Please tell us about your experience of this website today

Summer Vacation Students / Paid Internships

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest science 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 and technology.

We now have the opportunity for undergraduate students to gain practical work experience during summer 2018, while earning a generous salary. If you are interested in starting your career working at the forefront of scientific research, you could even be selected as one of our sponsored students and receive a payment of up to £6,000 per annum for the rest of your course.

Students can work for 4 -12 weeks at either the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (Harwell, Oxfordshire), Daresbury Laboratory (Warrington) or The UK Astronomy Technology Centre (Edinburgh) on projects relevant to their intended or current course of study, under the supervision of experts in their chosen field.

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.

Candidates may apply for no more than 3 vacancies in total and must provide a cover letter (expect for PPD roles where a covering letter is not required), specifying which vacancy they are applying for.

All candidates must have existing right to work in the UK.

The closing date for the scheme is 1 April. However, some roles will close before this date – see individual vacancies for details. In previous years we have had an exceptionally high response for many roles, and subsequently we reserve the right to close individual projects early, subject to demand.

We have slightly different applications process for vacancies in ISIS, PPD and the rest of STFC, so please follow the relevant instructions.

We now have the following vacancies within selected STFC divisions:

ISIS is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences. Our suite of neutron and muon instruments gives unique insights into the properties of materials on the atomic scale. We support a national and international community of more than 3000 scientists for research into subjects ranging from clean energy and the environment, pharmaceuticals and health care, through to nanotechnology and materials engineering, catalysis and polymers, and on to fundamental studies of materials.

The deadline for ISIS applications is 1 April 2018. All applicants should provide a copy of their University transcripts.

Location: All ISIS roles are based at Harwell, Oxfordshire.

ISIS–21 Target Station 1 Design and validation testing

The ISIS facility consists of around 30 neutron and Muon Instruments. The neutron instruments are based around two target stations where neutrons are produced by the interaction of a high energy proton beam with a solid metal target. One of these stations, Target Station 2 (TS2), was constructed relatively recently and has been operating since 2009. The first Target Station (TS1) was constructed in the mid-1980s and has been operating for around 30 years. Over this period there has been no significant work carried out to maintain or develop the internals of TS1 – the moderators, reflector, and target infrastructure, including cryogenic and cooling circuits etc., have remained largely untouched. The TS1 Project will develop and upgrade key elements of TS1, following an extended period of understanding and modelling of the workings of the target station as-is.

As part of the larger TS1 project, we have a package of wok for an engineering student, to plan, co-ordinate and record a testing programme for adapted tooling to be used in a remote handling environment for the cutting up and preparation for disposal of a cantilever support frame from the very heart of ISIS TS1. This will involve working closely with engineers for the ISIS Design Division and the target station operations team. It is likely to involve elements of design, procurement, hands-on-testing, project management and reporting.

Please complete the following Online application form then email your CV and cover letter to detailing the project/s that you are applying for.

The STFC Technology division provides advanced technology and engineering in support of both STFC funded activities and other high profile international projects. Our technologies and competencies are world class, and our expertise encompasses micro-nano engineering, through microelectronics, to major engineering structures.

Tech 1 - Imaging Payload for Future CubeSat Space Missions

Location: UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Royal Observatory, Edinburgh

The long term objective for the UK Astronomy Technology Centre is to develop a new imaging platform. The future goal is that the small and low power platform would have applications for science payloads in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or Small Satellites.

This project will be entirely lab and office based, working with an Imaging Development Kit. You will start by following examples and exercises with the kit. As this is the second year the project has run the successful candidate will need to familiarise themselves with the existing work undertaken by the previous student. A high calibre student will be able to progress to customising the design to suit the intended application.

You will require excellent problem solving skills, an interest in scientific imaging. Experience programming a FPGA with Xilinx Vivado Tools using VHDL and C/C++ would be essential for this project.

Please complete the following Online application form then email your CV and cover letter to detailing the project/s that you are applying for.

STFC’s Business and Innovation Directorate (BID) apply knowledge from STFC’s facilities, research and technology programmes to the wider economy, delivering UK economic growth through spin-out companies, inward investment and collaborative industrial R&D.

BID 1- Marketing and documentation of laboratory testing services

Location: Harwell, Oxfordshire

STFC’s Innovation Technology Access Centre (I-TAC) within BID is a unique, fully equipped space for innovation, research and development, providing flexible access to laboratory space, "hot-labs" and scientific equipment. It is ideally suited to start-up companies, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and R&D teams from established companies.

