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Communications Assistant - Sandwich student

Placement at The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Communications Assistant - Sandwich student

Placement at The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

  • LocationDidcot, UK
  • Position levelPlacement
  • Job period icon
  • Application deadline iconPosted on 08 Oct, 2018
  • Start date iconStart date:
  • Visa iconVisa Sponsor
  • Competitive£ 19,136.0 per year

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.

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.

RAL Space have over 240 staff who work on designing and building instruments for space, analysing data from space instruments, providing facilities for building and testing space instruments, managing space programmes, and conducting space research. RAL Space has significant involvement in over 200 space missions.

RAL Space have an embedded Communications group, who deal with a wide range of engagement from working with the media promoting the work that goes on in the department, to running the outreach programme which includes working with schools and visitors. The work within the communications group involves dealing with many different people and an ability to communicate and get on with others will be very important.

Although the topics and projects undertaken in the department are by their nature technical, a detailed technical or scientific background is not expected. The successful candidate will however, have to work with scientific and technical people, so an appreciation of science and a readiness to learn will be very important.

An ability to simplify complex explanations and then summarise them clearly in good written and spoken English would also be an invaluable asset.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

Working within the STFC RAL Space Communications team, duties and responsibilities will include:

  • assisting with collation and editing of content for a range of multi-media channels such as websites, banner stands, brochures and newsletters
  • supporting the development of RAL Space social media channels, such as Twitter and Facebook and liaising with STFC’s social media teams to maximise activity on social media
  • working with our in-house media teams to organise photography and produce materials such as brochures and banner stands
  • contribute to and assist with the development of PR resources for the department
  • writing articles and content for STFC‘s internal communications channels about the work of RAL Space
  • assisting with the organisation of events and visits, liaising and assisting staff with presentations, and guiding visitors around our facilities
  • assisting with media and production company visits, supporting filming and assisting with relevant communication and PR materials for each event
  • supporting the Communications Team with large conferences, exhibitions and events
  • supporting and helping to organise public and schools workshops and events
  • working with STEM Ambassadors and colleagues to develop new resources for engagement activities
  • contribute to and assist with maintaining our in-house metrics and evaluation records
  • assist with the storage and maintenance of visitor centre and engagement resources.

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)
  • good written and spoken English (S&I)some event planning experience (S&I)
  • good interpersonal skills, happy to communicate with colleagues, members of the public and business and industry stakeholders (S&I)
  • confident to manage own workload and small projects (S&I)
  • good organisational skills with a keen attention to detail (S&I)
  • interest in communications, public and schools engagement with an appreciation of science (S&I).


  • currently studying science, communication or PR at degree level (S)
  • some knowledge of website editing/updating would be helpful, although training will be given (S)
  • familiarity/proficiency with creative media software such as Adobe, Photoshop, InDesign Premier Pro, and/or Movie Maker (S)initiative to suggest new ideas and carry them out (S&I)
  • self-motivator (I).

Contacts and Communication

Internal: RAL Space Communications Group, RAL Space staff, STFC Media Team, STFC Public Engagement Team, STEM Ambassadors

External: Industry and business partners, key stakeholders, schools, members of the public

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.

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