Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC250529
Location Didcot See on Map
Salary £24777 - £42576
Date Posted 16 August 2019
Grade UKRI-Band D
Contract Type Fixed Term Appointment
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 17 September 2019
Interview Date

Brief Description

Salary: Band C £24,777 - £26,932 Band D £30,782 - £33,459 Band E £38,318 - £42,576
Grade: UKRI C, D or E
Contract Type: Fixed Term (3 years)
Hours: Full Time/Part Time (minimum 30 hours)
Closing Date: 17th September 2019
Interview Date: Late September/early October 2019


The Central Laser Facility (CLF) is one of the world’s leading laser centres, providing scientists mainly from the UK and continental Europe with access to an unparalleled range of state of the art laser technology.  The CLF has around 180 staff and its function - user facility, international research – makes it a very friendly, outgoing, externally facing sort of place.  It has a welcoming and inclusive culture, and you will find that people will naturally help and support you.

The CLF is building a new laser centre - the Extreme Photonics Applications Centre (EPAC) and is seeking new team members to help to build this and to contribute to our existing facilities. EPAC is an £81M facility that will use lasers developed by our team to drive new types of novel particle and radiation beams that can be applied to a wide range of problems in science and industry. We are looking for people like you, scientists and engineers at all stages of their careers to be a part of our friendly and enthusiastic team in the following areas (details are below):

As part of UK Research and Innovation, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest research organisations and operates at a number of sites within the UK, including RAL and many more around the world. RAL is home to about 1,200 staff that work with a community of more than 10,000 scientists and engineers mainly from the research sector, which spans the scientific spectrum including energy, security, materials healthcare, life-sciences and the environment to address important challenges facing society.

STFC is an award winning employer and RAL is a superb place to work – there is pioneering work going on all around the site and the environment, facilities and conditions are excellent.  RAL has a real buzz and the people working here have a profound sense of pride in what they achieve.  Alongside an excellent working environment and comprehensive continued professional development STFC offer’s a benefits package designed to provide an excellent work/life balance. This includes 30 days’ annual leave, 10.5 public and privilege days, Christmas shut down, flexible working hours, a workplace nursery, an exceptional career average defined benefit pension scheme, and social and sporting activities and societies. Full details can be found on STFC’s careers pages.

As an Experimental Scientist for High Power Laser facilities you will join the CLF high power experimental teams (Vulcan and/or Gemini) to support the Scientists from around the world that conduct experiments in the CLF (Vulcan and Gemini), these experiments include a broad range of applications - from accelerating particles to near-light speeds and creating astrophysical conditions on earth to investigating laser fusion as a future energy source.

We are looking for junior and senior experimental scientists with excellent hands-on skills to work as a team to enable cutting-edge science at these laser facilities.

Your responsibilities will be to:

  • Design, plan and deliver the experiments taking on responsibility for experimental delivery as your experience of the facility grows
  • Collaborate with external users of the facility in the delivery of experiments providing technical advice as required
  • Take responsibility for the alignment of beamlines and running of diagnostics during experiments
  • To work with engineers  and users to  coordinate engineering  requirements for experiments
  • Depending on experience you will lead the development of new facility capabilities
  • Present your work research findings at conferences and seminars and publish in appropriate journals.

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

Essential Band C:

  • A degree in Physics or engineering or significant equivalent experience (S&I)
  • Basic knowledge of optics, computers and scientific instruments (S&I)
  • Hands-on practical skills (I)
  • Able to work as part of a team (I)
  • Good command of written English (S)
  • Good communication skills (verbal communication, diplomacy, negotiation) (I)
  • Able to multi-task and prioritise (I)
  • Responsible approach to health and safety (I). 

Desirable Band C:

  • Knowledge and experience of experimental or optical design (S&I)
  • Experience of computer-control of instruments (S&I)
  • Experience working in programming/interface languages (C#, C++, Python, Matlab, Labview etc.) (S&I)
  • Willing and able to work flexible hours and/or overtime (I)
  • Willing and able to travel internationally (I).

Essential Band D - the Band C essentials plus:

  • A completed or close to completion of PhD in experimental physics involving high power lasers or equivalent research experience (S) 
  • A good understanding of the science underlying laser-plasma experiments (S&I)
  • Good practical skills (I)
  • Experience with computer-controlled equipment/diagnostics (S&I)
  • Disposition: organised, self-motivated, able to fit into a team, ‘can-do’ attitude to get the job done (I)
  • Able to work without close supervision (I).

Desirable Band D - the Band C essentials plus:

  • Experience of working with high power lasers and laser-plasma experiments (S&I)
  • Publications in scientific journals (S&I) 
  • Excellent organisational and planning skills (I)
  • Experience in experimental design and development (S&I)
  • Able to see novel solutions to problems and aptitude for research (I)
  • Able to show initiative (I)
  • Willing and able to travel internationally to present at conferences and to visit collaborators (I)
  • Management skills (I). 

Essential Band E - the Band C and D essentials plus:

  • PhD in experimental physics involving high power lasers or equivalent research experience (S)
  • Post-Doctoral research experience (or equivalent relevant experience) (S&I)
  • Expertise in the physics laser-plasma experiments (S&I)
  • Experience in operation and development of plasma diagnostics (S&I)
  • Experience in scientific instrument development and design (S&I)
  • Track record of publication in peer-reviewed journals. (S&I)
  • Able to see novel solutions to problems – thinking on feet (I)
  • Able to multi-task and prioritise against a heavy work load and achieve demanding targets (I)
  • Diplomatic, relaxed style, yet assertive when necessary (I).

Desirable Band E - the Band C and D desirables plus:

  • Evidence/ideas for independent research (S&I)
  • Previous experience with “large scale” experiments (S&I)
  • Previous experience in the management of projects and/or people (S&I)
  • Previous experience in financial management (S&I)
  • Previous experience of presenting to large communities, senior audiences and the public(S&I)
  • Previous safety responsibilities (S&I).

UKRI supports research in areas that include animal health, agriculture and food security, and bioscience for health which includes research on animals, genetic modification and stem cell research. Whilst you may not have direct involvement in this type of research, you should consider whether this conflicts with your personal values or beliefs.

To enable us to hire the very best people we will conduct a full and comprehensive pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process on all individuals that are offered a position with UKRI. This will include a security check and an extreme organisations affiliation check.

Employee Benefits

UK Research and Innovation recognises and values employees as individuals and aim to provide a pay and rewards package that motivates staff to perform to the best of their ability. The reward package includes a flexible working scheme, a Career Average Revalued Earnings pension scheme, 30 days annual leave allowance and a number of other benefits.

Developing Talent

We are committed to developing employees in their roles throughout their career. Learning and development plans enable employees to continue their professional development through training and development opportunities such as e-learning, classroom training and on-the-job experiences. We encourage our employees to share their learning across teams and organisations.

Equal Opportunities

We strive to make decisions based on individual merit and ability. We welcome applications from all sections of the community and promote equality of opportunity in accordance with the Equality Act 2010. As holders of Disability Confident Employer status, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.

Online applications only. Please submit a covering letter and CV ensuring that the IRC reference is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Please note that failure to address the above criteria or submitted without a covering letter may result in your application not being considered.

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