Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC242513
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 Central Laser Facility based at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is a world leading, cutting edge research department containing high power lasers, Vulcan and Astra Gemini, as well as materials sciences and life sciences groups using medium and low power lasers. Researchers from the UK, EU and other countries world-wide come to use our facilities to carry out experiments requiring  high power lasers on a variety of applied and blue skies topics, such as ion source development for medical application, fusion mechanisms for energy, x-ray source development for ultra-fast imaging, laboratory astrophysics, photo-induced nuclear reactions, to name a few.

Placement positions working within the High Power Laser (HPL) Target Area teams alongside our visiting scientists are being offered, with an emphasis on participation in, as well as planning and support of, high power laser-plasma interactions experiments. In addition there will be several short and long term projects based on both diagnostic development and implementation.


From the outset, our research scientist will be tasked with investigating specific research challenges being encountered by our group. In our quickly evolving field, new research opportunities present themselves frequently and your research is likely to be based on the development of novel and existing diagnostics of laser plasma interactions. These fleeting sub-picosecond interactions are highly nonlinear in nature and require new methods to probe the interaction dynamics to advance our interpretation of the field; in the past, many high impact discoveries have resulted from novel methods of diagnosing the interactions and this is a theme we aim to continue.

You will have the opportunity to field their developed diagnostics on state of the art experiments, awarded time from highly competitive access processes within the academic community. You will be responsible for developing analysis algorithms for their diagnostics in Matlab for example, and through the knowledge obtained from detailed analysis of the experimental results, you will have the opportunity to identify your own research interests as the project evolves. We therefore require a motivated candidate, with a strong interest in applying their individual and obtained knowledge to drive the research project forward.

Based on experimental results, you will have access to modest scientific computational resources, allowing you to carry out numerical investigations on interesting observations.

This is an opportunity to become a fully active team member in our research group, and to contribute to a fast growing research field.

Contacts and Communication

The position is in a team environment working directly with researchers and PhD students in the experimental science group, as well as target area teams and external researchers from mostly UK/EU universities.


You must have a good grasp of basic physics concepts (e.g. optics, electromagnetism), be able to apply your knowledge to new topics and be adept in the lab. An interest and previous experience in programming is useful, but not essential. Good communications skills are essential, the ability to work autonomously and in a team. Drive and an enthusiasm for science are definitely a positive attribute. The ability to manage self and others would be beneficial.



  • enrolled at university studying for a degree in physics, applied physics, engineering physics, or natural sciences with high physics content, any of which must also contain lab work modules (and have achieved good grades to date overall)
  • right to live and work in the UK.


  • programming skills/interest in programming
  • management and people skills from hobbies or previous work experience.



  • good understanding of basic physics concepts (optics, electromagnetism)
  • good practical laboratory skills.


  • appreciation/awareness of Health and Safety.




  • good communication skills
  • the willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical
  • demonstrate good team working capabilities
  • 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: