Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC242560
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) is a national laboratory in the UK located at the STFC Rutherford Appleton laboratory. The CLF provides state of the art laser, spectroscopy and imaging facilities for scientific research across all the disciplines in science. The applicant’s role will be to support the operations and scientific development of the Ultra facility – an active and vibrant group within the CLF. The Ultra facility runs some of the most sensitive time resolved infrared spectrometers in the world. It takes spectral “snapshots” of the changes in molecules that occur during reactions all the way down to timescales of 10 million billionths of a second. The facility is visited by scientists from the UK and abroad and used to study the fundamental nature of molecules in research that spans the biosciences to the physical sciences. For example research includes how light sensitive proteins function, how light driven solar cells and catalysts work and how future molecular electronic devices work at the molecular level. This research has the potential to impact a wide range of important technological areas as well as increase our knowledge of fundamental molecular dynamics and chemical reactivity happening all around us.

Summary of Key Duties

You will work with the team operating the Ultra facility. The work will include research and development projects and assisting in the operation of the facility, you will learn practical skills in a laser laboratory with some of the most experienced laser spectroscopists in the UK, skills in purchasing of materials and equipment, skills in safe working in science/chemistry labs and skills in working and interacting with top UK and international research scientists from a range of fields. Projects will be delegated on commencement of the placement according to the needs of the facility and the abilities of the successful candidate. The Ultra team are continuously building, testing and refining new instruments, such as 2D-IR spectrometers, time resolved IR/Raman and imaging spectrometers. In equal measure, applications of these techniques are under continuous development and reflect the broad interests of our user community, which includes photochemistry, photocatalysis, photobiology and protein dynamics. Student projects will therefore involve a mixture of some of the following: laser and instrument development, generation of control/analysis software in Labview, chemistry, sample preparation, spectroscopic measurements and data analysis.    


  • driving several mini-projects in instrumentation and/or chemistry 
  • daily preparation of detectors for user experiments
  • assistance in specific user experiments (e.g. measurement, data collection, data analysis, sample preparation, code development) 
  • assisting in the testing/fixing of scientific equipment
  • procurement of scientific supplies for the facility
  • attendance and participation in operations and science meetings
  • knowledge transfer at end of placement.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

You should have a background in the physical sciences and appropriate to your degree level and a competence/interest in chemistry, condensed matter/molecular physics, biochemical or chemical physics. You should have a basic awareness of lasers and their applications and of optical spectroscopy. Some experience in computer programming/data analysis is desirable. You should be able to demonstrate practical experience obtained in their University laboratory courses.

Practical laboratory or technical experience beyond that obtained on degree course is desirable. 



  • 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
  • achieving 2.1 or higher standard in a relevant degree course 
  • right to live and work in the UK.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • degree-level knowledge of chemistry, biochemistry, condensed matter / molecular physics, biochemical or chemical physics
  • basic awareness of lasers and spectroscopy
  • practical laboratory skills developed from degree course
  • skills in data analysis developed from degree course.


  • practical laboratory or technical experience beyond that obtained on degree course
  • programming experience.


Personal Skills, Qualities and Attributes


  • good communication skills
  • ability to work well independently and as part of a team
  • willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical
  • willingness/ability to work on multiple projects at any one time.

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: