Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC242547
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 research department containing two high power lasers (Vulcan and Gemini) and several medium and lower power lasers. Researchers from the UK, EU and around the world come to use our facilities to carry out a wide range of cutting edge experiments in the physical sciences, materials research and life science. The high power lasers are focussed to very high intensities to create extreme conditions comparable to the centre of a star. This incredible environment allows users to carry out fundamental experiments exploring relativistic plasmas, fusion mechanisms for energy production and laboratory astrophysics. In the near future we expect to be able to utilise radiation and accelerated particles from the plasma for application to societal issues such as ion and electron oncology, medical radiography and security screening.

The Gemini facility invite applicants for this position working within our Target Area team alongside our visiting scientists. During this placement there will be opportunities to participate in and support the variety of high power laser-plasma interactions experiments that are performed with Gemini. In addition, there will be several short and long term projects based on both diagnostic development and implementation, to maintain Gemini’s world leading capabilities.


The work undertaken in the target areas change with each experiment and can vary from sourcing equipment to the design and running of plasma diagnostics and data analysis from experiments. You will be expected to undertake several projects during the year that improve diagnosis of experiments, or the facilities that deliver them, in order to help Gemini maintain its world-leading capabilities. Project ideas from the candidate are always welcomed. The work is fast paced and can be very demanding at times, but a friendly, informal working environment is maintained throughout.

A placement within HPL Target Areas offers an excellent opportunity to participate in an exciting research environment pushing the boundaries of science, as well as honing your personal skills and knowledge in science education and self-management.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

You must have a good grasp of basic physics concepts (e.g. optics, electromagnetism), be able to apply their 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. Previous experience in a customer facing environment and 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
  • have customer facing experience
  • management and people skills from hobbies or previous work experience.



  • good understanding of basic physics concepts (optics, electromagnetism, lasers)
  • excellent 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: