Schools/College Work Experience

Diamond Light Source's annual schools work experience programme offers a limited number of placements to GCSE and A-Level students (years 10-13). The 2021 placements will take place from Monday 5th - Friday 9th July 2021.

Applications for 2021 are now CLOSED and will repoen for 2022 placements in December 2021. 

“The week was amazing, it was really interesting to do actual work/research and see what it is like to do a job in the chemistry/biochemistry industry”.

“It was a fantastic experience, shame it flew by so quickly-I really wanted to stay and continue the project further! “

2017 Work Experience Students

The programme gives students the chance to come and work at one of the UK’s leading science facilities for a week. Initially students will receive a day's introduction to Diamond, covering all areas of Diamond and a look around the facility to see first hand how it operates. The main element of the week will be a three day project in a specific area, which students will complete and then present to their peers and other visitors on the final day (friends and family welcome). There will also be a chance to get involved in group activities and time to meet their peers and Diamond staff.

Applicants need to apply for specific projects, see below for the projects and details of the application process.
The placements are aimed at students in years 10-13 (typically 14-18 years old), although part of the aim of the placement is to give guidance towards further careers or study, so students who have secured a higher education place are less likely to be offered a work experience placement (usually year 13 students).
Please be aware students will be expected to work a full day (9am-5pm) and it is their responsibility to make any travel/accommodation requirements (if accommodation is required we can offer some suggestions).
Students may apply for as many of the different projects described below as they wish. When you have reviewed the projects please click "start your application" at the bottom of this page to go to the application form.

Key Dates

Applications Open December 2020
Applications Close Friday 12th February 2021
Shortlisted candidates contacted by


Due to the number of applications received, successful candidates will be notified by Friday 12th March 2021

Dates of Placements Monday 5th - Friday 9th July 2021



Explore the fantastic range of available projects that span many areas within Diamond.

The available projects for the 2021 placements are outlined below. 

  1. Communications
  2. Data Analysis
  3. Digital Content Creation
  4. Electronics
  5. Electronics Engineering & Microcontroller Programming
  6. Health Physics
  7. Mechanical Engineering 2
  8. Project Planning
  9. Software Development
  10. Vacuum Project
Communications -
The role of the Communications team at Diamond is to inform and engage a range of audiences which includes our staff,  the scientific user community and the general public. We do this through many methods, including running events, publishing news articles and academic papers and sharing content on our website and via social media.
The team is a busy function within Diamond and the student spending the week with us, will gain an overview of all the different areas we support.
The project will have a specific focus on internal communications with the student being tasked with carrying out research, conducting interviews and producing a news story to feature in Diamond’s staff newsletter and internal website.
Data Analysis - +

Parallel-beam X-ray tomography is used extensively at Diamond Light Source to study various types of samples such as biological specimens, Moon rocks, or fossils. It is an imaging technique by which the internal 3D structure of a sample can be reconstructed from 2D projections formed by the penetration of parallel X-rays through the sample at a series of different angles in the range of [0;1800]. Due to the parallelism of the penetrating x-rays, the obtained 2D projections can be separated into independent 1D-projection rows. The sequence of these rows throughout the angular projection range forms a sinogram, which is a 2D image for each individual row. Applying a reconstruction method such as filtered back-projection (FBP) on an individual sinogram yields a reconstructed 2D slice of the sample. Combining all slices creates the 3D image of the sample.

In this project, you will be using Python and Savu software to reconstruct a tomographic dataset. Many image processing methods are used in the pipeline of data processing to obtain the best quality of reconstructed data. You will learn about pre-processing methods; such as flat-field correction, zinger removal, distortion correction, ring artefact removal, and denoising; and about reconstruction methods; such as filtered back projection or iterative reconstruction methods. You will learn how to tweak parameters of these methods to get the best quality data.

Digital Content Creation - +

Diamond works incredibly hard to spread the word about the amazing science and engineering that happens here every day. We do this by inviting people to the facility to see it in person, by publishing articles in scientific journals and, more recently, by talking about our stories on social media. This can be a great way to reach out to people who might not normally hear about Diamond. We have to work hard to make what we do easy to understand, as we may be presenting months or years of work in just a few minutes.

