Vulcan - 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 Vulcan High Power Laser Facility is part of the Central Laser Facility situated at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK and is an ultra-high intensity laser interaction facility that provides a service to both National and International university-based research groups, allowing them to conduct experiments in the field of plasma physics. Vulcan has a high profile with both an International and World stage reputation and is, during the placement year, expected to continue developing towards a major upgrade from its existing 1 PetaWatt (1015 W) capability, to ultimately become capable of delivering 20 PetaWatt to target.

A Glimpse of our Big Science

An introduction to the world-leading science and technology at STFC.

Summary of Key Duties

It is envisaged that over the year, time within this role will be shared between development projects and operating the laser or providing support to the laser programme.

  • Diagnostics and Control System Development:
    Vulcan is already a sophisticated and complex system with many optical, mechanical and electronic sub systems and you will be given responsibility for the development, testing and integration of additional components on the Vulcan laser system. You will directly contribute to the development, testing and integration of laser beam diagnostics into the Vulcan laser system. This will include the implementation and development of computer control software. Other duties may involve data / statistical analysis, writing of short reports.


  • Vulcan Operations: 
    You will join the Vulcan Laser Operations Group as part of a small team (8 - 10 people) working in a friendly atmosphere and contributing to the success of experiments carried out by our visiting scientists. You will (under supervision) contribute to the successful operation of the £30M laser facility as well as the maintenance and enhancement of the capabilities of this world leading facility.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

You must be computer literate, having at least a working knowledge of MS Office applications (primarily Word, Excel and PowerPoint). You should be self-motivated and able to communicate easily with colleagues and have the ability to work within a small team.

As the post involves working on high power laser operations within a cleanroom environment it is essential that you will be capable of wearing the supplied personal protective equipment such as cleancoats, overshoes and laser goggles.



  • at university, enrolled on an undergraduate degree course and required or have requested to take a year out of studies to gain experience within industry 
  • right to live and work in the UK.


  • A-level Maths and A-level physics or equivalent
  • GCSE English or equivalent.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • you will need to be computer literate and have basic familiarity with MS Office packages.

Personal Skills, Qualities and Attributes


  • able to work either in a team or independently
  • disciplined and self motivated
  • able to use initiative and apply newly acquired skills
  • practically adept (laboratory work)
  • able to work under supervision
  • able to communicate with colleagues and visitors
  • 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
  • Electrical
  • Electronic
  • Hardware
  • Maths
  • Physics
  • Science
  • Software
  • Systems

To Apply

Job ID Number: IRC242505
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