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Graduate working at STFC

Hydrogen and Catalysis Method Developer - (Chemistry, Natural Science, Material Science, Physics) - Year-Long Placemen

Background 

STFC offers you an opportunity to gain paid practical experience as part of your degree. Each year STFC recruit up to 45 sandwich students who are able to use and develop the skills they’ve acquired at university in a working environment, providing learning on the job and working on real projects alongside expert scientists and engineers. Learning new skills to help in their further studies. 

This position is in the ISIS Hydrogen and Catalysis Laboratory (IHCL) which is part of the ISIS support labs. The labs and the group support the user community by offering offline characterisation and general lab space to prepare, run and analyse their samples. The Hydrogen and Catalysis Laboratory boasts a wide range of instrumentation and analytical equipment used by the ISIS User community and staff, as well as other research staff on the RAL campus. This suite of instruments allows a wealth of physical property information to be obtained. The instruments include thermogravimetric analysis, volumetric analysis (surface area, pore size and distribution measurement), Raman, IR spectroscopy and dynamic scanning calorimetry.List of Duties / Responsibilities

This position will offer you an excellent opportunity to use and develop the scientific skills you have acquired at university whilst learning many new ones on the way. The main focus of your work will be method development, so that the lab’s full capability can be exploited. You will also have the opportunity to get involved with a number of development projects with the ISIS Molecular Spectroscopy Group in both beamline and offline experiments.

You will work within the Support Laboratories Group working with the Molecular Spectroscopy Science Group and you will contribute to the development of the following new methods:

Gas adsorption – Measuring the adsorption of molecular adsorbates in nano structures of technical relevance. This will involve benchmarking and optimising recently acquired new equipment within the IHCL by selecting suitable test materials and testing regimes. During this project you will be producing a validation document that proves the accuracy and repeatability of the new instrument so that it can be handed over to the ISIS instrument scientists.

Thermogravimetric analysis – Development of methods to use the newly acquired Mass Spec accessories for our gravimetric analysis instrument to enhance the science undertaken in the lab. By operating and validating the instrument, while producing user instructions it will be possible to make this new equipment available to the ISIS user community. Opportunities to collaborate with ISIS users and staff on the use of these new techniques will form a part of this project.

You will be expected to test these methods on a range of samples and produce documentation (user manuals, quick start guides and validation documents) for use by future users of the instrumentation. You may also have the opportunities to attend neutron beamline experiments, aid website development, and learn new techniques in the other ISIS support laboratories.

You will be working directly with Support Labs management, the Molecular Spectroscopy Group and regularly liaising with facility scientists and external users.

Personal Skills and Attributes

You must be enthusiastic and highly motivated. You should be able to work well as part of a team as well as working independently. A strong interest in physical

sciences and working in a laboratory environment is essential. You are expected to be currently studying a science based university course and currently achieving a 2:1 level or above.

Shorlisting Criteria

Qualifications

Essential:

  • Currently achieving a 2:1 grade in University courses
  • Enrolled on a Science degree course

Desirable:

  • A-B grade Chemistry, Maths at A-level or equivalent.

Knowledge/Skills and Experience

Essential:

  • Laboratory experience, Analytical instrumentation knowledge

Desirable:

  • Some relevant work experience, experience of working in a team.

Personal Skills & Qualities

Essential:

  • Good communication skills
  • Demonstrate good team working capabilities
  • The willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical
  • Open minded and flexible in relation to the type of work assigned to them

Desirable:

  • Attention to detail, strong interest in physical sciences

Interview Criteria

Personal skills/Qualities

Essential:

  • Strong oral and written presentation skills, demonstrable organisational skills, strong problem solving skills

Desirable:

  • Highly self-motivating, desire for continuous learning, ability to communicate with people on all levels

Knowledge/skills and experience

Essential:

  • Broad lab practical skills, demonstrable understanding of lab safety.

Desirable:

  • Knowledge of COSHH and Risk assessment

Special Requirements

Essential:

  • Good communication skills
  • Demonstrate good team working capabilities
  • The willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical
  • Open minded and flexible in relation to the type of work assigned to them
  • Previous lab experience
  • Requirement to work within a radiation controlled area

Desirable:

  • Knowledge of analytical techniques

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