This job has expired


Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
Salisbury, UK
Closing date
30 Nov 2022

Job Details


Dstl Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 0JQ and Dstl Portsdown West, Fareham, Hampshire PO17 6AD

About the job


We are Dstl, we are UNIQUE and we’re recruiting up to 15 Physicists

Are YOU ready to contribute to the Defence and Security of our nation and Armed Forces?

We want to speak to you!

  • Do you have an inquisitive mind?
  • Do you like to understand how something works?
  • Do you want to do something worthwhile with global impact?
  • Do you want to save lives?
  • Want to work on classified projects?
  • Interested in Missiles, Autonomous Vehicles, Space, Stealthy Materials, Lasers, Radar, Hypersonics’ or Ballistic Weapons ?
  • Shape the technology used in next generation of UK Armed Forces fighter jets, tanks, submarines and ships?

The Reason

With a rapidly changing world and long term shifts in the balance of military power it is vital our Armed Forces continue to remain world-leading and have access to the most cutting edge and capable equipment. The recent Spending Review prioritises the modernisation of our Armed Forces’ Weapons and Mission Systems across Sea, Land, Air and Space. This has resulted in a very significant additional investment in Science and Technology which has led to exciting opportunities within Dstl.

Want to REALLY make a difference, now is the time….

Dstl who?

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is the science, technology and engineering arm of the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

At Dstl, we harness science and technology to protect our nation – bringing together the best people with the best ideas, and applying them in unexpected ways. Because we provide the UK government with specialist science and technology research, advice and analysis, what we do is often sensitive and collaborative. Much of our work is operationally critical and has the potential to save many lives.

Together with other forward-thinking organisations around the country and overseas, we conduct leading weapons and UK military platforms research, and support UK Operations now and into the future. Here, you’ll contribute to providing threat assessments and undertake research and development to support and evolve UK Armed Forces capabilities to protect the UK and its allies. It means applying your skills and knowledge to advance the tools, techniques and tradecraft we use.

If you enjoy working with complex systems, have an appetite for problem solving and a desire to understand how things work, join us in the quest to make the UK a Science and Technology Superpower

Job description

“Support the Physical Fighting Force”

The Platforms Systems Division of Dstl is recruiting up to 15 Physicists to meet the challenges and requirements of the Spending Review. You’ll join a world class team of 1200 staff supporting “The Physical Fighting Force”.

Successful applicants may find themselves contributing to projects such as:

  • Missile Design, Behaviour, Performance and Precision: designing test benches in the lab to assess sensors on the latest missiles;
  • Research and Evaluate the latest countermeasures to ensure Mission Systems such as the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter or the Challenger 3 Main Battle Tank returns safely from operations;
  • Stealthy Materials and Paint Jobs: Consider novel techniques to hide military platforms and improve their survivability;
  • Does it even need a crew or pilot? Autonomous and AI the way to go? Assess the trade-offs between crewed and un-crewed platforms and potentially develop algorithms to allow for autonomous operation;
  • How do you make a warship stronger and lighter? Undertake fundamental science to understand the characteristics of novel materials and assess how these can be applied to 21st century military challenges.

Keen to get involved? Sounds like an awesome challenge!

Indeed it is - these aren’t just desk jobs - we offer hands-on work like no other, with capabilities and facilities unique to Dstl. Our Physicists undertake theoretical work, including modelling and simulation and data analysis to support Operational Research. There is also the opportunity to do practical work in our unique labs, in the field, and aboard military vessels, airframes and vehicles, in the UK and internationally.

Our main customers are the Navy, Army and RAF Front Line Commands and Dstl undertakes Science and Technology research to ensure their weapons, vehicles, airframes and boats are advanced and cutting edge. We assess the threats against UK Armed Forces and identify vulnerabilities in our own and enemy systems to aid mission planning and tactics development. Our work has real direct impact, it facilitates the safe return of UK Armed forces from increasingly hostile environments.

Our work is critical; we need your help to help us achieve these goals now and into the future.

Whilst we are currently recruiting Physicists, we will have other roles open later in the year. We will be looking for Engineers, Analysts and Project Managers and currently have other open vacancies.


So, how do physicists contribute to making our world a safer place?

We have a variety of vacancies (see below) that range from graduates looking for their next job through to experienced scientists and engineers. On the job training will be provided. Working closely with our military customers and industry partners there are many opportunities for travel, trials and for staff placements into industry and other MoD organisations.

Most of all, we recognise the unique skills and aspirations of our staff and are able to present them with an unparalleled range of opportunities to develop both the UK’s military capabilities and themselves.

You have me intrigued! How can I apply? Follow the links in this advert and tell us all about you! Once you’re on the ‘inside’ we can tell you so much more….

We are recruiting Physicists with experience or an interest in developing knowledge in the following subject areas:

  • Laser & Electro-Optics;
  • Radio Frequency and Radar;
  • Hydrodynamics;
  • Aerodynamics;
  • Acoustics/ Sonar;
  • Magnetics;
  • Materials Science;
  • Power and Energy;
  • Analysis;
  • Platform Survivability.

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:

  • Leadership;
  • Communicating and Influencing;
  • Working Together;
  • Delivering at Pace;
  • Technical skills.

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

  • Please state what area of physics you are interested in?
  • Provide an example of a technical challenge you have overcome and how you approached solving it;
  • Benefits;
  • Our people are at the very heart of our work and we’re proud to offer an open and inclusive environment to everyone.

We value your differences (alternative perspectives often provide the most innovative approaches to our work) and we’ll nurture your talent to achieve your full potential. We know you’re unique and that you can only be your best if you’re totally comfortable in the workplace so we have a variety of employee support networks to make sure you have the support you need if it’s required. (see the list of our networks below).

Don’t worry about falling in at the deep end; we’ll provide training and development to support your ongoing professional development throughout your career. We can also pay membership fees for a relevant professional institution and support you to achieve Chartership through our Chartership and Accreditation Scheme.

We have a vibrant community to get you used to the Lab’s working environment. Our employees are part of a vibrant local community and are happy to introduce others to this.

We recognise that it’s important to keep a healthy balance between work and home life. The Lab offers a fully flexible work pattern and a generous annual leave entitlement; you can even buy more leave if you’re planning some extra special travel.

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: Full flexibility working options include alternative working patterns, compressed hours, job shares and annualised hours. Remote working may be available dependent on role.

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: 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: Dstl encourages and supports charterships, accreditations and provides employees access to fully funded apprenticeships up to level 7 (Masters Degree). Dstl will pay for 2 memberships with relevant bodies/institutions. Employees also have access to Civil Service Learning.

Facilities: Onsite parking, EV Charging points, restaurants, cafés and gyms.

The information pack can be found attached at the bottom of this post.

Our Diversity Networks

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.

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.

See our vetting charter.

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.

Application will consist of a CV and Personal Statement asking you to Indicate which area of physics you are interested in and detail some of your experiences of working in this area. You will also be asked to answer some questions about your skills and interests.

Sifts are taking place while vacancy is live and will be followed by a remote interview exploring your skills and aspirations.  interviews are starting from 20th September and will be ongoing.

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.

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

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

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