: “It's exciting to join a laboratory that is central to the UK science programme, working with the STFC experts here will expand my horizons both in the realm of my current research interests and in developing new technologies for future research.”


Case study: Ashley Hughes

Ashley Hughes stoof in a lab with equipment

Ashley Hughes
(Credit: STFC)

Ashley is a biochemist who previously studied for his PhD at Diamond Light Source, which looked at developing the techniques used for the analysis of protein. His research took him to the University of Gothenburg where he studied proteins in the infrared, using time-resolved X-ray solution scattering.

Now, under the RIFP, Ashley is returning to Diamond to use the B23 circular dichroism beamline. He looks to develop a time-resolved pump-probe circular dichroism to study the secondary structural changes in proteins after a perturbation through a laser pulse.

Ashley explained why he wanted to return to Diamond for the fellowship: “The equipment makes the experiment possible, the only other ways of doing this involve high powered lasers in specialist labs – this opens up the facility I’m building to a wide range of academics.”


Case study: Charilaos Kourogiorgas

Close up of Charilaos Kourogiorgas

Charilaos Kourogiorgas
(Credit: STFC)

Charilaos is also joining one of the teams on the Harwell Campus as part of the programme, as he hopes to utilise the high quality radio propagation and meteorological data of STFC’s RAL Space.

Charilaos is working on advanced radio propagation modelling for high throughput satellite systems – modelling the radio channel for Ka- and Q/V- band Earth-space links. He will make use of the data coming from the RAL Space beacon receivers located at the Harwell Campus and Chilbolton, as well as the data coming from the meteorological instruments located at Chilbolton.

Speaking about why he signed up for the programme, Charilaos said: “STFC has several years of experience on the topic of my research project. Moreover, it has a unique and very large database for the propagation studies including not only the required radio channel measurements but also a very large meteorological database.

“Finally, the working environment and working conditions in STFC aid researchers to advance further their career.”


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie grant agreement No 665593 awarded to the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

More information on last year’s cohort.

Particle Physics Department.

Diamond Light Source.

RAL Space.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000