Recruiting for UKRI and UK SBS

RAL Space Multi-Layer Insulation Graduate Design Engineer

Early Careers
210000WP Requisition #


Science and Technology Facilities Council


The RAL Space Department at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory develops space instruments and ground-based astronomy instruments for agencies including ESA, NASA, UKSA and ESO, and other commercial customers. The Thermal Engineering Group within the Department requires a graduate to join the Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) Manufacturing Facility team. MLI is one of the key thermal control technologies used within space-based satellites and instruments, and is used in the majority of satellites today. MLI must be designed to meet customer requirements for, among other things, operating temperature, insulation performance, space environment and launch mechanical environment. This requires the application of a broad range of engineering and science.

Summary of Key Duties & Responsibilities 

The graduate will work under the supervision of the MLI Manufacturing Facility manager, who will support them in the design and development of MLI for space instruments and ground support equipment. Duties will include, but may not be limited to:

  • Development of MLI designs to satisfy customer requirements for coverage
  • Thermal analysis of MLI designs
  • Production of CAD designs for MLI blankets, or overseeing CAD design by others
  • Assisting with the writing of project proposals and bids for new MLI work
  • Project management of small MLI projects
  • Research, development and testing of novel techniques and technologies for MLI manufacture
  • Assisting with the production and integration of MLI (as required)
  • Assisting with outreach activities and tours of the department.

It is expected that you will be enrolled on a Professional Development scheme with a relevant professional institution, with the aim of achieving professional registration (typically Chartered Engineer status). You will be given technical and non-technical training appropriate to your previous experience, the requirements of the work and of the professional registration.

The Graduate will be responsible for managing their own time, across a range of simultaneous projects. The role requires some limited financial management, with this anticipated to increase with time. 

Contacts and Communication 
The Graduate will work with the MLI Facility Manager on a day-to-day basis. In addition, the Graduate may be required to communicate to the following:

  • Report to senior project staff on progress as appropriate
  • Interaction with staff within the whole of RAL Space department
  • Interaction with customers during visits
  • Interaction with suppliers as required
  • Interaction with visitors to the Division / Department during outreach activities

Applicants will be expected to work closely with other engineering teams, both at RAL and national/international organisations. Some travel in the UK and abroad is likely. Presentation of technical data to a range of audience types will be required. The position requires the engineer to produce well-written documents such as test reports, specifications, and procedures.

Personal Skills and Attributes

  • Excellent organisational skills, with the ability to multi-task
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Good PC literacy skills
  • Self-motivated
  • Able to work in a team
  • Diligent
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Able to problem solve and develop novel solutions

Other relevant information 

  • Knowledge/Experience in the following areas would be an advantage:
  • A knowledge/interest in space science and engineering would be useful, but not essential
  • Scheduling software (e.g. MS Project)
  • Leading a team
  • Organisation of complex tasks

In order to apply for the role you must have 


  • Obtained first degree Bachelors or Integrated Masters, (not doctorate) in a relevant subject in either 2020, 2021 or be due to receive it in 2022 
  • Expected or have achieved a 2:1 or above 
  • The right to live and work in the UK 
  • A-Level (or equivalent) Mathematics and Physics at Grade C or above. 
  • Degree level knowledge of the principles of heat transfer, and an ability to apply these to practical scenarios 
  • Degree level knowledge of other relevant engineering fields (for instance materials science, manufacturing technologies or structural dynamics) 
  • Experience of CAD design and production of technical engineering drawings 
  • Understanding of technical engineering drawings 
  • Evidence of technical writing skills 
  • Experience of PC based software 
  • Evidence of presentation skills 
  • Clearly stated interest in job role 
  • Ability to problem solve and assess suitability of different options 
  • Ability to plan and co-ordinate own work (time management) 
  • Ability to communicate clearly in both written and spoken English 
  • Attention to detail 
  • Ability to travel in UK and abroad (including overnight absences) 


  • Space-related engineering qualification or specific modules 
  • Masters degree in an appropriate engineering subject 
  • An understanding of spacecraft thermal control techniques and technologies 
  • Knowledge of general space systems
  • Practical experience (e.g. in workshops) and ability to consider practicality of solutions
  • Experience of thermal testing 
  • Project Management experience 
  • Use of scheduling software (e.g. MS Project) 
  • Experience of budget responsibility 
  • Practical skills (e.g. evidenced by hobbies) 
  • Interest and passion for space activities 

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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