Graduate Opportunity

Graduate Optics Engineer – Space Technology


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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. 

Welcome To STFC

Executive Chair Mark Thomson talks about the exciting research being done at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). The Science and Technology Facilities Council is one of Europe's largest multidisciplinary research organisations supporting scientists and engineers world-wide. Through research fellowships and grants, it is responsible for funding research in UK unive

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.

Our graduates join us in a permanent position, starting a real job from day one. Graduates enjoy two years of formal soft skills together with technical training and development, as well as a direct route to professional accreditation. STFC graduates have the opportunity to build on their degree, taking their understanding, knowledge and skills to a new level in a dynamic, creative, collaborative culture.

STFC consists of several distinct departments which each focus on a different specialism within science, technology, innovation and support, yet work together to achieve STFC’s grand ambitions. Different departments may look for graduates with similar skills, so you should consider which role/s are most suitable to you, and apply for up to two of these.

Optical Systems Group:

The Optical Systems Group within RAL Space is responsible for the conception, design, development and testing of optical systems for space instrumentation and ground-based astronomical projects. Optical systems form the core of many of our instruments and you will work at the heart of multi-disciplinary teams, on projects at the frontiers of science and technology. The role will be varied and you may find that you work on several projects within your first few years. The group’s recent work ranges from an Earth-observing camera system for the International Space Station to the design of the spectrograph optics the next generation ground based telescope (the E-ELT).

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

You will work under the supervision of an experienced optical engineer. Duties may include:

  • Determination of 1st order optical parameters
  • Conceptual design of optical systems
  • Detailed optical design and tolerancing
  • Construction of optical and radiometric models
  • Stray light analysis
  • Assembly and characterisation of optical breadboards and prototypes
  • Optical testing of components and systems
  • Optical procurement and liaison with manufacturers
  • Alignment and test of flight hardware
  • Participation in design reviews
  • Travel to customer facilities to support assembly and integration of hardware
  • Preparation of specifications, test plans, test reports and other documentation
  • Occasional help with outreach activities and tours
  • Optical systems form the core of many of our instruments and the graduate will work in project teams alongside other science and engineering disciplines.

You will need to work from time to time in a laboratory environment and must be vigilant in terms of health and safety. You may also be required to work in customer facilities for short periods of time during instrument assembly and integration.

The Optical Systems Group requires a practical graduate with a demonstrable aptitude for optics. You will be required to show an understanding of optics theory, have some practical experience with optical instruments and optical measurements. A knowledge of space or astronomy projects and would be beneficial

Job Requirements 

  • Obtained first degree bachelors or Masters, (not doctorate) in a relevant subject in either 2018, 2019 or be due to receive it in 2020 
  • Expected or have achieved a 2:1 or above 
  • The right to live and work in the UK 
  • Some degree-level specialisation or interest in optics.

Organisation 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. 

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.


How to Apply

Job ID Number: IRC250652

In order to apply for this role you must have:

  • Obtained your first degree bachelors or Masters, (not doctorate) in a relevant subject in either 2018, 2019 or be due to receive it in 2020.
  • Expected or have achieved a 2:1 or above.
  • The right to live and work in the UK.

Please apply online only. Please submit a CV and cover letter outlining your suitability for this role. Please ensure that your name and the IRC reference are included in the file name description of each document uploaded.

Closing date: 27th October 2019
Interviews will be held at one of our assessment centres in December or January.

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Opportunity Overview

  • October 27th, 2019
  • £26,932 + benefits
  • 2:1 and above
  • Didcot (Oxfordshire)
    (Show map)

Disciplines accepted...

  • Aerospace
  • Analytics
  • Maths
  • Physics
  • Science

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