Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC246703
Location Didcot See on Map
Salary £19136
Date Posted 06 September 2018
Contract Type Student - Sandwich Course
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 28 October 2018
Interview Date

Brief Description

Salary: £19,136
Contract Type: Fixed Term 12 months
Hours: Full Time
Closing Date: 28th October 2018
Interview Date: 27th - 29th November 2018

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest 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, technology and Engineering.

STFC is one of nine organisations that have been brought together to create UK Research and Innovation (UKRI); a new organisation with a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. To find out more about STFC please see one of our videos:

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 Crystallography Group at ISIS carries out personal and collaborative research programs using neutron diffraction in various fields of physics, chemistry, materials science and engineering. The Crystallography Group is responsible for the operation of 9 neutron diffraction and imaging instruments at the ISIS Facility, which is located at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. The Group typically supports around 200 experiments per year, across a diverse range of academic and industrial disciplines. These studies investigate the crystal structures of materials and how the atomic arrangement influences their bulk properties.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

After an initial training phase covering the relevant science background and experimental techniques, the post will involve:

  • synthesis of new transition metal oxide materials with novel and potentially technologically relevant electronic and magnetic properties (e.g.ferroelectrics and quantum magnets
  • sample characterisation by x-ray diffraction, providing feedback for synthesis optimisation
  • in-depth studies of their crystal structures using neutron diffraction under varying conditions, including e.g. variable temperature and pressure studies
  • linking the crystal structure with physical properties through e.g. magnetic, thermodynamic and dielectric characterisation measurements at the ISIS Materials Characterisation Laboratory
  • relating these findings to established understanding and new developments in the field.

A key part of the project will be the elucidation of the structural basis of the physical properties through detailed analysis of the crystal structures and their changes with e.g. temperature, chemical composition and pressure. This will allow understanding of the critical ingredients for their intriguing and potentially useful properties and thereby provide insight into pathways for optimising these properties, as well as clues to potential new families of interesting materials.

In addition to this science programme, the project will have strong links to the High Resolution Powder Diffractometer (HRPD) instrument, with parallel development of standard materials optimised for benchmarking and testing key development characteristics for this instrument.

You will be working in a small interdisciplinary research team dedicated to the understanding of crystal structure-physical property relationships from a fundamental science viewpoint and will have the opportunity to undertake a wide range of research activities across the chemistry/physics boundary, along with developing skills to communicate your research.

Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. More information can be found at

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation, and our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world.

Shortlisting (S) and Interview (I) Criteria


  • 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 (S)
  • right to live and work in the UK (S)
  • background in chemistry and / or physics at degree level (S&I)
  • strong scientific motivation and independent approach to problems (S&I)
  • happy to work in an active environment with a mixture of lab- and office-based work (S&I)
  • experience of working in a laboratory environment (I)
  • attention to detail, careful record keeping and the ability to multitask and prioritise effectively (I).


  • understanding of general concepts in solid state chemistry / condensed matter physics and interest in developing this (I)
  • experience in solid state synthesis and/or physical property measurements (e.g. specific heat, magnetisation, electrical characterisation) (S&I)
  • experience in laboratory x-ray diffraction (I)
  • experience in data analysis using e.g. Matlab, Origin or other scientific software (I)
  • experience working with chemicals and understanding of relevant general safety practices (I).

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.

To enable us to hire the very best people we will conduct a full and comprehensive background and pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process.

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 copy of your CV. 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: 28th October 2018

Interview/assessment date: 27th – 29th November 2018

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:

We want to make our application process as easy for you as we possibly can. If you experience any problems in applying for this job, or have any feedback for us about the application process, please contact our Recruitment Hotline on 01793 867000 (8.30am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday). Please quote the appropriate IRC reference number when calling.

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