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Applied Scientist (Orion Laser Facility)

Reading, UK
£33300 - £42000 per annum
Closing date
25 Nov 2022
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Job Details

Would you like to work in Orion - the largest and most powerful laser system and experimental facility for high-energy density physics in the UK? Orion delivers high-quality output to a demanding user programme. It recreates physical conditions in the lab similar to those found in the heart of the sun, with its high-power laser beamlines, all housed in a building the size of a football pitch!

An opportunity is now available for an Applied Scientist to operate and enhance Orion to perform the experiments necessary to underwrite the safety and performance of nuclear warheads, maintain national nuclear security and develop the capability and technology that meets future nuclear deterrent needs.

Location - Reading area

Package - £33,300 - £42,000 (depending on your suitability and level of experience)

AWE (one of the best 25 big companies to work for in the UK) offers an attractive array of benefits which include:

  • Generous holiday entitlement 270 hours a year (inclusive of Bank Holidays) plus every other Friday off;
  • Flexible working hours;
  • Potential opportunities to travel overseas for conferences and international collaboration;
  • Consideration for either full time or part time hours. Just let us know on your application if you wish to work part time;
  • Opportunities for Professional Career Development that include an established career development pathway, funding for the annual membership of a relevant professional body and access to mentors and training;
  • Market leading contributory pension scheme;
  • AWE Life Insurance.

The role:

As an Applied Scientist within Orion you will become a key part of the team maintaining, developing and running complex diagnostic instruments such as streak cameras, interferometers, X-ray imaging systems and spectrographs. As well as working to characterise, calibrate and operate a broad suite of existing diagnostics you would be involved in, or run projects to bring new instruments from requirements to realisation to support Orion's ongoing mission. Other responsibilities of the role include:

  • Generating reports on data that you have obtained to provide this to stakeholders and make suggestions on improvements;
  • Identifying ways to support continuous improvement to the technical equipment within Orion;
  • Becoming a technical expert on technical instruments that we have within the Orion facility.

To be considered for this role, we are looking for candidates to ideally have the following:

  • A degree in physics (essential);
  • Experience of working in an academic laboratory or industrial setting;
  • Working experience conducting empirical scientific research and drawing and presenting sound detailed conclusions;
  • Experience of managing own research project activities;
  • The ability to plan and manage the delivery of own work or that of a small technical team;
  • Able to provide technical input within own field of expertise that can influence project or team activity;
  • Comfortable with managing specialist equipment and develop and define specialist research processes to deliver solutions to technical problems;
  • Strong problem-solving skills with the ability to solve technical complications by applying specialist technical knowledge to own work or working as part of a team, transferring knowledge to help solve problems outside their own area of expertise;
  • A willingness to learn new skills and technical knowledge outside your own area of expertise;
  • A clear and concise communication approach, both oral and written.

Candidates must be willing and able to obtain and maintain the necessary security clearance for the role.



AWE profile imageWe put the science and engineering into nuclear defence. We’re a team of creative thinkers from all kinds of backgrounds working at the heart of nuclear defence and security. We have one clear mission – to keep everyone and everything around us safe and secure from nuclear threats.

Why work for us
What we do is both interesting and exciting, especially now that the government has announced the replacement warhead programme. Working at AWE gives you access to exceptional technologies, facilities and projects that no ordinary company can provide – and the support of world-class professionals at every stage of your career. We offer a competitive salary and benefits package, including a “nine-day fortnight” giving you every other Friday off to spend more time doing the things that you love.

Training and development
We believe in supporting our people through long-term investment in learning and development. Alongside in-house and on-line training capabilities, we support membership of professional bodies. We also focus on building and developing leadership skills, in pursuit of our best-in-class ambition. We do this through tailored leadership development programmes, accredited by the Chartered Management Institute, designed to equip our leaders with the skills to drive performance and bring out the best in their teams.

Graduate schemes
Our two-year Evolve programme offers three career pathways: Science, Engineering and Future Leaders. The programme is designed to be flexible, to incorporate a range of experiences as well as business needs. You’ll undertake several placements to expand your knowledge of your discipline, enabling you to develop yourself and your ongoing career. Your line manager will work with you to create an appropriate pathway for you – and support you on your journey.

AWE is an equal-opportunities employer. We nurture a culture of diversity and inclusion – a place where we can ALL be ourselves. We value respect, empathy and open-mindedness and welcome applications from all backgrounds. We are always looking for high-calibre people to join our team, so why not explore the opportunities that we currently have on offer. Whatever stage of your career, AWE is an exciting and excellent environment to develop your skills and achieve your aspirations. Please note that you must be a British National to apply for a role at AWE.

Reading, UK

Number of employees

Main areas of research
Nuclear defence, nuclear forensics, radiation detection, plasma physics, hydrodynamics, high-performance computing, materials science

Positions recently recruited for
Computational physics, criticality scientists, experimental physics, radiation science, high-performance computing, radiation detection

Must be a British National

How to apply
Please visit our website for further information

Tel +44 (0)118 981 4111

Find Us
0118 98 24643
AWE Aldermaston
United Kingdom
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