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Industrial Placement - Counter Terrorism and Security Division

Salary notes: 
Job/scheme locations: 
Dstl Porton Down, Salisbury Wiltshire; Dstl Fort Halstead, Sevenoaks, Kent.
Type of opportunity: 
Application deadline: 
Studying for a STEM degree and looking for an exciting placement that’s also surprisingly different?

We are looking for students who want to develop their expertise while delivering high impact research and scientific services to help protect the UK from current and future terrorist and security threats.

Working for the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office and Other Government Departments, we support ground breaking technical research and provide unique services to respond rapidly to operational demands and ensure that the UK retains an operational advantage.

We are responsible for ensuring the government has up-to-date skills and capabilities to understand and defeat terrorist threats. We provide the UK expertise in a spectrum of engineering and scientific fields and you’ll be working at the forefront of defence and security research and innovation, a dynamic and rapidly evolving environment.

Job description

Our roles give you the opportunities to:

• Work within a complementary team of specialists to deliver scientific, analytical and engineering solutions
• Collaborate, nationally and internationally, on field trials and in laboratory testing, to support the delivery of scientific evidence
• Develop broad networks across the world with external partners, academic institutes and government departments
• Drive your career, with great opportunities to gain new skills and qualifications, work with field-leading experts and ensure your working life is never boring.

We have opportunities within the following groups;

Electronic Countermeasures
Specialising in electronic warfare capabilities, we contribute towards military, systems development and evaluation, as well as a broad range of ground-breaking research activities including:
• Electronics design and component level testing
• Radio Frequency test and measurement
• Antenna design and development and In-depth signal processing activities
• EMC testing
• Software defined Radio / FPGA system development
• Military systems integration and relevant networks and protocols.

Energetics Analysis
The Energetics Analysis Group has a broad remit delivering three key capabilities:
• Explosives Detection – supports the UK ability to detect, identify and analyse explosives and related materials through analytical chemistry and physics based techniques; animal behavioural science (e.g. scientific support to use of trained detection dogs); and laboratory and trials based assessments
• Forensic Explosives Laboratory – maintains a UKAS accredited facility, developing capability in line with advances in technology and the provision of expertise to the UK Criminal Justice System. The majority of FEL’s capability is centred around analytical chemistry
• UK Defence Exploitation Facility – offers a variety of exploitation disciplines, including chemical analysis and biometric identity intelligence, delivered as an intelligence product to inform both military and government customers

Policing and Security
The Policing and Security Group provides technical support to crime and security programmes and has five capabilities teams:
• Contraband and Threat Detection – detection of criminal and terrorist ‘contraband’ such as weapons, explosives through to alcohol and tobacco
• Forensics and Identity – fingerprint capabilities
• Frontline Equipment – operational technologies (such as helmets, body armours) and Frontline Service search and surveillance support
• Secure Infrastructure – physical and technological barriers to protect critical national infrastructure
• Technical Intelligence and Investigation – digital investigation capabilities

Sensing and Detection
Specialising in the detection of threats for the UK Armed Forces. There is a variety of work from testing of commercially available equipment to taking part in the development of prototype equipment. The following is some of what we do:
• High energy physics – including X-ray and high power lasers; as well as neutron activation
• Advanced radar techniques – including ground penetrating and other specialist radar
• Novel magnetic techniques – including specialist induction and magnetic resonance
• Analysis, modelling and simulation using programmes such as MatLab, LabVIEW and Geant4
• Laboratory and off-site experiments using specialist bespoke equipment
• Algorithm design and testing
• Digital signal processing (DSP)

As a specialist team within the Surveillance and Communications domains we carry out research, test, evaluation and exploitation activities including:
• Embedded systems and firmware, Software development, programming and mobile communications
• Software to solve challenging problems and potential risks of emerging computing techniques and technologies
• Optics, electro-optics and lasers including optical surveillance and image processing
• Radio Frequency Communications (including Networks, Protocols or SatComms)
• Antenna Research, Design and Modelling
• Electronic surveillance systems and networks

Your Team:
We will embed you into a diverse team of deep technical specialists from multidisciplinary backgrounds. You will work with other team members, project managers and students in delivering an array of projects.

Where you will be based:
We are currently based at Porton Down, Salisbury: Fort Halstead, Sevenoaks and Sandridge, St Albans. Dstl is moving from Fort Halstead and Sandridge, so you may be based at Porton Down and spend some time at Sandridge or Fort Halstead.

Travel opportunities to other Dstl sites, customers, off site trials, conferences and visits to external partners will be a core part of your role.


We are looking for someone who has:

Good standard of Mathematics, English and working towards a degree (or equivalent) in:
• Chemistry
• Electronic or Electrical Engineering
• Systems Engineering
• Communications Engineering
• Software Engineering
• Engineering Mathematics
• Mechanical Engineering
• Computer Science
• Maths
• Physics
• Machine Intelligence
• Information Science

With some knowledge of the role of defence, security and policing when you begin, we'll expect you to develop an understanding of the UK’s Armed Forces and Security community and their challenges.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Working Together
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Developing Self and Others

Technical skills

We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

  • Why do you want to work at Dstl and what you do you hope to get out of your placement?
  • What have you most enjoyed about your studies so far?
  • what is the most important thing you have learnt from being at university?



We'll provide a great range of benefits including;
• Flexible working
• Maternity, adoption or shared parental leave of up to 26 weeks full pay followed by 13 weeks statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaid, and paternity leave of 2 weeks full pay
• Chartership and accreditation support
• Pension
• Generous annual leave
• A competitive salary
• Excellent learning and development
• Onsite gyms and restaurants
• Staff discounts for high street and online shopping, restaurants and days out.

Remember to mention TARGETjobs when contacting employers!

More about this vacancy

South East, South West
Number of vacancies: 
Up to 5