We are creating a unified UKRI website that brings together the existing research council, Innovate UK and Research England websites.
If you would like to be involved in its development let us know.

Work Experience placements at DL

Each year we are proud to run a highly successful work experience scheme at Daresbury Laboratory. As part of this scheme we offer one-week placements for Year 10, 11, 12 and 13 students. 

COVID-19 Update

For the summer 2022 programme the DL and RAL work experience teams will be joining up to deliver online work experience provision for young people. All applicants to our programme will be able to access webinars about STFC’s work. In addition to this, selected students will be invited to take part in an additional one-week interactive virtual project placement, which will meet the relevant Gatsby benchmarks.

Potential dates for the virtual project placements will be confirmed in January 2022.

How to Apply for STFC Work Experience

We are currently planning for our Summer 2022 Work Experience Programme to be online. Applications will open on Friday 28th January, and can be accessed via the following link: https://stfc-workexperience.co.uk/. Applications will close in March.

In the meantime, there are other ways to get involved with the site. We run monthly Talking Science lectures at Daresbury which are free to attend.

If you have any queries about work experience, or are interested in hearing more about our events and would like to be added to our mailing list, please do not hesitate to email us

Find out about departments offering placements at Daresbury Laboratory

A group of up to 12 students will spend a week at Daresbury Laboratory, with activities coordinated by each of the five technical groups within ASTeC. The students will receive a broad view of all of the accelerator-related work undertaken at Daresbury, and will also see how this work integrates with other activities onsite such as high-precision design and engineering, and high-power computing. The window for the next group work experience will be 13-17 July 2020.

The five technical groups are:

  • Accelerator Physics
  • Magnets and Radiation Sources
  • Radio Frequency and Diagnostics
  • High-Power Lasers
  • Vacuum Solutions

Control Systems

This year the Control Systems group have joined up with the Scientific Computing Department and other departments on site to deliver a group ‘Cross- Department Work Experience’. To find out more please click the ‘Cross- Department Work Experience’ tab.


A week’s work experience with the Detector System Group at STFC Daresbury Laboratory, provides an opportunity to experience the design and manufacture of world leading innovative Detector systems, working within two areas:

  • Experience within the Electronics workshop to gain an appreciation of basic electronics assembly skills
  • Experience within the Electronics Design/Commissioning office to gain an appreciation of basic design/test skills

Find out more about Technology.

Find out more about Engineering.

Electrical Engineering

The Electrical Engineering Group has a specialist team of engineers, designers and technicians that successfully deliver the Accelerator Science and Particle Physics programs. Their role is to specify, procure, integrate and commission complex electrical systems to be installed at various international science facilities. Students will interact closely with the team, experiencing the full life cycle of a project, from concept, design using the latest CAD technology through to assembly and finally operation.

Nuclear Physics

The Nuclear Physics group at STFC Daresbury Laboratory can offer work experience in the modelling of nuclear detection systems.

The increase of the complexity of experimental setups in this nuclear physics research means that the demand for realistic simulations to prepare experiments and facilitate the data analysis and interpretation is rising.

Using the CERN-developed Simulation toolkit GEANT4, the work experience student will learn about the physics of radiation interaction in matter and, with the  visualization and analysis tools, will be able to see the outcome of these interactions as they happens. The student will work on the modelling of an existing detector system or be involved in the design of a new detection system.  As the nature of the work involved is essentially computing, the student would preferably have some predispositions in this area.

Beyond particle and nuclear physics, the GEANT4 toolkit has many other applications. In particular, it is also used in accelerator physics, in medical and space science and in industry linked to national security.

Find out more about the Nuclear Physics Group.

Projects and Mechanical Engineering

A number of places are available for one week durations in the Projects & Mechanical Engineering group who provide expertise in project management, computer aided engineering (CAE) and simulation to predict the performance of engineering systems prior to manufacture. The group has the latest CAE tools including virtual reality to visualise particle accelerators and detector systems during the design process. Students will have an introduction to the design of particle accelerators using Computer Aided Design (CAD).

Technical, Mechanical & Vacuum Engineering Group

The Engineering Technology Centre at Daresbury Laboratory provide work experience placements for students who think they would enjoy a career in the engineering sector. Within the TMVE group, we always aim to offer the student a ‘hands on’ experience, be it using spanners and nuts & bolts to create a vacuum joint, or helping to install a support system on a module structure. During your stay, you will gain an insight into the variety of processes and methods that are necessary, to build and commission Linear Accelerators as well as many other high end technical projects.

Work experience is also about communication, meeting people and seeing how you can contribute and work as a team. The supervisors in the Engineering Department have a wealth of experience in these areas and will help you develop not only these skills, but so much more!

