Awarded to Tessella Limited

Start date: Monday 3 September 2018
Value: £1,396,488.13
Company size: large
UK Research and Innovation

UK SBS IT18126 UKRI-STFC Mantid Phase 4

2 Incomplete applications

1 SME, 1 large

1 Completed application

0 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Published
Wednesday 20 June 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 27 June 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 4 July 2018 at 11:59pm GMT

Overview

Summary of the work
UKRI are seeking provision of a flexible team of project manager plus software developers (2-4) to support phase 4 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
Monday 3 September 2018
Expected contract length
2 years
Location
South East England
Organisation the work is for
UK Research and Innovation
Budget range
The total value of this requirement is up to £1,400,000.00 exclusive of VAT.

About the work

Why the work is being done
STFC’s 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, 2 and 3 of Mantid have been rolled out. Work is now required for phase 4.
Problem to be solved
Neutron and Muon 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-faceted 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
Any work that’s already been done
The Mantid framework has been under development for 10 years. Phases 1 -3 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. The ISIS team consists of approximately 12 members of staff.
Current phase
Live

Work setup

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. The project manager will require roughly annual trips to each partner site (Tennessee, USA; Grenoble, France; Copenhagen, Denmark) and the whole team once per year to one of these sites.
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
Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) required.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions

Skills and experience

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

Essential skills and experience
  • Demonstrate how you will apply your skills and expertise to:
  • Manage large scale open source projects (~2M lines of code) and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project.
  • Undertake agile project management in a technologically complex, scientific research environment and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project.
  • Manage mixed teams (composed of customer staff, supplier staff and staff from 3rd party organisations) and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project.
  • Develop software in a scientific research environment using: - C/C++, - Python, in a cross-platform environment (Windows, Linux, Mac) and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project.
  • Develop large open source C++ and Python projects and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project.
  • Test software (automated and manual testing) and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project.
  • Design user interfaces, including for advanced 3D visualisation techniques for >3D data and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project.
  • Develop distributed and parallel computing solutions and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project.
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate how you will apply your skills and expertise to:
  • Apply algorithmic optimization methods, including application of complex constraints and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project.
  • Apply simultaneous functional fitting to multiple datasets and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project.
  • Understand and utilise materials science techniques and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project.
  • Interface with ICAT, GSAS and molecular dynamics codes and how this will ensure the successful delivery of this project.

How suppliers will be evaluated

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
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate how you will work with ISIS staff as a member of the Mantid team, and integrate well with the wider collaboration throughout this project.
  • Demonstrate how you will contribute and collaborate in improving software development processes and practices at ISIS throughout this project.
  • Demonstrate how you will participate and collaborate on complex scientific activities with scientists, both locally and remotely throughout this project.
  • Demonstrate how you will discuss technically complex ideas with scientists and technicians throughout this project.
  • Demonstrate how you will lead across a worldwide distributed development team involving international collaborators throughout this project.
Payment approach
Time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Case study
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence

60%

Cultural fit

20%

Price

20%

Questions asked by suppliers

1. Is there an incumbent supplier in place?
Yes, an incumbent supplier is in place. The incumbent supplier has been involved in phases 1-3 of the Mantid framework development.