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Salary range: 
£25,000 to £30,000
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Type of opportunity: 
Graduate scheme
Application deadline: 

STFC - RAL Space - Physics Graduate – Space Technology

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.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. 

Our graduates join us in a permanent position, starting a real job from day one. Graduates enjoy two years of formal soft skills together with technical training and development, as well as a direct route to professional accreditation. STFC graduates have the opportunity to build on their degree, taking their understanding, knowledge and skills to a new level in a dynamic, creative, collaborative culture.

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 graduates with similar skills, so you should consider which role/s are most suitable to you, and apply for up to two of these.

RAL Space is an integral part of STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL). RAL Space carries out world-class space research and technology development with involvement in over 210 space missions over its 50+ year history. Our 260 staff are dedicated to supporting the programmes of the STFC, UK Space Agency and other UK research councils, as well as undertaking a large number of space projects for other UK and overseas agencies, universities and industrial companies. We undertake world-leading space research and technology development, provide space test and ground-based facilities, design and build instruments, analyse and process data and operate ground-station facilities, as well as lead conceptual studies for future missions.

The Spectroscopy Group of RAL Space conducts research and development in novel spectroscopic instrumentation to address highly demanding chemical sensing challenges. The primary remit of our work relates to molecular sensing systems for space and atmospheric sciences; for example, our instruments can be used to measure small amounts of greenhouse gases at different levels in the Earth’s atmosphere. We are also increasingly expanding into applications in environmental monitoring and non-invasive medical diagnostics, and miniaturizing our instruments for future missions on small satellites.

Summary of key duties & responsibilities

You will be integral to the research activity of the team, working on the development of state-of-the-art spectroscopic sensors. You should have experience working in an optics laboratory, building and testing small optical systems. You should also have experience using programming languages to run and obtain data from instruments, and for data processing. Tasks will include:

  • Optics laboratory activity – designing, building and testing small mid-infrared optical assemblies
  • Instrument assembly – control systems for temperature controllers, laser control, motion stages and other components
  • Data collection, processing and analysis
  • Presentation of experimental results
  • Reporting – regular reporting of progress to the technical manager, and to the wider team in group meetings. Contributing to written reports and scientific papers/posters.

You will work as part of a highly-motivated team working on a wide portfolio of research projects. There will be opportunity to work with members of other groups and departments in STFC, and as part of international research projects with collaborators across Europe, with the potential for travel in the UK and abroad.

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