Vulcan Laser - Sandwich Student


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.

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 research department containing two high power lasers (Vulcan and Gemini) and several medium and lower power lasers. Researchers from the UK, EU and around the world come to use our facilities to carry out a wide range of cutting edge experiments in the physical sciences, materials research and life science. The high power lasers are focussed to very high intensities to create extreme conditions comparable to the centre of a star. This incredible environment allows users to carry out fundamental experiments exploring relativistic plasmas, fusion mechanisms for energy production and laboratory astrophysics. In the near future we expect to be able to utilise radiation and accelerated particles from the plasma for application to societal issues such as ion and electron oncology, medical radiography and security screening.

The Gemini facility invite applicants for this position working within our Target Area team alongside our visiting scientists. During this placement there will be opportunities to participate in and support the variety of high power laser-plasma interactions experiments that are performed with Gemini. In addition, there will be several short and long term projects based on both diagnostic development and implementation, to maintain Gemini’s world leading capabilities.

List of 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. You will be expected to undertake several projects during the year that improve diagnosis of experiments, or the facilities that deliver them, in order to help Gemini maintain its world-leading capabilities. Project ideas 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 an exciting research environment pushing the boundaries of science, as well as honing your personal skills and knowledge in science education and self-management.

Welcome to STFC

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is one of Europe's largest multidisciplinary research organisations supporting scientists and engineers world-wide.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

You must have a good grasp of basic physics concepts (e.g. optics, electromagnetism), be able to apply their 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. Previous experience in a customer facing environment and the ability to manage self and others would be beneficial.



  • enrolled at university studying for a degree in physics, applied physics, engineering physics, or natural sciences with high physics content, any of which must also contain lab work modules (and have achieved good grades to date overall)
  • right to live and work in the UK.


  • programming skills/interest in programming
  • have customer facing experience
  • management and people skills from hobbies or previous work experience.

Knowledge/Skills and Experience


  • good understanding of basic physics concepts (optics, electromagnetism, lasers)
  • excellent practical laboratory skills.


  • appreciation/awareness of Health and Safety.

Personal Skills & Qualities


  • good communication skills
  • the willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical
  • demonstrate good team working capabilities
  • open minded and flexible in relation to the type of work assigned to them .

Opportunity Overview

  • Closing Date: October 30, 2017
  • Salary: £18,946
  • Placement Duration: Year-long
  • Location: Didcot (Oxford)
  • Region: London and South East
  • Type: Work Placement / Internship

Other benefits...

  • Generous leave allowance
  • Pension scheme

Disciplines accepted...

  • Chemistry
  • Computer & IT
  • Physics
  • Science

To Apply

Job ID Number: IRC242506
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