Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC242562
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.

Within STFC, ISIS is part of the National Laboratories directorate. The National Laboratories provide research facilities and capabilities that, because of their scale, complexity, strategic character or cost, are appropriately operated as a national research resource. The ISIS pulsed neutron and muon source is the world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences. It provides scientists and engineers with a facility to determine the structure and dynamics of materials at the molecular/atomic level, using beams of neutrons and muons.

A rigorous research and development programme is underway to meet the demands for new radiation detectors at ISIS. The successful student will contribute to this programme, working alongside experienced scientists to develop and evaluate the potential of new detector technologies.

At ISIS the properties of any given detector have to be carefully matched to the specific scientific techniques performed on the neutron or muon instrument they serve. The detection efficiency, count rate capability, scintillation efficiency and light collection efficiency all need to be carefully optimised to meet the requirements of particular instruments.

This placement will focus on the optimisation of scintillation detector technology, for use in neutron detectors for future ISIS instrument upgrades. Neutron detectors have been constructed in the past using scintillation detectors equipped with 6LiF:ZnS(Ag) scintillators and wavelength shifting fibres. However, new neutron scattering techniques require detectors that can count the neutrons faster than is achievable with the existing 6LiF:ZnS(Ag) scintillation detectors. Methods to improve the count rate capability of scintillation detectors are therefore being investigated.

Summary of Key Duties

You will investigate methods to produce wavelength shifting fibre read out scintillation detectors with the required performance and at an acceptable cost. This is done by designing and constructing a number of small prototype detectors, experimentally determining the characteristics of these detectors and optimising the design.

Detector characteristics that will be measured include: neutron detection efficiency, gamma sensitivity, intrinsic detector background, detector resolution and count-rate capability. At the end of the project a prototype detector will be built to verify the performance on a more realistic scale. A successful detector will be awarded beam time on an ISIS instrument.


You will;

  • be responsible for carrying out the experimental programme.  Help and advice will be provided by the supervisors
  • be responsible for utilising beam time efficiently
  • expected to present results of the project in regular meetings with your line manager and in section meetings.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

It is essential that you are dexterous and have a particular interest in experimental research.  Willingness to work as part of a multidisciplinary team and with ionising radiation is also required.




  • 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 
  • studying for a degree in physics or another physics related degree
  • right to live and work in the UK.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • interest in experimental physics related to ionising radiation
  • experience using electronics for processing electronic signals, such as oscilloscopes.


  • experience with detection of ionising radiation
  • experience with computer plotting/science packages.

Personal Skills, Qualities and Attributes


  • good communication skills
  • demonstrate good team working capabilities
  • the willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical
  • open minded and flexible in relation to the type of work assigned to them 
  • ability to take initiative and to work effectively with limited supervision at times
  • tenacity and determination to pursue an experimental development programme
  • good problem solving skills.


  • good dexterity 
  • basic computer skills.

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: