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High Power Laser Plasma Physics Interaction Area Sandwich Student

Placement at The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

High Power Laser Plasma Physics Interaction Area 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.

The Central Laser Facility based at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is a world leading, cutting edge research department containing high power lasers, Vulcan and Astra Gemini, as well as materials sciences and life sciences groups using medium and low power lasers. Researchers from the UK, EU and other countries world-wide come to use our facilities to carry out experiments requiring high power lasers on a variety of applied and blue skies topics, such as ion source development for medical application, fusion mechanisms for energy, x-ray source development for ultra-fast imaging, laboratory astrophysics, photo-induced nuclear reactions, to name a few.

Placement positions working within the High Power Laser (HPL) Target Area teams alongside our visiting scientists are being offered, with an emphasis on participation in, as well as planning and support of, high power laser-plasma interactions experiments. In addition there will be several short and long term projects based on both diagnostic development and implementation.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

The work undertaken in the target areas change with each experiment and can vary from sourcing equipment to the design and running of plasma diagnostics and data analysis from experiments. The candidate will be expected to undertake several projects during the year that improve diagnosis of experiments, or the facilities that deliver them. Project ideas from the candidate are always welcomed. The work is fast paced and can be very demanding at times, but a friendly, informal working environment is maintained throughout.

A placement within HPL Target Areas offers an excellent opportunity to participate in a live research environment pushing the boundaries of science, as well as honing your personal skills and knowledge in science education and self-management.

Contacts and Communication

The position is in a team environment working directly with researchers and PhD students in the Experimental Science group, as well as target area teams and external researchers from mostly UK/EU universities.

Personal Skills and Attributes

You must have a good grasp of basic physics concepts (e.g. optics, electromagnetism), be able to apply your knowledge to new topics and be adept in the lab. An interest and previous experience in programming is useful, but not essential. Good communications skills are essential, the ability to work autonomously and in a team. Drive and an enthusiasm for science are definitely a positive attribute. The ability to manage self and others would be beneficial.

Shortlisting and Interview Criteria


  • at university, enrolled on an undergraduate degree in physics, applied physics, engineering physics, or natural sciences with high physics content and required or have requested to take a year out of studies to gain experience within industry (S&I)
  • degree to contain lab work modules (and have achieved good grades to date overall). (S&I)
  • right to live and work in the UK (S)
  • good understanding of basic physics concepts (optics, electromagnetism, lasers) (I)
  • excellent practical laboratory skills (this will be tested by a simple practical exercise) (I)
  • good communication skills (I)
  • ability to apply knowledge (I)
  • the willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical (I)
  • demonstrate good team working capabilities (I)
  • open minded and flexible in relation to the type of work assigned to them (I)


  • programming skills/interest in programming (S)
  • have customer facing experience (S&I)
  • appreciation /awareness of Health and Safety (I)

Special requirements

This role will involve working in tight spaces where access is restricted and will involve standing for extended periods. Successful candidates will also be required to ware personal protective equipment (PPE) such as goggles, glove and a face mask.

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.

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

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