Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC252760
Location Didcot See on Map
Salary £15631
Date Posted 11 February 2020
Contract Type Fixed Term Appointment
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 29 March 2020
Interview Date

Brief Description

Salary: £15,631 (pro rata)
Contract Type: Fixed Term (4 - 12 Weeks)
Hours: Full Time
Closing Date: 29th March 2020

STFC – RAL Space – Spacecraft Thermal Engineer – Summer Placement

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. For more information on STFC please view one of our videos -

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.

Each year we offer opportunities to undergraduate 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.

Thermal Engineering Group

The RAL Space Department at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory develops space and ground-based astronomy instruments for organisations and agencies including ESA, NASA and ESO.  The Thermal Engineering Group (TEG) provides expert thermal engineering for these projects and also manages a facility for production of Multi-layer Insulation. We work on a broad range of projects, including the Mid-Infrared Instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope, the SPICE instrument for Solar Orbiter, Optical Ground Support Equipment for Meteosat Third Generation, Receivers for MetOp Second Generation and the Broadband Radiometer Instrument for the ESA EarthCARE satellite.

The temperature performance of electrical components is critical to the success of space missions. To ensure effective operation, spacecraft require electronics boxes with high reliability. Therefore, accurate thermal modelling of heat flows through PCBs and surface mounted components is essential. There are currently large uncertainties associated with the thermal modelling of surface mounted components. This placement will aim to contribute to the reduction in these uncertainties through physical experiments and analytical modelling. We are seeking an engineering or science student who would gain technical experience related to thermal analysis of space hardware.

Summary of key duties:

  • Assess the current thermal modelling techniques and inherent assumptions
  • Draft experimental test setups and procedures to evaluate key modelling assumptions
  • Plan execution of experimental testing, including data handling
  • Potential to run initial test campaigns
  • Evaluate efficacy of such test campaigns and develop/suggest best practices.

The candidate shall develop skills in thermal engineering including thermal modelling software, experimental methods,electronics design and project management.

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.


  • Currently be at university, enrolled on an undergraduate degree course
  • Have the right to live and work in the UK (STFC Placement vacancies do not fulfil the Home Office Code of Practice criterion for obtaining sponsored migrant worker status, we will therefore be unable to apply for sponsorship for anyone not eligible to work in the UK)
  • Studying an engineering or physics degree
  • Knowledge of heat transfer principles
  • Experience in thermal analysis
  • Good knowledge of general PC applications(Excel, Word, Powerpoint)
  • Good organisational skills
  • Good communication skills.


  • Starting 3rd or 4th year of degree in 2020
  • Experience in experimental methods (vacuum systems, data handling etc.)
  • Knowledge of electronics
  • Interest in space applications.

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 aims to provide a pay and reward package that motivates staff to the best of their ability. The reward and benefit package includes a flexible working scheme, an excellent Defined Benefit 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.

Please submit a CV and Cover letter outlining your suitability for the role, ensuring that the IRC reference is included in the file name description of each document uploaded. When writing your cover letter, please think about the following:

  • Why are you suitable for this project?
  • How can you contribute to the success of the project?
  • Why do you want to work at STFC?

You can apply for a maximum of two roles.

Note: To apply for more than one vacancy, you must actively select the apply now button on each applicable vacancy.

Closing Date: 29th March 2020

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:

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