ISIS Performance Improvement Sandwich Student - Placement

The Science and Technology Facilities Council
17 Jan 2019
23 Jan 2019
Contract Type
Full Time
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.

ISIS is the world's leading pulsed neutron and muon source for research in the physical and life sciences. Situated at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire, the accelerator based facility provides research into physics, chemistry, materials science, geology, engineering and biology and is the most productive research centre of its type in the world. Employing some 360 engineers and scientists, the success of ISIS depends critically on support staff and the reliability of the component parts. To address reliability issues, the ISIS Performance Improvement Section investigates and implements ways of improving machine down time. The First Line Diagnosis tool (FLD) was set up to develop fault analysis pathways for the ISIS Operations crew to help reduce the time to diagnose and repair faults. Following on from the initial release, further development of the web based tool onto a new and improved platform (FLD3.0), interfacing to SharePoint or other systems are required and we need to recruit versatile support staff, with an engineering and computing skill set, to work within this small but expanding team.

The successful applicant will work with the section leader, performance improvement engineer and all operational staff to facilitate ongoing project development, implementation and support. Maintaining and upgrading FLD will form a large part of the work during the year, however this one year post presents many opportunities to be creative and innovative within new and ongoing projects including data analysis and user interface tools.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities
  • to learn about the ISIS technical systems on a broader level so as to contribute to section initiatives
  • to contribute to research, planning, development and evaluation to ensure the progress and success of ongoing Performance Improvement section projects and initiatives including FLD and a growing list of new initiatives
  • to provide ICT support, investigating and suggesting software improvements
  • to help develop some IT systems (software development)
  • to help in some authoring of content for FLD using appropriate software
  • to communicate with technical staff for information gathering purposes.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience
  • The successful applicant will have a working knowledge of computing and coding to an undergraduate level. They must be able to grasp engineering concepts so as to provide value to the team in discussions about performance improvements. They must be well organised, particularly when managing many activities in parallel; they must be able to balance priorities and deadlines effectively. They will need to work well in a team and be innovative when developing new resources and solving problems. They should demonstrate good interpersonal skills when working with people at different levels.
  • The successful applicant must be enthusiastic about science, engineering and computer science matters relating to the post and be able to convey their enthusiasm clearly. They must show an interest in the computing side of science and engineering through some coding and development skills. They need to have a confident and professional approach when presenting information.

Shortlisting (S) and Interview (I) Criteria

  • at university, enrolled on an undergraduate degree course in electrical/electronic engineering or computing and required or have requested to take a year out of studies to gain experience within industry (S)
  • right to live and work in the UK (S)
  • on target to achieve at least a 2:1(S&I).

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • demonstrate a developing skill and knowledge of an engineering or computing discipline (S&I)
  • demonstrate a developing skill and knowledge of computer information systems including: database management, web infrastructure and learning new software packages (S&I)demonstrate a
  • developing skill and knowledge of computer coding for example: Java, HTML, CSS, C++, SQL (S&I)
  • ability to recognise and develop improvements to simple working practices and processes (S&I)
  • demonstrate strong interpersonal skills with an ability to work effectively in a professional environment (I).

Personal Skills, Qualities and Attributes

  • good communication skills demonstrated in the writing of CV and covering letter (S)
  • demonstrate team working capabilities (I)
  • demonstrate good interpersonal skills (I)
  • demonstrate a positive and flexible approach (I)
  • demonstrate initiative both working independently and in a team (I).

  • demonstrate some knowledge of STFC and its world class facilities (I)
  • demonstrate the motivation to work in a science and engineering environment (I)

Special Requirements
  • This role will involve entering radiologically controlled areas.

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. More information can be found at

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.

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