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Ultrafast Laser Science 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.

The Central Laser Facility (CLF) at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is an extraordinary research group with over 100 technical and scientific staff, providing sophisticated research facilities for UK and international scientists.

Artemis is the CLF’s facility for ultrafast laser and extreme ultraviolet (XUV) science, and carries out a variety of experiments ranging from gas-phase chemistry to materials science. The facility is based on high-repetition-rate, tuneable laser sources, and the generation of ultra-short pulses of XUV radiation.

The laser sources are connected by vacuum beamlines to vacuum chambers where experimental science is carried out. Experiments on Artemis strive to use XUV pulses to track the evolution of electronic states in dissociating molecules or in phase changes in solid-state crystalline materials (e.g. graphene, etc.)

Overview of our industrial placement scheme

STFC’s incredibly 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 there will be exposure to exciting projects and challenges from the start. We provide support every step of the way through our dedicated Early Careers Team who will also ensure you benefit from a range of personal development opportunities throughout your time with us.

Summary of responsibilities

A placement position working within the Artemis Group alongside staff and visiting scientists is being offered, with an emphasis on ultrafast science based on extreme ultraviolet laser pulses.

  • You will be trained to work with state-of-art ultrafast lasers, various optics, large-scale vacuum systems, sophisticated instrumental control and data analysis.
  • Together with staff scientists and engineers, you will be helping visiting scientists and students from UK and international research groups with setting up experiments and solving problems as they occur.
  • You will also have specific projects both on your own and as part of the team, to help develop the facility.

For you to apply for this placement, you are required to meet the following criteria:


  • Currently be enrolled on an undergraduate degree 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
  • First two years of degree course in physics, chemistry or a closely related subject, with grades corresponding to a 2:1 or higher
  • A-level Maths and Physics or equivalent
  • GCSE English or equivalent qualifications
  • Experimental physics, chemistry or closely related laboratory course
  • The ability to apply knowledge of science to solve problems
  • An understanding of the relevant fundamental principles from your university course
  • Highly motivated
  • Able to work independently
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Effective communication skills
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Responsible approach to health and safety


  • A-level Chemistry or further Maths
  • Computer programming skills
  • Experience working in a research or laboratory environment.

Special requirements

Note: Working in a high-power laser laboratory is not physically demanding, but does have certain practical requirements: adequate vision in both eyes (with the aid of prescription glasses if required); being able to hear other team members so you are aware of hazards, standing for extended periods, and able to wearing PPE (laser goggles, gloves, mask etc). 

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: 220000V1
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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...

  • Chemistry
  • Maths
  • Physics

Also Accepting...

  • All STEM disciplines

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