Work Experience placements at DL

Each year we are proud to run a highly successful work experience scheme at Daresbury Laboratory. As part of this scheme we offer one week placements between April and August for Year 10, 11, 12 and 13 students. On occasion we can offer two week placements dependent on supervisor availability and the nature of the project work undertaken.

How to Apply for DL

The application process for summer 2018 placements is now closed.

The application deadline for 2018 placements was 31st December 2017. All applicants will receive an email response from us by the 31 March 2018. If you have been successful in gaining a place we will send you the necessary forms by email that need completing in order for us to confirm the placement.

The next round or applications will open in September 2018 for placements in summer 2019.

If you have any queries about work experience, please do not hesitate to email us.

Important deadlines

Date applicable What the deadline is for
(Will be open by 30 Sept 2017) Applications will open for placements in 2018
31 December 2017 Applications will close for placements in 2018
31 March 2018 All applicants will have received a response by email from Daresbury Laboratory
Six weeks before placements begin All completed forms to be returned to Daresbury Laboratory from successful applicants including:
  • Student/Parent Agreement
  • School's Agreement form
April 2018 – August 2018 Work Experience placements take place

The Accelerator Science and Technology Centre (ASTeC)

ASTeC are able to offer work experience in these areas, and applications are invited for places in 2018.

The number of ASTeC places will be limited, with the opportunities falling into two types:

  1. Group work experience – A group of up to 15 students who will spend a week at the Daresbury Laboratory, with activities coordinated by each of the five technical groups within ASTeC. The students will receive a very broad view of all of the accelerator-related work undertaken at Daresbury, and will also see how this work integrates with other activities onsite such as high-precision design and engineering, and high-power computing. The window for the next group work experience will be July 16th – 20th 2018.
  2. Individual work experience for either one or two weeks (depending on supervisor availability), centred on the typical work carried out by the supervisor and therefore more focused on a particular technical area. Successful applicants for individual work experience will be allocated to one of our five technical groups. These groups are:
    • Accelerator Physics
    • Magnets and Radiation Sources
    • Radio Frequency and Diagnostics
    • High-Power Lasers
    • Vacuum Solutions

If you have a particular interest in one of the five technical groups then please write about this in your application so that we can try to place you appropriately. If you have any questions relating to work experience within ASTeC, please send them by email to Cockcroft Institute Outreach.


Engineering Technology Centre

Technical, Mechanical & Vacuum Engineering Group

The Engineering Technology Centre at Daresbury Laboratory provide work experience placements for students who think they would enjoy a career in the engineering sector. Within the TMVE group, we always aim to offer the student a ‘hands on’ experience, be it using spanners and nuts & bolts to create a vacuum joint, or helping to install a support system on a module structure. During your stay, you will gain an insight into the variety of processes and methods that are necessary, to build and commission Linear Accelerators as well as many other high end technical projects.

Work experience is also about communication, meeting people and seeing how you can contribute and work as a team. The supervisors in the Engineering Department have a wealth of experience in these areas and will help you develop not only these skills, but so much more!

Projects and Mechanical Engineering

A number of places are available for one week durations in the Projects & Mechanical Engineering group who provide expertise in project management, computer aided engineering (CAE) and simulation to predict the performance of engineering systems prior to manufacture. The group has the latest CAE tools including virtual reality to visualise particle accelerators and detector systems during the design process. Students will have an introduction to the design of particle accelerators using Computer Aided Design (CAD).

Technology (Nuclear Physics)

The Nuclear Physics group at STFC Daresbury Laboratory can offer work experience in the modelling of nuclear detection systems.

The increase of the complexity of experimental setups in this nuclear physics research means that the demand for realistic simulations to prepare experiments and facilitate the data analysis and interpretation is rising.

Using the CERN-developed Simulation toolkit GEANT4, the work experience student will learn about the physics of radiation interaction in matter and, with the  visualization and analysis tools, will be able to see the outcome of these interactions as they happens. The student will work on the modelling of an existing detector system or be involved in the design of a new detection system.  As the nature of the work involved is essentially computing, the student would preferably have some predispositions in this area.

