Work Placement / Internship

Undergraduate Placement – Materials and Analytical Scientist

Aldermaston, Berkshire. Open to all STEM.

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Do you want to be part of something extraordinary? Something that not only gives you the opportunity to develop and grow your career, but offers excitement, challenge and intrigue at the same time making a difference to keeping our country, and everyone in it, safe?

That’s what the proud people of AWE have been doing for more than 70 years.

Our role in nuclear defence and what we do to support the UK’s nuclear deterrent, is vital in defending our country from the most extreme threats and to keeping the peace. From developing the warheads for the nuclear deterrent, to providing counter-terrorism and nuclear threat reduction solutions, the work we do is of global importance.

What we do is unique and so are our people

For 70 years we've been part of the defence and security for our nation.

Working together with a team of remarkable people who achieve extraordinary things everyday, you too could be a part of something that makes a difference. How? The answer is AWE.

What to expect on the programme

Materials and Analytical Science supports the life cycle of warhead components and technologies to ensure the reliability of the UK's strategic deterrent and national security mission.  A nuclear warhead contains a vast range of materials including metals, ceramics, inorganic salts, rubbers, foams, adhesives, high explosives and radioactive substances.  Many of these have unique handling issues and our dedicated facilities ensure a safe and secure environment to undertake material property research and characterisation.  Materials and Analytical Science is critical to understanding and predicting the behaviour of these types of materials under various conditions.  Beyond this MAS scientists provide the expertise to enable safe site operations to assure compliance through delivery of regulatory requirements.

As an undergraduate student within our Materials and Analytical Science function, you will get the opportunity to work in an exciting part of AWE through projects which may include working on various instrumentation, to tasks that help deliver our mission.

We are interested in applications from candidates working towards a degree in Materials Science or Chemistry as well as Mathematics, Physics or Computer Science. Most importantly we are looking for enthusiastic individuals keen to get involved and work on interesting research and tasks.  

Some of the projects you may get to work on include:

  • Development of metallic aerogel materials for laser target application to support the modelling and characterisation of plasma-based reactions.
  • Development and application of analytical methodologies associated with the qualitative and quantitative assessment of organic, inorganic and metallic materials. 
  • Designing specialist radiometric instrumentation supporting our safe and secure operations on a nuclear licensed site.
  • Radio-analytical assessment of environmental and bioassay samples to ensure regulatory compliance
  • Characterisation of particulate samples for actinide-containing materials using a range of specialist analytical techniques (for nuclear security applications and treaty verification.
  • Utilising environmental sample analyses to identify radionuclides and elucidate associated signatures, in the contexts of nuclear material application and treaty verification.
  • Method development for the high-precision assay of actinide materials using mass spectrometry.
  • Conducting novel small-scale experiments using electrochemical methods to study material properties and associated chemistries.
  • Developing mathematical models and associated methods to characterise material ageing processes.

What behaviours you’ll have

You will possess the following traits and qualities:

  • Growth Mindset; You’re full of grit and determination. Clear where you are going and how you will get there.
  • Curious; you’re a person who loves to think outside the box. (You’re a person who loves to take the box apart!).
  • Innovative; you’re open to learning about new technologies and ground-breaking ideas.
  • Resilience; you’re an advocate of ‘speaking up’ for yourself and others openly and constructively.
  • Team Worker; you’re dependable and reliable.  You’re interested in collaborating with and supporting others.

What you’ll get

  • We offer all undergraduate students a salary of £18,000
  • A market leading contributory pension scheme
  • Generous holiday entitlement
  • Excellent work/life balance 
  • 9-day working fortnight. This means you get every other Friday off work.

Alongside these benefits you will get the opportunity to learn from some of the top leaders in their field. 

Candidates must be willing and able to obtain and maintain the necessary security clearance for the role and be willing and able to work in designated areas – if applicable.

AWE is an equal opportunities employer. We value diversity and welcome applications from candidates from all backgrounds. 

You must be able to Join AWE in August 2022. We recruit on a rolling basis which means as soon as our positions have been filled, we will close.


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Opportunity Overview

  • Ongoing
  • £18,000 + benefits
  • All grades
  • Year-long
  • Aldermaston
    (Show map)

Disciplines accepted...

  • All STEM disciplines

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