Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC242499
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.

The ISIS pulsed neutron and muon source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences. It is owned and operated by the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

The Support Laboratories team are here to help with the equipment and general procedures in the preparation of samples for beamline experiments. They also offer assistance in supplementary analytical and characterisation techniques related to beamline experiments, as well as help with health and safety issues.

Based within the ISIS Support Laboratories, the ISIS Deuteration Facility is a synthetic chemistry group that synthesise deuterated materials for the ISIS user community. The materials requested are wide ranging, so the synthetic skills of the team are varied. The laboratory has a wide range of synthetic and analytical equipment.

Please look here for more information on the support laboratories and the deuteration facility:

Summary of Key Duties

This is an organic synthetic project focused on developing and optimising chemical deuteration methods. It will be entirely lab based, working in the main deuteration laboratory. The lab has an established track record of providing certain classes of chemical compound (e.g. surfactants, fatty acids etc.) but the dynamic nature of the ISIS User Programme means that new requests for isotopic materials can be far wider ranging and beyond any current established programmes of work within the group.

Your duties will focus on establishing synthetic routes to compounds not routinely provided by the deuteration facility, specifically isotopically-substituted carbohydrates. Your work will follow standard practices in the lab, developing and optimising synthetic procedures where appropriate, performing analysis of reaction outcomes and product purity by standard analytical techniques such as NMR and Mass Spectroscopy and conforming to health and safety requirements through writing and assessing your own activities through COSHH assessment.


Based in the ISIS Deuteration Facility, the project will firstly be focussed on the synthesis of deuterated glucose. This is a known route and whilst has been tested on a small scale a larger quantity of material is required to maintain a stock within the facility. The focus will then move to the development of a protocol for the synthesis of galactose. One route that can be explored is a catalytic method that will give partially deuterated carbohydrates, but in order to synthesise a fully deuterated system an alternative approach will need to be taken.

You will be responsible for the day to day running of your project, maintaining laboratory notebooks and associated COSHH and risk assessments. This is a synthetic project and will involve general techniques for reactions, workups and purification. You will also be responsible for analysing the outcome of your reactions with standard analytical equipment (NMR, IR, GCMS, LCMS).

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

Ideally you will have some experience of synthetic practicals as part of your university degree, with some knowledge of COSHH and risk assessments. A working understanding of NMR and Mass Spectroscopy would be advantageous, but not essential.

You should be enthusiastic and keen to learn new techniques. Whilst some of this project is known, the later work will require method development so the ability to adapt to a changing work plan is essential.



  • 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 
  • currently achieving a 2:1 of higher in a relevant degree.


  • grade A/B at Chemistry A’level, and A’levels in Maths, physics or biology.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • Organic and Synthetic Chemistry practicals
  • common techniques for setting up and working up reaction
  • experience with standard purification techniques eg distillation, chromatography.


  • experience with analysing reaction outcome, e.g. NMR, LCMS, GCMS
  • knowledge of good laboratory practise gained from previous laboratory experience
  • experience with chemical databases, eg Scifinder, Reaxys, Web of Science.

Personal Skills, Qualities and Attributes


  • team player
  • good organisational skills
  • keen to learn new techniques
  • registered on a university course currently averaging a 2:1 or higher
  • organic synthetic laboratory experience.


  • ability to prioritise work load
  • good attention to detail and a high degree of accuracy
  • show initiative
  • ability to adapt to a changing working environment.


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: