Work Placement / Internship

Mechanical Engineer Summer Placement

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Are you currently studying a mechanical engineering degree?  

The mechanical group at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UKATC), which is part of the UKATC department of National Laboratories, has an 8-week summer placement available to participate in the construction of virtual reality models of the HARMONI assembly, subsystems and labs.  

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities  

ELT Harmoni VR model development 

HARMONI is a first light instrument for the Extremely large Telescope being built for European Southern Observatory. It is a very large and complex instrument with a team of international consortia members contributing subsystems that have to be integrated into the whole and maintained thereafter.

It is thought that the use of VR technology can enhance the engineers understanding of the instrument and lead to improvements in the design and maintainability. 

This placement will take existing Autodesk Inventor 3D CAD models and establish workflows to create useable Virtual reality models in 3DSmax interactive. These models will be used by HARMONI engineers to illustrate and review the design, assembly and maintenance procedures.  

It is possible to complete some of this work remotely, but it is intended that the successful student will be mainly based at the UKATC Royal Observatory site in Edinburgh. This will allow the opportunity to interact closely with the HARMONI engineers. 

In order to apply for this placement, you will need to meet the following criteria:  


  • Are in full-time education at university and returning to university/studies following the placement 
  • The right to live and work in the UK for the duration of the placement 
  • Are studying a Mechanical Engineering degree
  • Good attention to detail 
  • Have the ability to take initiative 
  • Good team working and interpersonal skills 


  • Knowledge of CAD
  • Knowledge of computer programming


  • Work Life Balance
  • Flexible 30 days' holiday plus 8 bank holidays and 2.5 privilege days
  • Flexible Working Hours
  • Subsidised restaurant and coffee outlets
  • Paid Emergency Leave
  • Access to confidential counselling service
  • Cycle-2-work scheme
  • Health promotion programmes
  • Discount scheme including high street and grocery discounts and travel offers

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Job ID Number: 220000FT
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