Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC242557
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 (CLF) at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) is one of the world’s leading laser facilities, providing scientists from the UK and Europe with an unparalleled range of state-of-the-art laser technology.

The CLF’s wide ranging applications include experiments in physics, chemistry and biology, accelerating subatomic particles to high energies, probing chemical reactions on the shortest timescales and studying biochemical and biophysical process critical to life itself.

From advanced, compact, tuneable lasers which can pinpoint individual particles to high power laser installations that recreate the conditions inside stars, a vigorous development programme ensures that our facilities maintain their international competitiveness.

Summary of Key Duties

In July 2018 the CLF’s Artemis Facility will move location and with the ULTRA Facility commission a new state of the art high power femtosecond laser for laser pump and probe measurements. Experiments on Artemis investigate ultra-fast electron dynamics in condensed matter and gas-phase molecules and ULTRA combines laser, detector and sample manipulation technology to probe molecular dynamics on the femtosecond to microsecond timescales in research on proteins, DNA, catalysts and molecular devices.

We seek a sandwich student to work with a team of CLF scientists and engineers to support the commissioning of the new facility.  You will be given the opportunity to experience work at the leading edge of science facility development in areas, including preparation of the laser laboratory infrastructure, development of experimental diagnostics and instrumentation and learning chemical and laser safety.   


  • Lead defined projects in support of the commissioning of the new laser system such as;
    • implementation of optical feedback control to stabilise lasers
    • building optical device to measure the spectral characteristics of the laser
    • interfacing new optomechanical instrumentation with user interface on PC’s   
    • work with the CLF team on the physical move of the Artemis and installation of the new laser 
  • work safely within the laboratory environment.

Given the scope of the work there will be a number of potential projects that you could take on.  This provides flexibility for the local supervisor, a member of the Artemis/Ultra team, to define suitable projects for the student based on their experience. 

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

You should be following a Physics, Physical Chemistry or Engineering Science degree course (or a closely related subject).



  • 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 
  • enrolled in degree in physical or engineering sciences, with grades corresponding to a 2:1 or higher
  • right to live and work in the UK.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • interest in scientific instrumentation and development.


  • knowledge in interfacing instrumentation (oscilloscopes, mechanical devices) to computers
  • programming skills (particularly in Labview).

Personal Skills, Qualities and Attributes


  • highly motivated
  • able to work in a team
  • good communicator
  • able to show initiative.

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: