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Materials Engineer/Scientist

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
Salisbury, UK
Closing date
23 Mar 2023

Job Details

Job summary

Dstl (the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) works to harness science and technology to maximise the defence and security of the UK.

We are all about safety, passionate about innovation and enthusiastic about exploitation of R&D. If successful you will lead R&D projects to advance the capabilities of the UK’s armed forces. With your experience, you’ll not only understand our systems and platforms but see the potential in them that others don’t.

You will work within the Materials Team of the Physical Sciences Group in the Platforms Systems Division. As such you will be part of a team of ~25 scientists, physicists and engineers whose day job is to support the research programmes developing the advanced materials and capabilities of the future.

You can look forward to a job working alongside partners in industry, academia and other government departments to research, develop, test and evaluate new ideas and to support current and future generations of UK military capability and UK prosperity. The particular area of focus is in materials research and development for platforms across the air, maritime, land and space domains.

Success will depend on the ability to work as part of this team and the wider group, drawing on the knowledge and experience of its existing members. You will develop your own knowledge and understanding with the goal of eventually leading R&D for materials across the domains which may require the placement of external contracts with suppliers.

As part of the role, for one of the available jobs, you will be required to use, manage, develop and maintain the materials characterisation facilities and supporting activities.  Examples of equipment include: laboratory-scale material curing/manufacturing equipment, materials ageing equipment (environmental chambers), TGA, DSC, DMA, FTIR, SEM.  For this aspect of the role, strong organisational and analytical skills are required.

Working with external partners and international collaborators will require the individual to have strong interpersonal skills to develop and maintain networks.  You will develop in the role to use your understanding of research methods and your skills in critical evaluation to provide constructive feedback during the lifecycle of externally placed contracts.

Dstl recognises the importance of diversity and inclusion as people from diverse backgrounds bring fresh ideas. We are committed to building an inclusive working environment in which each employee fulfils their potential and maximises their contribution.

We particularly welcome female and ethnic minority applicants and those from the LGBTQI community, as they are under-represented within Dstl at these levels.

Job description

In this role you will:

  • Engage with customers/partners effectively to support the development of UK MOD’s materials capability and strategy – accountable to the internal Dstl programme and its wider MOD partners;
  • Provide technical leadership of research and development projects to meet MOD’s short, medium and long term capability goals – accountable to the internal Dstl programme;
  • Provide technical advice to customers/partners on material topics across one or more of the Air, Maritime, Land and Space domains;
  • One of the successful candidates will manage, maintain and develop the materials characterisation facilities as part of their role;
  • Engage and work with the wider Platform Systems Division and Dstl;
  • Collaborate with the UK’s international partners to support MOD’s long term goals.

Person specification

We are looking for someone who:

  • Either holds a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, or equivalent experience/qualifications, with strong skills in one or more of the following areas: materials science, engineering, physical sciences, or related discipline. The individual will have a deep understanding of research methods and experience in critical evaluation.  May also have obtained a doctorate in this field of research;
  • Has a good understanding of one or more of the following areas: ceramics, adhesives, coatings, metals, polymers, composites, materials characterisation methods, ageing of materials, functional materials;

Possesses demonstrable knowledge and/or skill in any of the following technical areas:

  • Materials characterisation techniques and equipment;
  • Research methods and critical evaluation;
  • Materials science, with a specialism in one or more areas;
  • Related emerging science and technology developments;
  • Has a strong desire to learn, with the aim to fill any gaps in their knowledge;
  • Possesses confidence to lead the development and delivery of R&D activities for long term capability development across the Air, Land, Maritime and Space domains;
  • Has good interpersonal skills and is willing to develop networks and work with external research suppliers and our international allies to deliver high quality R&D projects.  Individuals applying for the higher career level may have experience in leading multi-organisational teams to deliver research outcomes.

Essential Skills


  • Bachelor’s/Master’s degree or equivalent qualifications/experience in physical sciences, engineering or materials science;


  • Strong engineering and/or scientific skills in materials and materials characterisation;
  • Technical understanding of processing, structure, properties relationships in materials;
  • An understanding of appropriate research methods and critical evaluation;
  • Strong communication skills, both written and oral, with the capacity to tailor the content to a variety of audiences (e.g. military, academic);
  • Robust inter-personal, organisational and analytical skills;
  • The ability to recognise and consolidate relevant information from disparate sources to make recommendations and define requirements.


  • Proficiency in delivering high quality R&D;
  • Working well under pressure with minimal supervision;
  • Proven track record of scientific, engineering or materials output;
  • Practical experience in a relevant discipline.

Important Information

Our work in defence, security and intelligence requires our employees to be UK Nationals who are able to gain a high level of security clearance to undertake the projects we are involved in to protect us from security threats. For this reason, only UK Nationals will be able to apply for this role. If you are an international or dual-national candidate, and you think you have the skills we need, please consider applying to any of our government, security or defence partners.

This role will require full UK security clearance and you should have resided in the UK for the past 5 years. For some roles Developed Vetting will also be required, in this case you should have resided in the UK for the past 10 years.


We’ll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Making Effective Decisions;
  • Leadership;
  • Communicating and Influencing;
  • Working Together.

Technical skills

We’ll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

  • Please provide an example of a technical challenge you have overcome and how you approached solving it.