Beyond particle and nuclear physics, the GEANT4 toolkit has many other applications. In particular, it is also used in accelerator physics, in medical and space science and in industry linked to national security.

Find out more about the Nuclear Physics Group.

Technology (Detectors)

A week’s work experience with the Detector System Group at STFC Daresbury Laboratory, provides an opportunity to experience the design and manufacture of world leading innovative Detector systems, working within two areas:

  • Experience within the Electronics workshop to gain an appreciation of basic electronics assembly skills
  • Experience within the Electronics Design/Commissioning office to gain an appreciation of basic design/test skills

Find out more about Technology.

Find out more about Engineering.

Work Experience 2015

Work Experience 2015 in the Control Systems Group
(Credit: STFC)

Control Systems

Learn how computers are used to control and operate particle accelerators and state-of-the-art instrumentation systems through a week’s work experience in the Control Systems Group. You will have the opportunity to work alongside an experienced engineer who will show you the wide range of computer hardware and software that is a vital part of a modern particle accelerator. There will also be time to work on a small project that will give you the chance to build your own control system and discover how computers can be used to operate simple devices.

Electrical Engineering Group

Electrical Engineering Group
(Credit: STFC)

Electrical Engineering

The Electrical Engineering Group has a specialist team of engineers, designers and technicians that successfully deliver the Accelerator Science and Particle Physics programs. Their role is to specify, procure, integrate and commission complex electrical systems to be installed at various international science facilities. Students will interact closely with the team, experiencing the full life cycle of a project, from concept, design using the latest CAD technology through to assembly and finally operation.


Hartree Centre

The Hartree Centre’s mission is to make UK companies as competitive as possible using the latest technologies in computing, big data and cognitive computing (this is where we enable machines to interact with humans in a more natural way and reason with purpose). These technologies assist researchers and businesses in analysing huge amounts of information and providing it in a way that allows them to make better and faster decisions in fields as diverse as healthcare, engineering and chemistry.

Work experience at the Hartree Centre provides:

  • Opportunities to learn about software, programming, simulations and running calculations on our supercomputers and visualisation facilities
  • Opportunities to work on science outreach – finding out more about what our scientists/engineers do and their projects and turning these into a range of tools such as website pages, infographics and storyboards for different audiences

Find out more about the Hartree Centre.



Scientific Computing Department

Panasas aisle

Panasas aisle
(Credit: STFC)

Scientific computing is fundamental to modern research. This broad and rapidly-advancing field involves using advanced computing capabilities to understand and solve complex problems in science. Scientific research generates huge amounts of data, and high performance computers are needed to interpret and manage this information. SCD are leaders in the advancement and support of scientific computing. Our staff offer services and products that help the scientific community to make vital discoveries and deliver progress. We are involved with computational physics, biology, chemistry and engineering. Research and development from SCD is driving improvements across the scientific research landscape.

Find out more about the Scientific Computing Department.



Previous testimonials


My time at Daresbury Laboratory was a very interesting and helpful experience. Lee was an amazing guide and mentor throughout the week, where we were based in the Cockroft Institute. This experience has allowed me to explore things that I would never have been able to otherwise, which means that I will have a very helpful head start in what I want to do when I am older. For me, my time at the Labs has made it very clear that I would like to go into science in the future which will help me a lot in choosing which subjects to take for A level.

Overall I had a great time and I met great people and we all shared the same interests in science. I hope to stay in touch in the future, thank you for this unique and amazing experience!

Lorna M

I applied for a week of work experience at Daresbury laboratory after attending the Talking Science lectures and enjoying them greatly. I turned up at 9 o’clock on the 20th of July with 7 other students and we were told about the ASTeC department and what we would learn about in the next week. Then, we were introduced to Lee Jones, our supervisor for the week before we made our way to the Cockcroft institute, the centre of all research on the particle accelerators on the site.

