Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC242491
Location Didcot See on Map
Salary £18946 - £18946
Date Posted 25 August 2017
Grade RC-STU
Contract Type Student - Sandwich Course
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 30 October 2017
Interview Date

Salary: £18,946
Grade: RC-STU
Contract Type: Fixed Term for 1 year
Hours: Full Time
Closing Date: 30th October 2017
Interview Date: 28th and 29th November 2017


The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest science research organisations. We’re trusted to support, enable and undertake pioneering projects in an amazing diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving ground-breaking advances in science and technology.

Each year we offer opportunities to undergraduate sandwich students to gain practical experience, working alongside technical experts at the forefront of scientific research. We offer an invaluable experience with exposure to world class science and technology, and the opportunity to develop working relationships that continue well after your placement has finished.

RAL Space, based at the STFC's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), carries out a range of world-class space research and technology development. RAL has had significant involvement in over 200 space missions and are at the forefront of Space research in the UK. RAL Space provides space instrumentation testing and ground-based facilities; it has expertise in instrument design and fabrication as well as data processing, analysis and curation facilities.  RAL Space operates S- and X-band ground-station facilities, as well as leading conceptual studies for future missions. RAL Space works with space and ground-based groups around the world.

The Earth Observation and Atmospheric Sciences Division within RAL Space are seeking to recruit two physicists to work in the development of optical systems for remote sensing applications.

You will work within the Radiometry Group which has interests in all aspects of the collection and processing of satellite and field instrument data, particularly in the visible to infrared wavelength range, including instrumentation and instrument calibration, the derivation of radiance and higher level geophysical products, and data validation. 

Summary of Key Duties

You are required to develop and run code that will process satellite and instrument data to improve the accuracy of Sentinel 3 data. It is expected that you will work with novel techniques to help analyse Earth Observation data relating to climate change. Therefore you will be expected to work on a variety of different elements of this including:

  • write algorithms that can process optical datasets
  • develop and test new satellite processing algorithms 
  • work with satellite hardware to interpret instrument data with respect to space data.


You will be processing data sets associated with satellite remote sensing systems and will be using and developing mathematical and statistical analysis tools.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

A high level of interpersonal and presentation skills is essential. You should have a high level of self-motivation with an ability to multitask and prioritise work.




  • at university, enrolled on an undergraduate degree course and required or have requested to take a year out of studies to gain experience within industry 
  • right to live and work in the UK.


  • computer programming ability, particularly for the development of algorithms in a high level language and their application to instrument data.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • laboratory experience in collecting and interpreting data 
  • experience using computers and performing mathematical manipulation for data analysis 
  • experience of programming language.


  • high level of experience and knowledge of the python programming language.

Personal Skills, Qualities and Attributes


  • good spoken and written communication skills, particularly the ability to present clearly the analysis of complex problems
  • high level of attention to detail and an ability to accurately following strict methodologies to carry out analyses.

In addition to the competitive salary, an excellent index linked pension scheme and generous leave allowance are offered. Full details of offered benefits can be found on STFC’s careers pages.

From April 2018, STFC will be part of UK Research and Innovation. UK Research and Innovation will bring together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England. The aim is to create a system that maximises the contribution of each of the component parts and creates the best environment for research and innovation to flourish. The vision for the new organisation is to be the best research and innovation agency in the world. More information can be found online here.

Applications are handled by UK Shared Business Services. To apply please download the application form and save it to your pc. You must upload the completed form and a covering letter to support your application. Please save all your documents with the IRC reference number in the filename and your name.

STFC Sandwich Student Application Form

You must be on a sandwich degree and be taking the industrial placement as a recognised sandwich year to be eligible. You must also have the right to work in the UK. Please ensure that you include a reference from your University as part of your application form.

You can apply for up to three Sandwich student placements; this will require you to complete ONE application form however please ensure that you upload the application form to all three placements and save the relevant reference number (e.g. IRC205817) in the filename of each application that you upload.

Closing date: 30th October 2017
Interview/assessment date: 28th – 29th November 2017

As this job does not fulfil the Home Office Code of Practice criterion for obtaining sponsored migrant worker status we will be unable to apply for sponsorship for anyone not eligible to work in the UK.  At interview, all shortlisted candidates are required to bring with them identification documents and original documents that prove they hold or can obtain the right to work in the UK. You can check your eligibility here: