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Summer Placement – Cyber and Information Systems Division

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory is offering a Summer Placement – Cyber and Information Systems Division

  • Closing soon
  • Closing date: 09 Dec 2020
  • United Kingdom | Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
  • Date posted: 02 Nov 2020
  • Job type: Government/Public sector
  • Disciplines: Computational science & software engineering  | Electronics & semiconductors 


Dstl Porton Down, Salisbury & Dstl Portdown West, Fareham.

About the job


Are you studying for an engineering, physics, maths, astrophysics, information science, communications systems, information technology, computer science, or similar degree and looking for an exciting and challenging role with an organisation committed to ongoing career development?

Our Cyber and Information Systems (CIS) division is looking for bright, enthusiastic and inquisitive students to make innovative contributions to our project teams in the cyber, navigation, space, communications, information systems, command and control and intelligence areas. You can contribute to ensuring that the UK exploits and field’s science and technology that is fit for the increasingly contested, congested and constrained electromagnetic environment of the future.

We have a diverse variety of roles that offer the chance to apply the science and technology that you are currently learning about on your course, to real problems and help the UK’s armed forces.

In addition to the work you have undertaken on your course so far, we’re looking for individuals who are inquisitive and who enjoy solving problems. You can expect to be deployed on a range of projects that will develop both your technical skillset and give you the opportunity to broaden you understanding of applied science and technology.

You’ll be working with our world-class team on a technical project that will make an impact to the UK armed forces. You will be working in our flexible office environment at Dstl Porton Down or Portsdown West, We offer paid holiday and advice for finding local accommodation. At the end of your placement there are opportunities for financial sponsorship in your final year or potentially even an offer of permanent employment.

Our roles will give you the opportunity to:

  • Apply your technical skills and knowledge in lab-based research, practical technology projects, supporting low-level research, military exercises, or military systems evaluation.
  • Collaborate as part of diverse team to develop and deliver scientific, software or engineering solutions.
  • Communicate your project results to Dstl’s customers in a way that non-scientists can understand.
  • Write up your work into formal technical reports.

Whatever your role, you will have the opportunity to make a technical contribution, although due to the sensitive the nature of our work, you may not be able to tell everyone about it.

Job description

As a summer student we will help you build your knowledge and skills by being part of the Ministry of Defence’s science and technology programme. A variety of roles are available within CIS division this year and include:

  • Data science and artificial intelligence roles that will allow you to have a direct impact on how defence maximizes its use of data, building new capabilities for defence and helping it to save money. This includes the working alongside real defence intelligence activities.
  • A navigation role improving existing, and developing new, ways to accurately resolve position, orientation and velocity of people, vehicles and weapons, whether that be through global navigation systems or other means.
  • In a cyber-focussed role you will be working to advance tools, techniques and trade crafts required to ensure the UK is able to establish a world class cyber capability; including the ability to actively defend and counter-attack in cyberspace.
  • You may also find yourself using your knowledge of software/electronic/RF engineering and/or physics to consider vulnerabilities in embedded systems, electronic hardware, electromagnetic sensors, and communications technologies in a wide range of military applications and civilian technologies.
  • You could be working in the Electronic Warfare group researching the newest technologies in the electromagnetic domain and developing new techniques to disrupt our adversaries whilst protecting friendly capabilities.
  • Developing secure, rugged ICT systems for deployment in remote and hostile environments on land, sea and air that the military can rely upon to send, receive and discover information in order to make better decisions.

We need people from broad backgrounds and we will draw on your interests by expecting you to think creatively about your work – work that you could not do anywhere else.

What is common to all the CIS roles is that you are motivated by a real passion for science and technology and enjoy working in an environment that is technically challenging.

If you are successful in gaining a placement with us, there are opportunities for financial sponsorship for your final year and potentially even an offer of permanent employment, dependent on your performance during the placement.


