Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC242555
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. Harnessing our world-class facilities and people, we’re driving ground-breaking advances in “state of the art” 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 a placement has completed.

STFC’s Central Laser Facility (CLF) is at the forefront of global development and scientific exploitation of high power lasers. In addition to the high power laser systems operated as user facilities, the CLF is also home to the Centre for Advanced Laser Technology and Applications (CALTA).  CALTA aims to explore novel laser technology and advance high energy laser amplifier technology and applications for science and industry.  CALTA built the world’s first kilowatt-level high energy pulsed diode pumped solid state laser with a world leading 100 J of energy at 10 Hz (1kW) for the HiLASE facility in the Czech Republic and are now building a similar system for the European XFEL (Germany).  CALTA’s DiPOLE10 prototype system provides a valuable experimental laser system platform with which to test new technologies and is under constant development.  The CALTA team of scientists and engineers work on several challenging international projects simultaneously.

Summary of Key Duties

CALTA is beginning an exciting new project to advance high energy laser amplifier technology and applications through designing and building new state-of-the-art systems.  We offer the opportunity to be involved enhancing diagnostic capabilities, supporting the development to operate DiPOLE at higher pulse repetition rates, and playing an active role in experimental campaigns both in the UK, using DiPOLE10, and with our international partners at HiLASE.  The position offered is within a team environment working directly with staff in the CALTA team and CLF engineers. 

You will;

  • support experiments with world renowned scientists and solve problems as they occur
  • operate laser and cryogenic systems
  • analyse data and report your findings to the team by written report and presentations
  • enhance the DiPOLE laser system, both on your own and as part of the team
  • have your own project which will be flexible allowing you opportunities to direct and influence outcomes.


You will be responsible for managing your own time and project to achieve a success.  You will have responsibilities relating to the operation of a novel laser system and supporting cutting edge science to develop the laser and laser applications.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

All training will be provided on the job, during your year within the CALTA group you will develop knowledge of;

  • lasers 
  • cryogenic systems
  • adaptive optic systems
  • common detectors and using oscilloscopes 
  • second and third harmonic generation
  • control systems.



  • at university, enrolled on an undergraduate degree course and are either required or have requested to take a year out of studies to gain experience within industry 
  • right to live and work in the UK 
  • first two years of degree course in physics, chemistry or a closely related subject, with grades corresponding to a 2:1 or higher
  • A-level Maths or equivalent
  • A-level Physics or equivalent
  • GCSE English or equivalent.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • experimental physics or chemistry laboratory course
  • experience of standard computer packages (e.g. Office).


  • computer programming skills
  • experience working in a research or laboratory environment
  • experience working with lasers
  • have taken relevant modules such as
    • Optics/lasers
    • Programming/data analysis.


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: