Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC242508
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 Neutron and Muon Source Materials Characterisation Laboratory (MCL) boasts a wide range of instrumentation and analytical equipment used by the ISIS User community and staff, as well as other research staff on the RAL campus. This suite of instruments allows a wealth of physical property information to be obtained. The instruments include a Single Crystal X-ray Diffractometer, Powder and thin film X-ray Diffractometers, an X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (XRF), an Atomic Force Microscope, a Magnetic Property Measurement System (SQUID), Physical Property Measurement System and a Kerr microscope.

This position will offer you an excellent opportunity to use and develop the skills you have acquired at university whilst learning many new ones on the way. The main focus of the work will be method development, so that the lab’s full capability can be exploited. You will also have the opportunity to get involved with a number of collaborative science projects with ISIS Users and Staff.

Summary of Key Duties/Responsibilities

Within the laboratory support team you will develop the following new methods:

  • commission and optimise a newly acquired Laue X-ray instrument for aligning crystals in preparation for further offline and ISIS beamtime experiments
  • develop methodology for a new single crystal X-ray diffractometer to aid in pre-screening of ISIS beamtime samples
  • variable temperature AC. Transport measurements for solids on the Physical Property Measurement System (PPMS)
  • commission and optimise a method for an X-ray diffraction (XRD) utilising a new furnace capable of high pressure, in situ reactive gases and high temperature measurements
  • build and develop a Ferromagnetic Resonance experiment suitable for both in lab experiments and as an experimental setup on one of the neutron beamlines.  This will involve pursuing new research into methods not currently available at ISIS
  • develop methodology for a benchtop X-ray diffraction instrument (XRD) suitable for pre-screening samples and complimentary measurements to beamline instruments, with exploring its full capabilities of different options and temperature stages.

You will be expected to test these methods on a range of samples and produce documentation for use by future users of the instrumentation. You may also have the opportunities to attend neutron beamline experiments, aid website development, and learn new techniques in the other ISIS support laboratories.

You will be working directly with Support Labs management, and regularly liaising with facility scientists and external users.

You must be enthusiastic and highly motivated. You should be able to work well as part of a team as well as working independently. A strong interest in physical sciences and working in a laboratory environment is essential.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

You are expected to be currently on a science based course, currently obtaining a 2:1 level degree or above.



  • 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 
  • current 2:1 science degree results or above.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • laboratory experience
  • work experience.

Personal Skills, Qualities and Attributes


  • good communication skills
  • demonstrate good team working capabilities
  • the willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical
  • open minded and flexible in relation to the type of work assigned to them.

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: