Organisation STFC
Organisation Detail Science and Technology Facilities Council
Reference Number IRC250652
Location Didcot See on Map
Salary £26932
Date Posted 28 October 2019
Grade UKRI-Band C
Contract Type Graduates
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 17 November 2019
Interview Date

Brief Description

Salary: £26,932
Grade: UKRI-C
Contract Type: Open-Ended
Hours:  Full Time
Closing Date: 17th November 2019
Interview Date: Interviews will be held at one of our assessment centres - 12th and 16th December 2019 and 21st January 2020


STFC - RAL Space - Graduate Optics Engineer – Space Technology

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. For more information on STFC please view one of our videos -

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.

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. See all our current graduate vacancies here.

Optical Systems Group:

The Optical Systems Group within RAL Space is responsible for the conception, design, development and testing of optical systems for space instrumentation and ground-based astronomical projects. Optical systems form the core of many of our instruments and you will work at the heart of multi-disciplinary teams, on projects at the frontiers of science and technology. The role will be varied and you may find that you work on several projects within your first few years. The group’s recent work ranges from an Earth-observing camera system for the International Space Station to the design of the spectrograph optics the next generation ground based telescope (the E-ELT).

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities

You will work under the supervision of an experienced optical engineer. Duties may include:

  • Determination of 1st order optical parameters
  • Conceptual design of optical systems
  • Detailed optical design and tolerancing
  • Construction of optical and radiometric models
  • Stray light analysis
  • Assembly and characterisation of optical breadboards and prototypes
  • Optical testing of components and systems
  • Optical procurement and liaison with manufacturers
  • Alignment and test of flight hardware
  • Participation in design reviews
  • Travel to customer facilities to support assembly and integration of hardware
  • Preparation of specifications, test plans, test reports and other documentation
  • Occasional help with outreach activities and tours
  • Optical systems form the core of many of our instruments and the graduate will work in project teams alongside other science and engineering disciplines.

You will need to work from time to time in a laboratory environment and must be vigilant in terms of health and safety. You may also be required to work in customer facilities for short periods of time during instrument assembly and integration.

The Optical Systems Group requires a practical graduate with a demonstrable aptitude for optics. You will be required to show an understanding of optics theory, have some practical experience with optical instruments and optical measurements. A knowledge of space or astronomy projects and would be beneficial

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.

To be assessed through Shortlisting (S), at Interview (I) or both (S&I):


  • Obtained first degree bachelors or Masters, (not doctorate) in a relevant subject in either 2018, 2019 or be due to receive it in 2020 (S)
  • Expected or have achieved a 2:1 or above (S&I)
  • The right to live and work in the UK (S)
  • Some degree-level specialisation or interest in optics (S&I)
  • Experience in solving practical physics or engineering problems (S&I)
  • Practical laboratory skills (S&I)
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills (S&I)


  • Experience with modelling optical systems (S&I)
  • Experience in optical testing and alignment (S&I)
  • Knowledge or experience with projects in the space or astronomy fields (S&I)
  • Current starting salary of £26,932, plus annual incremental increase, a £1,000 welcome bonus and a £2,000 salary increase after the first year
  • Subject to performance you will be promoted after two years with us, resulting in a further salary increase
  • STFC’s Graduate scheme is accredited by: the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institute of Physics. STFC is also organisational member of the British Computer Society, The Chartered Institute for IT
  • You’ll get the chance to work on cutting-edge projects with international collaborators
  • STFC offers a benefits package designed to provide an excellent work/life balance including 30 days’ annual leave, 10.5 public and privilege holidays, flexible working hours and an exceptional pension scheme
  • Every graduate is provided with a mentor to help support them through the graduate scheme and to become chartered.

UKRI supports research in areas that include animal health, agriculture and food security, and bioscience for health which includes research on animals, genetic modification and stem cell research. Whilst you may not have direct involvement in this type of research, you should consider whether this conflicts with your personal values or beliefs.

To enable us to hire the very best people we will conduct a full and comprehensive pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process on all individuals that are offered a position with UKRI. This will include a security check and an extreme organisations affiliation check.

In order to apply for this role you must have:

  • Obtained your first degree bachelors or Masters, (not doctorate) in a relevant subject in either 2018, 2019 or be due to receive it in 2020
  • Expected or have achieved a 2:1 or above
  • The right to live and work in the UK

Please apply online only. Please submit a CV and cover letter outlining your suitability for this role.

Please ensure that your name and the IRC reference are included in the file name description of each document uploaded. Please also state where you saw this role advertised. No Agencies.

We recruit on a rolling basis therefore we recommend you to apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Applications will be reviewed and considered on an ongoing basis until our assessment centres are filled.

The assessment centre for this vacancy will be in December 2019 or January 2020 and will be held at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.

Closing Date: 17th November 2019

To find out more about our graduate assessment process please visit:

We want to make our application process as easy for you as we possibly can. If you experience any problems in applying for this job, or have any feedback for us about the application process, please contact our Recruitment Hotline on 01793 867000 (8.30am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday). Please quote the appropriate IRC reference number when calling.

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