Throughout the next 5 days we were informed about the accelerators on site and how they functioned, as well as being able to visit them and see how they worked. This included a tour around ALICE and EMMA, the two accelerators in the tower and VELA, the newest accelerator. We also learnt about the safety guidelines involved, which included creating our own route to search the accelerators as would happen before they powered up.

Along with visiting the accelerators we also saw all the other departments on site who all contributed to the research taking place. This included a visit to the Hartree centre with all the HPC, the engineering department, which allows parts to be manufactured on site as well as the medical physics training equipment on site.

Within the ASTeC department we also saw the vacuum lab, the RF labs and the magnet lab. These three groups each supplied the accelerators with things crucial to its function and it was really interesting to learn about the team work that takes place to run such a machine.

As well as seeing what the site had to offer we also completed a range of activities in our group. These included calculating the energy mass ratio of an electron and calculating the speed of an electron in ALICE’s beam line. The calculations helped to test our scientific understanding as well as providing a practical task linked in to what we had seen.

To sum up, the week provided a brilliant opportunity to see and learn about science that wouldn’t usually be possible in a classroom setting. It was a amazing week and I would definitely recommend it to others interested in science.

Nathan B

I did a week work experience at the start of the summer and I enjoyed it hugely, I think the idea of the week seeing different parts of the site worked brilliantly and would do it again myself or recommend anyone who has an interest in science or engineering to participate in the future, assuming you run again. I thought lee was very good and liked the way that he went over things to help us all understand. One final thing is I would recommend keeping the groups at a similar size to the one we had as I think it was a perfect size. Thank you for organising the week as it was a great opportunity for me.

Lewis G

I am writing to express my thanks to all those involved for making my work placement a useful and enjoyable one. The theoretical knowledge and practical experience I have gained will be a significant advantage in the future, and was only made possible by members of the department going out of their way to share and explain their work. It was a pleasure to be made part of such a friendly and inclusive team, and the placement has helped to shape my own ambitions at university and beyond.

Thank you once more,

Aaron D

To me my day was incredible, Lee was very friendly and fielded all the questions I had. Showing me the particle accelerators was truly inspiring and has convinced me of my ambition for the future. The best part of my day was being able to look around EMMA and ALICE, I learnt so much from Lee as he took me round each part of the accelerators. Consequently the worst part was leaving! A truly unforgettable day.

James K

I would firstly like to say thank you for giving me this opportunity- it was a wonderful experience and I really enjoyed my week at Daresbury.

I liked the flexibility of the week, we were asked if we had any requests and these were taken into consideration e.g. James and I both said that we were interested in the biological applications of physics, so Lee explained the potential medical applications of EMMA and the work done by Liverpool University on terahertz radiation for cancer diagnosis using ALICE.

There was a good mixture of different activities such as tours of different facilities (such as supercomputing), explanations of equipment and their uses as well as some opportunities to 'help' practically. It was very enjoyable to meet some of the people that Lee works with on a regular basis, such as the engineers and the PhD students in the vacuum labs. Everyone very kindly explained their research or work and this really helped me to grasp some of the challenges and successes faced when working with a certain goal in mind e.g. producing a photocathode with better performance.

It was really fun to perform practical work like helping to perform a 'dry fit' of a laser that would eventually be used in the vacuum lab, or a specific charge experiment. I found the latter really enjoyable as it highlighted that even with my limited A level knowledge I could still understand a lot of the fundamental physics that underpins particle physics experiments.

The week allowed me to not only expand my knowledge of physics, but also about Daresbury Laboratories and what it is like to work in a research facility, something that I am considering doing in the future.

I am very grateful to Lee for giving up a week of his time and being so patient with us; he ensured that we were well looked-after, explained everything in detail and was more than happy to answer any of our questions.

Overall my time at Daresbury was inspiring and informative and I would recommend the programme to anyone interested in learning more about working as a researcher or Daresbury Laboratories.

Tatiana W


Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000