Graduate working at STFC

Physicist - Year-Long Placement


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.

The Accelerator Science and Technology Centre (ASTeC) at Daresbury Laboratory studies all aspects of the science and technology of charged particle accelerators, ranging from large scale international and national research facilities through to specialised industrial and medical applications. The Magnetics and Radiation Sources (MaRS) Group within ASTeC are active in many projects which require expertise in magnet technology and magnet-based radiation sources such as undulators and Free-Electron Lasers (FELs). The MaRS group are presently working on design studies for a new FEL test facility named CLARA being built on the Daresbury site as an upgrade to the existing VELA accelerator and are undertaking research into new FEL concepts and technology.

List of Duties / Responsibilities

The post involves joining the MaRS group to work on free-electron laser designs for CLARA, and other FEL facilities. The work will have a strong component of computer modelling and theory, but there is significant scope for projects to evolve in line with the strengths and interests of the successful applicant. 

The post also requires participation in the experimental and operational programmes of the VELA/CLARA accelerators.

Previous sandwich students within ASTeC have presented their project results at international particle accelerator and free-electron laser conferences and this will continue to be encouraged and supported for high quality work (if funds are available).

Personal Skills and Attributes

The ability to learn quickly and work independently. Initiative. Attention to detail. Good written communication skills and the willingness to make informal presentations to update colleagues/managers on progress.



  • Studying for an undergraduate degree in Physics or a closely related subject.

Knowledge/Skills and Experience


  • Ability to apply physics and mathematical knowledge to solve real problems.
  • Experience of, and enthusiasm for, using computers to analyse data and simulate physical systems.
  • Highly numerate. 


  • Some knowledge of accelerator-based light sources, such as free-electron lasers.
  • Programming experience the following or related: Fortan, MATLAB, Mathematica, MPI, OpenMP, C++, Python.

Personal Skills & Qualities


  • 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.


  • Curiosity.
  • Broad interest in science.
  • Special Requirements


  • Willingness to work out of hours occasionally on accelerator experiments if required.
  • Willingness to travel occasionally within the UK and overseas if required.

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