Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC242512
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 Centre for Environmental Data Analysis (CEDA), within STFC’s RAL Space Department, serves the environmental science community hosting data centres providing access to datasets ranging from computer simulations of future climate to the latest satellite-based observations of the earth. CEDA is involved in a number of collaborative projects working with organisations including the Met Office, European Space Agency and NASA developing software and systems to facilitate access to, and analysis of, environmental data. Our data and computing services are hosted on the world-class multi-petabyte parallel processing and storage facilities JASMIN and CEMS, incorporating cloud and High Performance Computing technologies.

Summary of Key Duties

CEDA can offer a 1-year Sandwich Student Software Development post to a candidate interested in gaining first-hand experience of working in a vibrant field of scientific data handling and delivery.

Within a Linux-based computing environment, you will work primarily with the Python programming language. Web and scientific programming may also be required, depending on experience, using a range of other languages such as Java, JavaScript, C and FORTRAN.

CEDA develops and manages a range of data-centric activities that this post might be involved with, including:

  • web applications/services to allow scientists to discover and access data sets
  • services for processing and analysing Atmospheric Science and Earth Observation data including parallelisation and workflow management
  • the JASMIN cloud platform and associated tools
  • cataloguing tools to enable searching and browsing of detailed scientific metadata
  • data analytics, visualisation and sub-setting tools
  • packaging and deployment tools.

Within CEDA a wide variety of technologies and tools are being employed/explored. These include:

  • web: Django, Pyramid, Tomcat, Bootstrap
  • databases: PostgreSQL, SQLite, ElasticSearch, Apache Solr
  • processing/parallelisation: Platform LSF batch compute scheduler, OGC Web Processing Service
  • packaging/deployment: Python Pip and virtualenv, RPM, Conda, Docker
  • virtualisation/cloud: VMware vCloud Director, OpenStack (future), object store technologies, container orchestration technologies e.g. SWARM, Kubernetes
  • data: cf-python, Iris, Matplotlib, NetCDF4, R, CDO, NCO.


The role will involve a range of tasks that might include:

  • maintenance of existing software systems
  • development of scripts and tools to perform data management and analysis
  • design and development of larger software systems/applications
  • development of Django (python) web-applications and web APIs
  • interactions with scientists/developers
  • development of tools for working with large data sets and batch processing systems
  • exploratory work with new technologies.

For more information about the role please contact Ag Stephens (

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

We are looking for a candidate with Python programming skills who is keen to develop software solutions to support the scientific community in working with the Big Data archives we manage. Suitable candidates will be undertaking a relevant degree in Computer Science or Engineering, or another relevant Scientific discipline with a strong mathematical component. We are looking for someone who is keen to gain experience of working on real projects and is able to work independently and within a team. You should possess good problem-solving and analytical skills.




  • 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 undertaking a degree in Computer Science or Engineering, or another relevant scientific discipline with a strong mathematical component.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience



  • programming in Python
  • working in a Linux environment
  • principles of software development
  • experience of writing and testing software.


  • robust software engineering methodologies including test-driven development, code review and continuous integration
  • experience with web development frameworks particularly Django
  • exposure to NoSQL database solutions such as Elastic Search and Apache Solr
  • exposure to software for the deployment of virtualisation and cloud computing infrastructure e.g. OpenStack, VMware, Docker, and object store technologies e.g. Ceph
  • technologies for parallel processing for example, Hadoop
  • any exposure to meteorology, climate science, Earth sciences, Earth observation or scientific computing
  • experience of working with scientific data
  • experience of working with Big Data.

Personal Skills, Qualities and Attributes


  • 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.


  • good communication skills.

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: