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Sandwich Student - Chemical Deuteration Methodology Development

Placement at The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Sandwich Student - Chemical Deuteration Methodology Development

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.

The ISIS pulsed neutron and muon source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences. It is owned and operated by the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

The Support Laboratories team are here to help with the equipment and general procedures in the preparation of samples for beamline experiments. They also offer assistance in supplementary analytical and characterisation techniques related to beamline experiments, as well as help with health and safety issues.

Based within the ISIS Support Laboratories, the ISIS Deuteration Facility is a synthetic chemistry group that synthesise deuterated materials for the ISIS user community. The materials requested are wide ranging, so the synthetic skills of the team are varied. The laboratory has a wide range of synthetic and analytical equipment.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

This is an organic synthetic project focused on developing and optimising chemical deuteration methods. It will be entirely lab based, working in the main deuteration laboratory. The lab has an established track record of providing certain classes of chemical compound (e.g.surfactants, fatty acids etc.) but the dynamic nature of the ISIS User Programme means that new requests for isotopic materials can be far wider ranging, and beyond any current established programmes of work within the group.

Your duties will focus on establishing synthetic routes to compounds not routinely provided by the deuteration facility, specifically looking into the preparation of new catalysts for selective deuteration. Your work will follow standard practices in the lab, developing and optimising synthetic procedures where appropriate, performing analysis of reaction outcomes and product purity by standard analytical techniques such as NMR and Mass Spectroscopy, and conforming to health and safety requirements through writing and assessing your own activities through COSHH assessment.


Based in the ISIS Deuteration Facility the project will firstly be focussed on the preparation of ruthenium and iridium catalysts, and their evaluation for deuteration of alcohols and ethers. You will be responsible forthe day to day running of your project, maintaining laboratory notebooks and associated COSHH and risk assessments. This is a synthetic project and will involve general techniques for reactions, workups and purification. You willalso be responsible for analysing the outcome of your reactions with standard analytical equipment (NMR, IR, GCMS, LCMS).

Knowledge,Skills and Experience

  • Ideally you will have some experience of synthetic practicals as part of your university degree, with some knowledge of COSHH and risk assessments. A working understanding of NMR and Mass Spectroscopy would be advantageous, but not essential.
  • You should be enthusiastic and keen to learn new techniques. Whilst some of this project is known, the later work will require method development so the ability to adapt to a changing work plan is essential.

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)
  • registered on a university course and currently averaging a 2:1 or higher (S)
  • organic synthetic laboratory experience (S&I)
  • organic and Synthetic Chemistry practical experience (S&I)
  • knowledge of common techniques for setting up and working up reaction (S&I)
  • experience with standard purification techniques eg distillation, chromatography (S&I)
  • familiar with COSHH and risk assessments (S&I)good organisational skills (I)
  • keen to learn new techniques (I)


  • grade B (or higher) in Chemistry, Maths, physics or biology A Levels or equivalent qualifications (S)
  • experience with analysing reaction outcome, eg NMR, LCMS, GCMS (S&I)
  • knowledge of good laboratory practise gained from previous laboratory experience (S&I)
  • experience with chemical databases, eg Scifinder, Reaxys, Web of Science (S)
  • ability to prioritise work load (I)
  • good attention to detail and a high degree of accuracy (S&I)
  • show initiative (I)
  • ability to adapt to a changing working environment (I)

Special Requirements

  • This role will involve working within a classified radiation area.

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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