I have been working at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory full-time (More than a year)
From a researcher point of view, STFC is an excellent workplace. It's a world-renowned laboratory in the fields of photon, neutron and muon sciences, biosciences, particle physics, high-powered lasers and space sciences. The atmosphere is informal, there is a very large amount of seminars and training available to improve your knowledge in technical subjects. Office space is not cramped (usually 2 scientists per office). The IT infrastructure is fulfilling my needs. The canteen at the site usually serves tasty and good quality food. I grade the bureaucracy at STFC as the best one I encountered so far in the different laboratories I worked in: procedures were well organized and administrative staff was efficient and helpful.
RAL is located in Harwell Campus. The site is in the middle of the countryside, far from larger cities, the largest town nearby being Didcot. If you wish to live in larger, more active, cities you'll need to commute with a trip time around 30-40min from Oxford, 40-50min from Reading or 1:20-1:40 from London. The career advancement opportunities inside STFC are somewhat limited.
I applied online. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (Didcot, England (UK)) in December 2015.
I initially applied online by submitting a cover letter, CV and application form including a statement from my University Tutor. I was Invited to an 'assessment centre' alongside all other candidates who had made it through the sift. I was interviewed by a panel of 3 Engineers. I had applied to another related position with RAL Space so I had another interview by another set of Engineers on the same day (but that is not related to this particular interview submission). Questions were initially about my personal background, University course etc. then moved onto technical questions and my experience and what I had gained from it. Interview lasted about 30 minutes. I received a general site tour of RAL and a tour of the facilities directly related to what I would be doing, including the clean rooms.
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