This is a fantastic opportunity to be involved within a small team who support the activities within I-TAC laboratories. This year I-TAC acquired several new pieces of capital equipment such as an electron microscope, energy dispersive x-ray detector, optical microscope and materials preparation suite. Critically, this is an opportunity to create some advertising documents (posters, Power point presentations, pamphlets etc.) to maximise the exposure of our new capabilities.

You will be responsible for the creation of informative media such as posters, pamphlets, presentations, and helping to document equipment operation instructions.

You will gain valuable experience in how STFC helps to incubates companies.

Please complete the following Online application form then email your CV and cover letter to detailing the project/s that you are applying for.

STFC’s Central Laser Facility (CLF) is a world-class centre for research in physical and life sciences. CLF houses some of the most intense lasers in the world, capable of generating some of the most extreme conditions on earth.

Location: All CLF roles are based at Harwell, Oxfordshire

CLF 1 - Cryogenic Pressure Systems

The role will be based within the CLF Engineering Department, working predominantly in the design team, but with opportunity to undertake Finite Element Analysis and hands on engineering experience with the technician team.

CLF are looking to develop new innovative designs for key components of our pressure systems operating at cryogenic temperatures, including the complex challenge of optical pressure windows. These cryogenic pressure systems are used to cool optical gain media that are required to amplify the energy of the laser system.

You will be responsible for:

  • Writing documentation such as specifications, inspection and test plans and engineering reports
  • Attending and minuting meetings to define requirements, review designs etc.
  • Undertaking 3D computer aided design to create models and detail design drawings
  • Undertaking (with supervision) Finite Element Analysis
  • Assembling and testing (with supervision)

Please complete the following Online application form then email your CV and cover letter to detailing the project/s that you are applying for.

CLF 2 - Development of 3rd Order Cross-Correlator

CLF’s facilities range from the Vulcan and Gemini high power laser facilities to optical microscopes and tweezers. CLF takes a leading role in many research projects that make use of these facilities, including work on laser-plasma accelerators, fusion energy, ultra-fast science, vibrational spectroscopy and single-molecule microscopy. Further details can be found on the Central Laser Facility website.

Vulcan is a versatile eight beam Nd: Glass laser facility delivering long and short pulse beams into its two operational areas: TAP and TAW. A high contrast short pulse beam line delivering a peak power 1PW (500J/500fs) and 1021Wcm-2 intensities is delivered in Target area Petawatt. While TAW is a flexible area that can combine all eight beams providing 200 TW in two short pulses with 1.2KJ in 6 long pulses (ns).

The summer project will be based in the High Power laser Division of CLF working in the Vulcan Laser facility to develop a 3rd order cross-correlator to improve the temporal characterisation of the laser. You will work with others in the group to design and build the new cross-correlator before helping to install it in the diagnostics suite of the laser.

We are seeking an individual who has knowledge of short-pulse lasers and diagnostics. You will be responsible for developing an existing design of a cross-correlator so that it can be operated as a 3rd order cross-correlator.

You need to be capable of working independently and in a laser laboratory.

Ideally you will have experience aligning diagnostics for ultra-short pulse lasers.

Knowledge and experience of non-linear optics is desirable.

Please complete the following Online application form then email your CV and cover letter to detailing the project/s that you are applying for.

STFC’s RAL Space department carries out an exciting range of world-class space research and technology development. We have had significant involvement in over 200 space missions and operate at the forefront of UK Space Research. We develop space and ground-based astronomy instruments for organisations and agencies including ESA, NASA and ESO.

Space 1 - Thermal analysis of space hardware

Location: Harwell, Oxfordshire

The RAL Space 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.

We are seeking an engineering / science student who would gain technical experience related to thermal analysis of space hardware.


The main activity is to improve the way that material thermal property data is managed within the Thermal Engineering Group. This may include:

  • A critical review of our existing Microsoft Access properties database (e.g., user interface and operation)
  • Definition of requirements for an improved database, taking into account our current and future work
  • Development of systems to ensure traceability of property data (referencing data sources)
  • Developing processes for importing property data into our thermal analysis software (ESATAN-TMS and Systema Thermica)

These tasks will require the candidate to develop an understanding of our projects and will provide opportunities to assist with a range of design and analysis activities within the group.

Candidate essential criteria:

  • Studying an Engineering or Science Degree
  • Starting 3rd or 4th Year of degree in 2018
  • Good knowledge of general PC applications (Excel, Word, Powerpoint)
  • Programming experience
  • Good organisational skills
  • Good communication skills

Please complete the following Online application form then email your CV and cover letter to detailing the project/s that you are applying for.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000