Dstl’s full range of great benefits can be found in the information pack which includes:

  • Financial: An excellent pension scheme starting from 26% employer contribution (find out more here). In Year Rewarding Achievement bonuses and thank you vouchers. Rental deposit scheme and cycle to work scheme;
  • Flexible working: Working options include alternative working patterns, compressed hours, job shares and annualised hours;
  • Flexible working hours: Ability to bank hours in a 12 month reference period including the ability to accrue and use 3 days per calendar month;
  • Annual leave: A generous annual leave allowance starting at 25 days pro rata (rising to 30 after 5 years) plus 8 public holidays with the ability to buy/sell 5 additional days per annum;
  • Family: Maternity, adoption or shared parental leave of up to 26 weeks with full pay, an additional 13 weeks statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaid;
  • Learning and Development: Encouragement and support on charterships, accreditations and access to fully funded apprenticeships up to level 7 (Masters Degree). Paid memberships with 2 relevant bodies/institutions. Employees have access to Civil Service Learning;
  • Facilities: Onsite parking, EV Charging points, restaurants, cafés and gyms.

The information pack can be found attached to the job specification on Civil Service Jobs.


We have a number of support networks to ensure all employees feel supported at work. These include the following:

  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Network;
  • Race, Faith and Culture Network;
  • Parents and Carer Support Network;
  • Alternative Working Network;
  • Gender Equality Network;
  • New Starters Network;
  • Enabled Network, for people with visible and non-visible disabilities.

For further information about Dstl please check out our LinkedIn page.

Things you need to know

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Experience and Technical skills.

Following receipt of your application and CV a sift will take place on 1 Feb 23 to select candidates for interview.

If selected interviews will take place during the week of 13-17 Feb 23. The interview consist of a combined behavioural and technical interview assessing your skills, experience and behaviours against the essential criteria in the job profile. More detail will be sent regarding interviews to those selected.

We want you to have your best chance of success in our recruitment process, so If at any stage of the application process you would like help or assistance please contact the Dstl Recruitment Team and we will do all we can to support you.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.

Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is security check.

See our vetting charter.

People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK nationals only.

This job is not open to candidates who hold a dual nationality.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s recruitment principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

The Civil Service also offers a Redeployment Interview Scheme to civil servants who are at risk of redundancy, and who meet the minimum requirements for the advertised vacancy.

Apply and further information

This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans initiative.

Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact:

Name: Dstl Recruitment Team


Recruitment team :


Further information

Should you wish to raise a formal complaint about the Dstl recruitment process you should email stating the nature of the issue. We will respond within 5 working days.


DSTL profile imageThe Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is the science and technology arm of the Ministry of Defence. As part of the UK Government we do sensitive and specialist work that cannot be done anywhere else. We’re dedicated to keeping the UK safe and secure by using world-leading science and technology. Our work has one aim – protecting lives. Our experts make innovative scientific advancements, sometimes with international impact.

Why work for us
At Dstl, we bring together the best people with the best ideas and apply science and technology in unexpected ways. Our position in defence brings strong links to the armed forces, giving us access and insight to our military personnel and their operational challenges. The solutions we deliver cover everything from long-term research and analysis, through to rapid development in support of current operations with the potential to save lives. Working with other government departments, universities and businesses, we develop battle-winning technologies that support UK military operations – now and into the future.

At Dstl, you’ll find a workforce of respected scientists and professionals who specialize in many different disciplines. We value and champion collaboration, impact and innovation, and we work with some of the most talented professionals and academics in the world. To achieve our goals, we promote and support the use of flexible working patterns to enable staff to enjoy a healthy work/life balance.

We’re always looking for the best technical and scientific minds who are looking for a career with a difference. You’ll need a relevant qualification, a flair for solving problems and a passion for new technologies. Above all, you must want to make a difference now and in the future.

Training and development
We offer an extensive range of technical and professional training that’s relevant for your career and your future ambitions, delivered both in-house and externally. We’ll support you with Chartership and accreditation, and fund up to two professional memberships for you each year.

What we are looking for
Launch your career at Dstl as a:

  • Graduate: if you join Dstl as a graduate you will put theory into practise, applying what you’ve learnt to the real-world problems that we’re solving right now. You will be contributing to important projects and supported by mentors and leading scientists.
  • Student: we have 12- or three-month internships available to experience what a career in science means.
  • Apprentice: we offer apprenticeships, up to degree level, giving you the chance to earn while you learn.

We have a variety of roles advertised on our website all year round as well as graduate and apprenticeship opportunities.

UK; Porton Down (Salisbury, Wiltshire), Portsdown West (Fareham, Hampshire)

Number of employees

Positions recently recruited for
Graduate engineer, graduate scientist, graduate statistician, graduate operational researcher and analyst, graduate project manager, analysts, scientist, engineer, cyber, software

Desired degree disciplines/class
A STEM degree

UK national and eligibility to work in the UK (for security clearance purposes)

How to apply
Apply online at and search for Dstl

Closing date
All year round. Graduate and apprenticeships recruitment every autumn/winter

Tel +44 (0)1980 950000

Find Us
+44 (0)1980 618484
Room G01 Building
5 Porton Down
United Kingdom

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