ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, STFC

UK SBS IT16205 MANTID data reduction framework - phase 3

Incomplete applications

Incomplete applications

Completed applications

Completed applications
6 SME, 2 large
Important dates
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Published Thursday 29 September 2016
Deadline for asking questions Thursday 6 October 2016 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications Thursday 13 October 2016 at 11:59pm GMT


Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Summary of the work Provide a flexible team of project manager plus software developers (2-4) to support phase 3 of MANTID to implement new analysis capabilities. MANTID delivers powerful, robust, open and maintainable code to enable users of large scale facilities to turn data into high value scientific output.
Latest start date 12/12/2016
Expected contract length 2 years
Location South East England
Organisation the work is for ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, STFC
Budget range The total value of this requirement is up to £1400000.00 exclusive of VAT

About the work

About the work
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Why the work is being done ISIS Neutron and Muon Source has been developing MANTID, as part of an international collaboration to support the data reduction and analysis of neutron scattering and muon data at ISIS and other Neutron and Muon sources, supporting and developing the framework to leverage the data from the current and future generations of materials science facilities. Phases 1 and 2 of Mantid have been rolled out. Work is now required for phase 3.
Problem to be solved Instrument improvements and changes to experimental design and analysis workflows require continual improvement in the data reduction and analysis framework in order to extract the greatest scientific impact from materials science experiments. The challenge is multi facted in complexity, scientific domain knowledge and scale. Working as part of an international collaboration requires a wider view of the benefit and risks of potential approaches to all parties. A team is required to support the in-house team to deliver this.
Who the users are and what they need to do The users of the system are research scientists, some of whom are based full-time at ISIS; others are visiting scientists from universities and other research institutes making short-term use of ISIS facilities. Their needs can be summarised as: As a scientist, I need to extract the scientific data from my instrumental data, and from that understanding of the properties, or dynamics of the material being studied, this must be done in a timely manner so that I can get the best value out of the limited and highly valuable time on the instrument.
Early market engagement N/A
Any work that’s already been done The Mantid framework has been under development for 9 years. Phases 1 and 2 are in use at 7 neutron and Muon Facilities worldwide, and supports the majority of instruments at the ISIS facility. The Mantid framework architecture is as follows: * a Central Mantid C++ framework supporting the computation and analysis for the system. * a comprehensive and deep integration layer with Python allowing efficient scripting usage. * an extensive general graphical user interface supporting ad hoc analysis as well as hosting specific user interfaces for more common analysis workflows.
Existing team The supplier's team will be expected to work on-site, alongside the existing MANTID team at ISIS.
Current phase Live

Work setup

Work setup
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Address where the work will take place ISIS Neutron and Muon Source STFC, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Harwell Didcot OX11 0QX. Some travel to international partner sites will be required.
Working arrangements The supplier team will work on-site at ISIS, alongside the STFC MANTID team. The supplier should provide a flexible team - the exact size and skills mix of the team required is expected to change during the course of the project. ISIS will provide office accommodation, development software, hardware and infrastructure.
Security clearance Security clearance is not required. Suppliers should provide Disclosure Scotland references for their staff.

Additional information

Additional information
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Additional terms and conditions None

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Skills and experience
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
Essential skills and experience
  • Management of large scale open source projects (~2M lines of code)
  • Project management in a technologically complex, scientific research environment.
  • Leadership and collaboration across a world wide distributed development team.
  • Leading and working in teams using Scrum and other Agile techniques.
  • Management of mixed teams (composed of customer staff, supplier staff and staff from 3rd party organisations)
  • Cooperating and collaborating with other ISIS or external projects.
  • Driving overall delivery and liaising with other parties to ensure success.
  • Development of software in a scientific research environment using: - C/C++, - Python, in a cross platform environment (Windows, Linux, Mac)
  • Experience of developing large open source C++ project
  • Deep understanding of integration between python and C++
  • Software testing (automated and manual testing)
  • Design of user interfaces
  • Experience of advanced 3D visualisation techniques for >3D data
  • Comfortable discussing technically complex ideas with scientists and technicians.
  • Client-Server based software solutions
  • Distributed computing solutions
  • Large data volume software solutions
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Algorithmic optimization methods, including application of complex constraints
  • Simultaneous functional fitting to multiple datasets
  • Experience and understanding of materials science techniques
  • Experience of interfacing with ICat, GSAS and molecular dynamics codes
  • Long term support and project continuity
  • Have a strong scientific or technical background (e.g. a Scientific or Engineering degree or higher).

How suppliers will be evaluated

How suppliers will be evaluated
Opportunity attribute name Opportunity attribute value
How many suppliers to evaluate 5
Proposal criteria
  • The proposed technical solution
  • The proposed approach and methodology
  • How the approach or solution meets user needs
  • Team structure and organisational makeup
  • Value for money of the proposed solution
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work with ISIS staff as a member of the Mantid team, and integrate well with the wider collaboration.
  • Actively contribute to the improvement of MANTID for the benefit of its users
  • Contribute and collaborate in improving software development processes and practices at ISIS
  • Be comfortable participating in and collaborating on complex scientific activities with scientists, both locally and remotely.
  • Ability to work as part of a widely distributed team involving international collaborators
Payment approach Time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

Questions asked by suppliers
Supplier question Buyer answer
1. Could you please let us know if the incumbent supplier has carried out phases 1&2? May we know who the incumbent supplier is? After confirmation of the contract, are we expected to work onsite or there are elements of work that could be executed offsite/offshore? Yes, the incumbent supplier has carried out parts of phases 1&2 together with the in-house team.
We cannot confirm who the incumbent supplier is. A list of suppliers approved under this lot can be found via this link: After confirmation of the contract the team would be expected to work on-site apart from a small number of off-site meetings/conferences.
2. As the framework has been under development for nine years, have any suppliers been involved in its development and, if so, how many in each of the previous phases? One supplier has been involved in the development of the framework for all of the previous phases.