The Scientific Computing Department and Control Systems Group have joined up to deliver a ‘Cross-Department Work Experience’. Students spend the week learning how to control the temperature of a water bath that is used to develop photographic film. Students will:

  • Learn how to program small microprocessors on Arduinos.
  • Design and build temperature sensors and the code to use them.
  • Write a program to control water temperature.
  • Learn about film cameras and develop film.
  • Hear presentations from engineers and scientists who work at the laboratory on everything from computational chemistry to particle accelerators.
  • A tour of the laboratory
  • A session on scientific modelling for customer projects
  • A 'Talk-to-Daresbury-Staff' session where you get the chance to ask staff questions about their careers, working at Daresbury and life in general!

This week involves a lot of programming. No coding experience is required, just enthusiasm to learn! We will consider applications from Y10 to Y12. The Cross- Department group work experience will take place from 13-17 July 2020. The black and white images here were shot and developed by placement students.

Read about a previous student’s experience here:

After a quick safety briefing, we were able to meet the staff who would be our supervisors for the duration of the work experience. As with the students, they were all very friendly, and enthusiastically answered any questions we had about the experience. We were then introduced to the main project that we would work on throughout the work experience, which was the construction and programming of a system that allowed a water bath to remain at a controlled set temperature, with the heat as evenly distributed as possible, in order to develop some photographic film. To do this, we were taught how to use and program Arduino microcontrollers (in essence small programmable computers), and a wide assortment of other electronic components. In this manner, I was able to learn essential programming skills that could be very useful for me in my future.

While a large part of the work experience constituted of the fabrication of the water bath, a major section was dedicated to touring the site’s facilities, as well as receiving lectures and explanations of what large projects were currently being worked on and had been achieved there in the past. The lab is a part of the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council, and so many of the projects are done in collaboration with other laboratories in the country and sometimes even some outside of it. Due to the large number of endeavours that those at the laboratory embark on, there are around 300 staff currently employed there who engage in a very wide variety of activities whose research outcomes have a great effect on the scientific community. One such activity is the construction of a new linear particle accelerator: CLARA, which we were given a tour of while it was in construction. I was also shown the lab’s array of supercomputers and was given an explanation of the various attempts to increase the computers’ energy efficiency, as lowering energy consumption is becoming increasingly important in computers. The wide array of projects in progress allowed me to discover the massive number of interesting careers that I had previously had no knowledge of, opening my eyes to the number of opportunities available to me in the future.

Throughout the experience, we were given many opportunities to ask the staff questions about their work and their previous education, with dedicated Q and A sessions. I personally found these very enlightening, as I soon learnt that many who worked there had previously specialized in completely different aspects of science or engineering, which eliminated one of my greater fears that, once I had dedicated myself to working on a specific subject, I may be stuck doing something that I would later realize that I didn’t enjoy. The only problem was that, having been exposed to so many subjects that interested me, I was even more unsure of what career I might pursue! However, since I had also discovered that, whatever I choose, I will always be given a second chance to move on and try something else, I can be more assured in the knowledge that any decision I make isn’t final.

Overall, the work experience was the ideal one: informative and enjoyable. Through it, I will be better equipped to make future decisions concerning my education and career, and I am grateful for the public engagement team at Daresbury that allowed me to attend the work experience.

Previous Work Experience Students

During my placement at STFC Daresbury Laboratory, I learned not only about technology and computing, but also about myself and my interests. I found the work enjoyable and challenging. The excellent supervision, along with the friendly and experienced staff at Daresbury Laboratory made us all feel welcomed and capable of the work.

This experience has allowed me to explore things that I would never have been able to otherwise, which means that I will have a very helpful head start in what I want to do when I am older. For me, my time at the Lab has made it very clear that I would like to go into science in the future which will help me a lot in choosing which subjects to take for A-level.

Overall I had a great time, met great people and we all shared the same interests in science. I hope to stay in touch in the future, thank you for this unique and amazing experience!

The theoretical knowledge and practical experience I have gained will be a significant advantage in the future, and was only made possible by members of the department going out of their way to share and explain their work. It was a pleasure to be made part of such a friendly and inclusive team, and the placement has helped to shape my own ambitions at university and beyond.

I applied for a week of work experience at Daresbury laboratory after attending the Talking Science lectures and enjoying them greatly. The week provided a brilliant opportunity to see and learn about science that wouldn’t usually be possible in a classroom setting. It was an amazing week and I would definitely recommend it to others interested in science.

There was a good mixture of different activities such as tours of different facilities, explanations of equipment and their uses as well as some opportunities to 'help' practically. Everyone very kindly explained their research or work and this really helped me to grasp some of the challenges and successes faced when working with a certain goal in mind e.g. producing a photocathode with better performance.

It was really fun to perform practical work like helping to perform a 'dry fit' of a laser that would eventually be used in the vacuum lab, or a specific charge experiment. I found the latter really enjoyable as it highlighted that even with my limited A level knowledge I could still understand a lot of the fundamental physics that underpins particle physics experiments.

The week allowed me to not only expand my knowledge of physics, but also about Daresbury Laboratories and what it is like to work in a research facility, something that I am considering doing in the future.

Last updated: 18 January 2022


Science and Technology Facilities Council
Switchboard: +44 (0)1793 442000