As someone who is reading this description, you already know about Diamond and are hopefully interested by what happens here. Your project would be to use that enthusiasm to create a short video which you think would get friends, family, and other pupils at your school excited about Diamond. We already have a range of resources, such as photos, videos, animations and interviews which you can use. We will also arrange access to one or more of the beamlines so you can talk to the scientists and engineers who work at Diamond every day, interview them and get them to help explain what’s going on to a general audience.

We will use standard video and audio software so if you already know how to use that then great, if not it is not hard to learn and we will be there to help!

There is no limit with this project, it will be up to you to see what you can create!

Electronics - +

Almost all of the work done at Diamond has an element of electronic control; from the particle accelerator and experimental hutches to the safety systems and offices. So it is important that these electronic systems function correctly.

The students will see an overview of how some of these systems function. They will then have an opportunity to develop hardware and software skills, while designing, building and testing their own small-scale electronic Control System.

Electronics Engineering & Microcontroller Programming - +

Electronic engineering is used everywhere in the modern world, from mobile phone manufacturing to synchrotron experiments. In this project, students will use electronic components to build an LED dice powered by an Arduino microcontroller. Students will learn how to solder the electronics together, test the individual components, and write their own code to program the dice. By the end of the week students will have a working dice which ‘rolls’ a number when activated.

Health Physics - +

The Electron accelerators used to create synchrotron radiation at Diamond emit neutron and x-ray radiation which can harm living organisms when used in an unsafe way. To keep the workplace safe, Health Physics (HP) group provides a very vital role.

A student working in the HP team will be involved in day to day tasks including; using radiation monitors, analysis of radiation monitoring data, environment monitoring techniques and a project to design a jig for checking the geometrical effect, linearity, sensitivity, consistency etc. of the radiation monitor.”

Mechanical Engineering 2 - +

Mechanical Engineering at Diamond involves designing cutting edge machinery, mechanisms and instruments to enable world class science.

The student will have the chance to work on a small project during which they will use the same tools and processes that the Engineering Team employ. For example Microsoft Project to create project plans/Gantt charts, 3D CAD (Creo 4) to produce part models and drawings, Finite Element Analysis (Ansys 17) to evaluate concept designs and rapid prototyping using 3D printers. 

Project Planning - +

Projects are all around us in the modern world, be they the organisation of a grand sporting event like the Olympics, on a much smaller scale like renovating a house, or even planning how best to manage revision while still getting to play Fortnite.
At Diamond things are no different and projects are essential to the upgrade and maintenance of our cutting edge scientific research facilities.
Our team of Project Planners are responsible for the scheduling and procedural compliance of the Portfolio of Projects being undertaken on our beamlines and we need some help.

Students will learn some basic Project Management techniques including good planning, organisation, leadership, and communication skills. They will then put these skills to the test, planning a project on one of the Beamlines here at Diamond; researching the requirements, identifying risks and stakeholders, resources needed and more. This will lead to creation of a plan using Microsoft Project and the delivery of a proposal for the project.

Software Development - +

In this project, students will work to solve problems following software development practices albeit on a smaller scale. From requirements gathering through to deployment, working as a team using standard tools.

Vacuum Project - +

An electron beam travelling through air will quickly lose electrons as they collide with air molecules and lose energy or get scattered. To keep the electron beam circulating in the storage ring, the tube they travel in must be kept at a very high vacuum. Gas emitted from solids within the vacuum systems of Diamond can cause the accelerators to fail. Understanding the vacuum properties of materials used on the accelerators is of great importance to the design and running of Diamond.

As an example, the student will use a 3D printer to print out a blank flange. The student will then obtain the basic vacuum properties of this flange. The student will use a leak detector to discover the leak rate of the flange, and then test the flange for its outgassing rate, looking at the species of gases that come from it under vacuum. This project will show the student how we come to understand some of the basic vacuum properties of materials we use at Diamond.

  Start your Application Applications are now CLOSED for 2021. If you have any questions, please email

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