Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC242561
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.

Target Fabrication is a group at the Central Laser Facility responsible for providing complex objects for use in high-power laser experiments. These objects are at the focal point of high-intensity laser interactions and are often made into complex geometries from novel materials. Target requirements are dependent on experimental requirements and vary broadly from one experimental campaign to the next; the experiments topics span plasma physics and particle acceleration, laboratory astrophysics, and industrial applications opportunities.

In order to create extreme environments the laser is focused to an interaction point comparable to the width of a human hair, the targets that are required have features of the same magnitude.  On this scale manufacture and quality control is extremely challenging. Target Fabrication requires a wide capability of physical and chemical processes, together with advanced characterisation techniques to deliver targets that meet the experiment’s requirements.

Summary of Key Duties
As a placement student at Target Fabrication, you will be tasked with supporting the engineering requirements of the group. Supervised by Target Fabrication and with collaboration from the engineering group at the CLF you will have a mixture of office based 3D modelling work and practical Laboratory work.
It will include CAD modelling for target assembly jigs. Creating a 3D mock-up of target to aid technically challenging assemblies. Use of the 3d printer to create the model you have designed and test assemblies using the jigs. In addition, manufacture of components for thin film coating jigs and trials and target transport solutions.

As part of this work a project will be undertaken to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the 3D printing as a target support material. Work will be carried out to introduce support and shock absorption structures within the target mount and to model and simulate the performance of different designs


  • producing 3D models of novel geometries for 3D printing 
  • printing objects on the 3D printer. Cleaning and maintaining the printer
  • inspecting and measuring 3D printed objects using a microscope to ensure they meet the requirements 
  • producing detailed CAD models of target geometries for schematics and manufacturing purposes.

Further opportunities could include:

  • running thin-film coating equipment to create nanometre thick foils
  • measuring micro-scale objects using advanced characterisation equipment.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • be in a technically relevant degree, Physics, Engineering or equivalent
  • ability to use 3D CAD software to create 3D objects. Examples of relevant software include, but are not limited to, Blender, Autodesk Inventor and Solid Edge
  • require an understanding of the mechanics of 3D printing methods and a understanding of its potential and limitations
  • need good manual dexterity and hand eye coordination, components and equipment are often fragile.



  • 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
  • right to live and work in the UK 
  • subject of degree to be Physics, Engineering or related.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • understanding of the difficulties of micro fabrication
  • some experience with 3D CAD modelling software
  • familiarity with Windows operating system.


  • experience using a 3D printer
  • has used Solid Edge or Autodesk Inventor
  • basic knowledge of the type of experiment that could take place with a high-power laser
  • basic understanding of thin film coating techniques.

Personal Skills, Qualities and Attributes


  • the ability to work individually on a project, plan effectively and write reports
  • ability to work as part of a team
  • willingness to take on technical challenges independently 
  • good written communication skills.


  • proven examples of working in a team to complete a technical or scientific project
  • has completed technical or scientific reports as part of their degree
  • has presented project work to their superiors on project findings.

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: