Mechanical Engineer - Graduate Scheme


Graduate Position 2 years Didcot, UK

Uploaded 8 Oct 2017

Job Description


The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of Europe’s largest science 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 and technology.

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 whole new level in a dynamic, creative, collaborative culture. 

The STFC Cryogenics and Magnetics Group is under the Applied Science Division of the Technology Department.  The Technology Department, which is under the National Laboratories Directorate, provides advanced technology and engineering in support of both STFC funded activities and other high profile international projects.  The Cryogenics and Magnetics Group provides world leading cryogenic and engineering solutions in support of space-based and ground-based cosmology, astronomy and Earth observation, and also superconducting magnets in support of international particle physics experiments at accelerators and light sources.  The group works very closely with international research institutes, such as the European Space Agency (ESA) and CERN, and also with international aerospace organisations such as Thales Alenia Space and Airbus.

Summary of Key Duties

The group is at the forefront of the development of miniature closed cycle cryocoolers for space applications, with a wide variety of projects in support of ESA missions such as ARIEL (characterisation of exoplanets), and ATHENA (evolution of cosmological structure and black holes).  The mission involvement is built upon basic research and development in cryocooler technology which brings together a wide range of engineering and scientific disciplines.  The successful candidate would have the opportunity to be involved in both of these work streams.  The primary duties would be to support the analysis and design of the cryocoolers, although involvement in all aspects of project work is encouraged, through manufacture, assembly, integration and test.  These activities take place both in the group’s own facilities and at collaborators’ sites across the UK and the rest of Europe.


You will be encouraged to support all aspects of the cryocooler work, but primarily you will be expected to:

  • use 3D CAD software (e.g. Solid Edge) to produce design solutions from initial concepts through to detailed engineering drawings 
  • perform mechanical and thermal analysis using a wide variety of tools (e.g., Matlab, Ansys)
  • produce manufacturing drawings and specifications
  • prepare reports and technical notes for use at project level (i.e. for ESA)
  • present their work and support project level design reviews – occasional international travel will be required
  • become familiar with relevant aspects of space Product  Assurance for parts, materials and processes
  • become familiar with relevant aspects of space engineering principles as outlined in the European Cooperation for Space Standardization (ECSS).

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

The position is suitable for candidates from degree level engineering disciplines, with sufficient technical knowledge to produce CAD models and carry out mechanical analysis.  A sufficient understanding of conventional manufacturing techniques and typical aerospace materials is required, technical knowledge of advanced manufacturing techniques, such as additive manufacturing, would be welcomed and would be expected to be acquired as an on-going part of the role.

Prior or background knowledge or experience of closed cycle cryocoolers or detailed knowledge of thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, mass and heat transfer is not essential but would be advantageous; acquisition of knowledge in these areas would be expected as an on-going part of the role.

Candidates should demonstrate the ability to apply original thinking to find innovative solutions to engineering problems encountered as part of the role.

Candidates should demonstrate good communication and interpersonal skills in order to prepare written reports and to present and answer technical questions in a succinct manner on behalf of STFC.


Person Specification



  • obtained first degree bachelors or Masters, (not doctorate) in a relevant subject in either 2017 or be due to receive it in 2018
  • expected or have achieved a 2:1 or above
  • the right to live and work in the UK.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • technical knowledge of mechanical analysis
  • some experience of CAD modelling
  • original thinking
  • basic knowledge of typical aerospace materials and conventional manufacturing techniques.


  • technical knowledge of thermal analysis
  • technical knowledge of additive manufacturing and other advanced manufacturing techniques.

Personal Skills, Qualities and Attributes


  • good written and oral communication skills
  • good interpersonal skills.


  • experience of project team working and customer liaison skills.

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