We need you to have:

  • A passion and interest in applying technology, science and engineering knowledge to provide creative solutions to current and future defence related challenges.
  • An aptitude for picking up new technologies and understanding how they work quickly.
  • Excellent problem solving skills.
  • Strong IT skills.
  • A flexible, adaptable and inquisitive approach to work.
  • Knowledge of or interest in cyber, electronics, or space domain specific matters such as the following would be an advantage:
    – spacecraft design
    – surveillance of space
    – propulsion and launch systems
    – space weather
    – open source computer security tools
    – software defined radio
    – single board computer skills
    – network security
    – cyber security
    – formal methods
    – data communications
    – practical electronics skills
    – radio-frequency engineering
    – data science
    – AI or machine learning
    – communications and computer systems engineering
    – ICT
    – programming languages


We’ll expect you to be studying for a degree in one of the following:

  • Physics
  • Maths
  • Aeronautical/astronautics engineering
  • Electronic or electrical engineering
  • Systems engineering
  • Communications engineering
  • Information science
  • Information technology
  • Software engineering
  • Computer science
  • Data science
  • Artificial intelligence/machine learning
  • Phycology and social science
  • Cyber security

Security clearance required

Our work in defence, security and intelligence requires our employees to be British citizens who are able to gain a high level of security clearance to understand the work you will undertake to protect us from any security threats. For this reason, we regret that 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 across the enterprise. We work closely with the defence and security industry on many projects, so it would be great to work with you via one of our partners.


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

  • Making effective decisions
  • Delivering at pace
  • Working together

Technical skills

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

  • What is the title of the degree (or equivalent) you are currently studying, what year are you due to graduate and what modules you are taking? Please list any results you have as well.
  • Please list your top three technical areas of interest or degree modules and include a short explanation of why you enjoy these the most.
  • What transferable skills can you bring from your work, life or extra-curricular activities that you feel might be relevant for a role at Dstl?


We’ll provide a great range of benefits including:

  • Fully flexible working, including alternative working patterns, annualized hours, compressed hours and job share, to name a few.
  • Flexible working hours, a 12 month reference period and the ability to bank hours. Up to 20 hours can be taken in any calendar month.
  • Excellent learning and development to ensure everyone fulfils their potential.
  • Maternity, adoption or shared parental leave of up to 26 weeks full pay followed by 13 weeks statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaid, and paternity leave of two weeks full pay.
  • Chartership and accreditation support.
  • Pension.
  • Generous annual leave, with the ability to buy and sell up to five days holiday per year.
  • A competitive salary.
  • Onsite gyms and restaurants.
  • Staff discounts for high street and online shopping, restaurants and days out.

Our diversity networks

Dstl recognizes 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 maximizes their contribution. 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
  • 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


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

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your behaviours, experience and technical skills.
In your application we’ll be looking for information about you, your skills, background and technical experience.

Applications will be reviewed throughout the advertising period focusing on your skills and experiences and how these match the requirements of the job description which is attached.

The next stage will be a formal interview – dates detailed below, which will also take place throughout the advertising period. Due to the current situation this is likely to be via a video link.

For the formal interview you will be asked to prepare a 10-minute informal presentation on a “A Technical Project You Have Undertaken That You Are Proud Of”.

Interview dates

  • 11 November
  • 18 November
  • 25 November
  • 2 December
  • 9 December
  • 16 December

As part of our early talent scheme students may be offered the opportunity of transition into a permanent graduate role or a returning summer position following successful completion of their placement.

Students can only join this scheme upon completion of a placement with Dstl and with appropriate approval.

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. We offer a guaranteed interview scheme for all disabled applicants who provide evidence in their application of meeting the minimum essential requirements of the post, set out in the job description. You will be asked to indicate if you are applying under this scheme when you submit your application.

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

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.

Apply and further information

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

Recruitment team, e-mail

Further information

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

Reference number

£17,176 – £17,176 pro-rata

Administrative Assistant
Dstl Level 1

Contract type
Fixed term

Length of employment
8–12 weeks

Business area
Dstl – Cyber & Information Systems Divison

Type of role

Working pattern
Flexible working, full-time, job share, compressed hours

Number of posts


Employer profile

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