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This World Science Day (10 November), Diamond is calling for more young people all over the world to consider careers in science and technology to help tackle and solve global challenges from climate change to infectious diseases.
Professor Andrew Harrison, Diamond CEO, said:
When we rallied the best science from across the globe, we saw the power of being united to find the path out of the pandemic with the Covid vaccine and at Diamond we are pleased to contribute to the creation of patent-free low-cost anti-viral treatments (the Covid Moonshot). The discovery of a plastic digesting enzyme first visualised at Diamond is another example of the impact science can have.
Through our global network of academic scientists, there are many other innovations in the pipeline including new sources of renewable and sustainable energy, materials, and food. What is paramount in the complex equation we face, is the people and the skills we need to assemble, and for this, we must encourage more people to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) careers; not just for the benefit of the UK and global economy but to secure the future for us and our children.
He went on to highlight the variety of careers in science and the ways people can find inspiring and fulfilling careers at large science facilities like Diamond. He emphasised the international nature of the facility with over 43 different nationalities represented. Many young people start or develop their careers at Diamond following a summer placement, work experience or by choosing an Apprenticeship scheme.
Sam Embling recently completed his final year as a Mechatronics Apprentice and is now in a Beamline Technician role, he explains:
The research carried out at Diamond can have a large impact on many people’s lives. Working at the forefront of the sector, aspects of brand-new technologies and developments are researched here, gives an insight into what the world will look like in the future.
Throughout the many placements in the 4-year apprenticeship, there is the opportunity to work on important projects that have real world impact. One day you could be CNC machining a part used for research into cancer cells, whilst the next you may be assisting scientists in setting up an experiment to analyse lunar rocks.
The work which you complete can be very fulfilling and give you a sense of pride in what you have helped achieve.
Lorraine Bobb says that the two summer studentships she did at Royal Holloway University of London and Diamond, as well as working on her PhD at CERN and CESR, guided her decision to take up a post in the Diagnostics Group at Diamond in 2014. Now she heads the group working with a team of physicists, engineers and technicians who provide instruments that are effectively the ‘eyes and ears’ of the machine and ensure the delivery of high-quality beams for Diamond’s scientific user community and their experiments.
The nature of scientific research in such a large-scale facility and the variety of work at Diamond makes every day different.
We have to think outside of the box and innovate, as often we’re trying things that simply haven’t been done before. This is true across the board at Diamond, whether it be beamline scientists, those providing support for the accelerator, or those ensuring the infrastructure runs smoothly.
Jessica Verschoyle, Graduate Software Engineer, said:
I love the variety of research at Diamond. There are always new scientists visiting and there’s always something new to investigate.
Matilda Stickels started at Diamond as a paralegal, she explains why she enjoys her role as Legal Counsel (in-house lawyer) at Diamond. She said:
Being involved in projects that make a difference in the world. Even if I don't contribute to the science, it’s just as rewarding being involved from a legal perspective.
The science at Diamond is very diverse so I get to work across many different teams and there’s a nice working atmosphere. I look after the legal needs of several different divisions, working on matters like agreements to general legal advice. I work with the scientists who explain their projects and I bring my legal expertise to draw out what they need to be aware of from a legal perspective, such as legal risks.
I look after many legal matters and having a broad overview is an important aspect of my role.
Richard Thwaites followed the apprenticeship route and is now a Mechanical Design Engineer, he said:
The main advantage of a paid apprenticeship is that you get to experience where the things you learn will be used and given context, and hence you gain a sense of what you are doing and why, and the final outcome. You also gain a lot more hands-on experience.
Adam Pike, fourth year Mechatronics Apprentice, said:
At Diamond, there is a sense of pride behind the scientific experiments and the work that is conducted.
The work is also so precise and diverse that it means you must think of innovative ways to make the synchrotron more effective and manufacturing the systems that are involved in the running of the synchrotron always changes, which involves new challenges.
Paul Amos also went through the apprenticeship programme and is now a Senior Electrical Project Engineer, he added:
I love that most people at Diamond are so open about the work they are doing. They will help you and answer any questions you have. Diamond is a modern company compared to the other companies I have worked at and being part of a machine that has played a part in scientific breakthroughs is great.
Julika Radecke, an Electron Microscope Scientist at the electron Bio-Imaging Centre (eBIC) at Diamond, said:
I have lots of freedom to do my own research and there’s always someone with skills and experience to help with research questions.
Opportunities to collaborate with research facilities around campus are numerous and the working environment pleasant and flexible.
Diamond cares about creating an inclusive culture and as a female scientist I appreciate this. Proactive steps are taken to encourage more females into science and staff can attend regular inclusion talks and courses.
Diamond welcomes cohorts of students to site each year via our Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes. For undergraduates we offer Year in Industry and Summer paid placements for students to work on projects in life and physical sciences, engineering, software computing and communications. We will begin advertising our 2022 Summer Placement projects in early December 2022.
For postgraduates, we offer competitive PhD studentships joint with academic institutions, with an average yearly cohort of 20 PhD students working on life and physical science projects, usually spending 50 percent of their time onsite at Diamond. Our 2022 PhD projects will be advertised in Spring 2022.
We also offer an apprenticeship programme. Our technicians and engineers are crucial in enabling the cutting edge science that takes place on site. Diamond’s uniqueness means that most equipment designed and built here is bespoke so we are able to provide varied, interesting experiences and opportunities you won’t find elsewhere.
Find out more about our student opportunities.
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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