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High-Energy Laser Scientist Industrial Placement


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About The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) 

As one of Europe’s largest research organisations, we ask the biggest questions in the universe to find answers that change the world around us. We seek understanding.

STFC's three top tips

Find out what you can do to really impress recruiters at the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) – from Early Careers Talent Acquisition Manager, Ben Bealing.

To watch the full Gradcracker/Science & Technology Facilities Council webinar, click here.

We’re proud of the impact we make. And we’re committed to helping build a globally competitive, knowledge-based UK economy. Being part of all this means contributing to work that pushes boundaries and creates possibilities.

You’ll work with, and learn from, true experts. Whatever your role, you’ll be free to question, and encouraged to share ideas. And, in a positive and supportive culture, you’ll discover just what a difference you can make when you’re equipped and inspired to excel.

We’re a place where curious minds thrive. Not bound by profit, we explore ideas that others don’t, ask questions that others won’t, and discover answers that others are not equipped to find. And, alongside Mars landings and black holes, we also explore diverse, international projects in everything from science and engineering to computing and technology.

Whether it’s at the cutting edge or behind the scenes, our work is intellectually challenging. It’s very often ground-breaking. And it’s endlessly, irresistibly fascinating.

About UK Research Innovation (UKRI) 

UKRI is an organisation that brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Together, we build an independent organisation with a strong voice and vision ensuring the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. 

Supporting some of the world’s most exciting and challenging research projects, we develop and operate some of the most remarkable scientific facilities in the world. We are pushing the frontiers of human knowledge through fundamental research and delivering benefits for UK society and the economy through world-class research, skills and business-led innovation.

Would you like to join a world record-setting team, working at the cutting edge of laser science? 

We are the Centre for Advanced Laser Technology and Applications (CALTA), a group within STFC’s Central Laser Facility (CLF). CALTA develop the record-breaking, high-energy laser amplifier technology that we call DiPOLE. DiPOLE technology has enabled CALTA to develop the world’s first kilowatt-level, high-energy, diode-pumped, solid-state laser producing pulses with an energy of 100 J at an unprecedented repetition rate of 10 Hz.

We’ve now built two DiPOLE laser systems at the kilowatt-level and installed them at European facilities.

Here at the CLF we have several laser systems including the prototype DiPOLE system that operates at 10 J and 10 Hz. This system provides a valuable experimental platform with which new technologies can be tested both in terms of improving laser systems and exploring new applications for DiPOLE systems. Meanwhile, two further exciting projects are underway to develop new state-of-the-art DiPOLE systems at higher pulse energies and repetition rates.

This role offers successful candidates the opportunity to get involved with the development, operation and testing of these systems as well as leading their own research project. The results of these projects will directly contribute to the development of both existing and future DiPOLE systems.

Overview of our industrial placement scheme

STFC’s exceptionally diverse range of placements allow you to work alongside world leading engineers, scientists and technicians in highly collaborative environments. Whichever you choose, you’ll become a critical member of the team in which you will be exposed to exciting projects and challenges from the beginning.

You’ll be supported every step of the way by our dedicated Early Careers Team who will also ensure you benefit from a range of personal development opportunities. 

Summary of responsibilities

This industrial placement offered is within a small, diverse team environment working directly with CALTA scientists and CLF engineers. You will have the opportunity to be involved in a variety of different activities such as:

  • Leading your own assigned project, under the guidance of a technical manager, where you will be able to direct and influence outcomes;
  • Supporting world-renowned scientists and playing an active role in cutting-edge experiments by helping to identify and solve problems as they occur;
  • Developing techniques to enhance DiPOLE laser systems for safe operation at higher energies and higher repetition rates, both on your own and as part of a team;
  • Learning how to operate lasers and cryogenic systems in a clean room environment;
  • Learning and developing computer modelling software skills;
  • Running experiments, analysing data and reporting your findings to the team, and other placement students, via written reports and presentations.
  • Opportunities to network by attending local conferences and collaborating with other departments within CLF.

In order to apply for this placement, we are looking for the following:


  • Currently enrolled on an undergraduate degree course studying physics (or natural sciences with a high physics content) or a closely related subject (e.g. engineering), including an experimental laboratory course
  • Be required or have requested to take a placement year 
  • Have the right to live and work in the UK for the duration of the placement
  • Predicted grades corresponding to a 2:1 or higher 
  • Good problem solving skills 
  • Enthusiastic and highly motivated with an interest in lasers 
  • Effective communication skills 
  • Experience using computer software packages (e.g. Microsoft Office, Python / MATLAB or LabVIEW) 
  • Able to work independently and as part of a team as required 
  • Responsible approach to health and safety


  • Experience working in a laboratory environment 
  • Experience working with lasers 
  • Completed, by the placement start date, relevant modules in areas such as optics and / or lasers 
  • Experience in data analysis 
  • Experience modelling complex physical systems

Important information

In the laser laboratories, you will operate, adjust, and control lasers and associated electrical and mechanical equipment. Therefore, you are required to stand, often for several hours over the course of the working day, as sitting is not permitted in the laser laboratories for safety reasons.

Mechanical precision is an important element of the role and you must be able to see and adjust the position of laser beams, fiducials, pinholes, and other mechanical elements to sub-millimetre accuracy.

Please also be aware that lighting is variable and will flash repetitively as a direct consequence of the laser operation.

We encourage you to please speak to us about any adjustments you may require.

Part of our application process involves submitting your CV and a cover letter. Your cover letter should address your suitability for the opportunity based on how you meet each essential criteria stated in this advert.

We would recommend you to submit your application as soon as possible as we reserve the right to close this vacancy once we have received sufficient applications.

Disability Confident Employer

As users of the disability confident scheme, we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy/ies. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation. 


STFC offers a benefits package crafted to provide an excellent work/life balance including 30 days’ annual leave, 10.5 public and privilege days, Christmas closure and flexible working hours. 

  • Work Life Balance
  • Flexible Working Hours
  • Subsidised restaurant and coffee outlets
  • Paid Emergency Leave

How to apply 

Online applications only preferred for this role. Please submit a CV and covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation for UKRI and the role. Ensure that the job reference number is included in the filename description of each document uploaded.

Note that failure to address the above criteria or submit an application without a covering letter may result in the application not being considered. Assessment will only be based upon the content of your submitted covering letter and CV and not the ‘experience’ section of the application. 

UKRI seeks to ensure it creates and maintains a system of openness, fairness and inclusion – a collaborative, trusted environment, which is attractive to and accessible to everyone who is interested in developing their career with us. 

We've signed the Gradcracker feedback pledge.

(This means that we will supply feedback if requested after an interview.)


Job ID Number: 220000WW
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Opportunity Overview

  • Deadline: October 30th, 2022
  • Starting: June 2023
  • Multiple vacancies
  • Starting Salary: £20,129 + benefits
  • 2:1 and above (expected)
  • 12 months
  • Didcot (Oxfordshire)
    (Show map)

Preferred Disciplines...

  • Computer Science
  • Electronic
  • Physics
  • Software

Also Accepting...

  • All STEM disciplines

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