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Computer and Data Storage Infrastructure Operations Industrial Placement

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The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest research organisations. We’re trusted to support, enable and undertake pioneering projects in an amazing diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving ground-breaking advances in science, technology and Engineering.

STFC is one of nine organisations that have been brought together to create UK Research and Innovation (UKRI); a new organisation with a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation.

Each year we offer opportunities to undergraduate sandwich students to gain practical experience, working alongside technical experts at the forefront of scientific research. We offer an invaluable experience with exposure to world class science and technology, and the opportunity to develop working relationships that continue well after your placement has finished.

STFC consists of several distinct departments which each focus on a different specialism within science, technology, innovation and support, yet work together to achieve STFC’s grand ambitions. Different departments may look for placement students with similar skills, so you should consider which role/s are most suitable to you, and apply for up to two of these.

STFC’s Scientific Computing Department (SCD) develops leading edge software, computer and data storage infrastructures to support the work of world class science both within STFC and internationally contributing to the solution of grand scientific computing challenges.

SCD provides a national computing facility (The Tier-1) at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) for the particle physics community.  The Tier-1 has 15 – 20 people working on it at any one time and provides three main services: 

  • It provides a tape archival service that currently stores over 50PB of data primary taken by the LHC experiments. 
  • It provides a Ceph based storage service that stores over 30PB of data and regularly provides in excess of 20GB/s throughput for data intensive applications.
  • It provides a batch farm, made up of approximately 800 dual-processor multi-core Linux servers (30000 cores) providing high throughput batch data processing services.
  • Numerous other services such as configuration management, security and monitoring are required to keep these operating efficiently 24 / 7.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

The successful candidate will join the Tier-1 operations team.  Key parts of the role will be to:

  • Ensure services run smoothly and meet their operational commitments.
  • Ensure operational problems affecting services are identified and resolved in a timely manner, often acting as a first line of response and escalating to specialists as required.
  • Be part of the team responsible for installing, maintaining and supporting the scientific computing resources managed by SCD.
  • Work alongside other team members, other groups in SCD, STFC and external collaborators to ensure that the services offered are able to meet the scientists� requirement.

In addition to these ongoing tasks, the successful candidate is expected to be given a project which will be based on improving/evolving the existing monitoring services at the Tier-1.  These are currently based on the ELK stack (Elastic Search, Logstash and Kibana) and the TIG stack (Telegraf, InfluxDB and Grafana).

Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation, and our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world.


  • At university, enrolled on an undergraduate degree course and required or have requested to take a year out of studies to gain experience within industry
  • Right to live and work in the UK
  • Experience with Linux operating systems
  • Good communication skills both written and oral.

Interview Criteria


  • Experience with Linux operating systems
  • Good communication skills both written and oral
  • Ability to work in a team.


  • Experience with either the ELK (Elastic Search, Logstash and Kibana) or TIG (Telegraf, InfluxDB and Grafana) monitoring stacks
  • Knowledge of IT service management
  • Experience with programming/scripting languages
  • Experience with the Microsoft Office software suite
  • Experience working on a scientific project
  • Interest in working with High Energy Physicists and Astronomers.


Computer and Data Storage Infrastructure Operations Industrial Placement - IRC250947

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Number of vacancies: 
Up to 5