Recruiting for UKRI and UK SBS

3D Printing Industrial Placement - STFC

Early Careers
210000VM Requisition #

Science and Technology Facilities Council

The UKATC is the UK's national laboratory for the design and development of astronomical instrumentation. The UKATC has a rich heritage of instrumentation development for ground-based observatories as well as space facilities. It employs a broad spectrum of engineers and scientists across the full range of disciplines required for contemporary astronomy (optical design, mechanical engineering, electronics, software, systems engineering, project management). It also has an extensive track record of successfully applying techniques and technologies developed for astronomy to other sectors (e.g. earth observation/remote sensing, environmental monitoring). The UKATC develops instruments for world leading organisations, such as the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA.  

AM4Space is a multidisciplinary team that works alongside the Project Science Group, Optics Group and the Mechanical Engineering Group at the UKATC. The motivation behind AM4Space is to explore the design freedom offered by additive manufacture (AM; 3D printing) and how astronomical components can be redesigned to take advantage of AM – specifically telescope mirrors. The AM4Space team aims to solve some of the fundamental challenges inherent to AM that have so far prevented wider uptake of AM within the astronomical community, such as mechanical performance, particularly within harsh environments; optical performance of AM substrates; and linking design for AM with design for manufacture.  

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities 

As an AM4Space Industry Student, this opportunity will work in parallel with a current UKATC project team to redesign a key component for AM. Potential projects identified include the redesign of a deployable Cubesat mirror and the redesign of a three mirror assembly structure for an ESO ELT (Extremely Large Telescope) instrument. In both projects the motivation is to reduce the weight and the part count of the component.  

Anticipated duties include: 

  • Using computer aided design (CAD) and AM specific software to redesign the astronomical component to incorporate the benefits of AM 
  • Using finite element analysis (FEA) to assess the redesigned component to ensure the design meets the requirements 
  • Collaborating with the Engineering Support Group to ensure that the design can be both printed and machined 
  • Coordinating the manufacture of the redesigned component 
  • Evaluating the performance of the AM component and how it compares to the original conventional design 
  • Creation of a project report intended for an external audience  

In order to apply for this role you must have:  


  • 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 
  • Enrolled on a Mechanical Engineering degree (or similar)
  • An understanding of engineering drawings and 3D modelling, coupled with a desire to learn 3D computer aided design software 
  • An enthusiasm for additive manufacture linked with an interest in astronomy or space science  
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills; demonstrated by an ability to work with a broad range of individuals to achieve a goal  


  • Knowledge of best practice design and/or analysis techniques, e.g. use of appropriate mechanical tolerances, or assessing the quality of measurement data 
  • Experience in using 3D printing, either in design and/or via hands-on printing 
  • Knowledge of finite element analysis and its use relating to mechanical design
  • An interest in public engagement 

About The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) 

The STFC is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation where curiosity, blue-skies thinking meets practical, application-led science and engineering. Our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world. 

As one of Europe’s largest research organisations, we’re trusted to support, enable and undertake ground-breaking projects in an outstanding diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving progressive advances in science, engineering, computing and technology. Our research seeks to understand the Universe from the largest astronomical scales to the tiniest constituents of matter, yet creates impact on a very tangible, human scale. 

For more information about STFC please visit 

You can also visit our careers site 

About UK Research Innovation (UKRI) 

UKRI is an organisation that brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Together, we build an independent organisation with a strong voice and vision ensuring the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. 

Supporting some of the world’s most exciting and challenging research projects, we develop and operate some of the most remarkable scientific facilities in the world. We are pushing the frontiers of human knowledge through fundamental research and delivering benefits for UK society and the economy through world-class research, skills and business-led innovation. 

More information can be found at  

How we support EDI in the workforce 

At UKRI, we believe that everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be provided with equal opportunities to thrive and succeed in an environment that enables them to do so. We also value diversity of thought and experience within inclusive groups, organisations and the wider community. For further information, please visit ‘How we support EDI in the workforce’

Disability Confident Employer

As users of the disability confident scheme, we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy/ies. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation. 

How to apply 

Online applications only preferred for this role. Please submit a CV and covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation for UKRI and the role. Ensure that the job reference number is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Note that failure to address the above criteria or submit an application without a covering letter may result in the application not being considered. Assessment will only be based upon the content of your submitted covering letter and CV and not the ‘experience’ section of the application. 

UKRI seeks to ensure it creates and maintains a system of openness, fairness and inclusion – a collaborative, trusted environment, which is attractive to and accessible to everyone who is interested in developing their career with us. 

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