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Materials Engineer/Scientist

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)
Dstl Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 0JQ
£29,228 - £38,066
Closing date
31 Jan 2023

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Job Details

Job summary

Dstl (the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) works to harness science and technology to maximise the defence and security of the UK.

We are all about safety, passionate about innovation and enthusiastic about exploitation of R&D. If successful you will lead R&D projects to advance the capabilities of the UK's armed forces. With your experience, you’ll not only understand our systems and platforms but see the potential in them that others don’t.

You will work within the Materials Team of the Physical Sciences Group in the Platforms Systems Division. As such you will be part of a team of ~25 scientists, physicists and engineers whose day job is to support the research programmes developing the advanced materials and capabilities of the future.

You can look forward to a job working alongside partners in industry, academia and other government departments to research, develop, test and evaluate new ideas and to support current and future generations of UK military capability and UK prosperity. The particular area of focus is in materials research and development for platforms across the air, maritime, land and space domains.

Success will depend on the ability to work as part of this team and the wider group, drawing on the knowledge and experience of its existing members. You will develop your own knowledge and understanding with the goal of eventually leading R&D for materials across the domains which may require the placement of external contracts with suppliers.

As part of the role, for one of the available jobs, you will be required to use, manage, develop and maintain the materials characterisation facilities and supporting activities.  Examples of equipment include: laboratory-scale material curing/manufacturing equipment, materials ageing equipment (environmental chambers), TGA, DSC, DMA, FTIR, SEM.  For this aspect of the role, strong organisational and analytical skills are required.

Working with external partners and international collaborators will require the individual to have strong interpersonal skills to develop and maintain networks.  You will develop in the role to use your understanding of research methods and your skills in critical evaluation to provide constructive feedback during the lifecycle of externally placed contracts.

Dstl recognises 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 maximises their contribution.

We particularly welcome female and ethnic minority applicants and those from the LGBTQI community, as they are under-represented within Dstl at these levels.

Job description

In this role you will:

  • Engage with customers/partners effectively to support the development of UK MOD's materials capability and strategy – accountable to the internal Dstl programme and its wider MOD partners.
  • Provide technical leadership of research and development projects to meet MOD's short, medium and long term capability goals – accountable to the internal Dstl programme.
  • Provide technical advice to customers/partners on material topics across one or more of the Air, Maritime, Land and Space domains.
  • One of the successful candidates will manage, maintain and develop the materials characterisation facilities as part of their role.
  • Engage and work with the wider Platform Systems Division and Dstl.
  • Collaborate with the UK's international partners to support MOD's long term goals

Person specification

We are looking for someone who:


  • Either holds a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, or equivalent experience/qualifications, with strong skills in one or more of the following areas: materials science, engineering, physical sciences, or related discipline. The individual will have a deep understanding of research methods and experience in critical evaluation.  May also have obtained a doctorate in this field of research.
  • Has a good understanding of one or more of the following areas: ceramics, adhesives, coatings, metals, polymers, composites, materials characterisation methods, ageing of materials, functional materials.
  • Possesses demonstrable knowledge and/or skill in any of the following technical areas:
  • Materials characterisation techniques and equipment;
  • Research methods and critical evaluation;
  • Materials science, with a specialism in one or more areas;
  • Related emerging science and technology developments.
  • Has a strong desire to learn, with the aim to fill any gaps in their knowledge.
  • Possesses confidence to lead the development and delivery of R&D activities for long term capability development across the Air, Land, Maritime and Space domains.
  • Has good interpersonal skills and is willing to develop networks and work with external research suppliers and our international allies to deliver high quality R&D projects.  Individuals applying for the higher career level may have experience in leading multi-organisational teams to deliver research outcomes.


Essential Skills


  • Bachelor’s/Master’s degree or equivalent qualifications/experience in physical sciences, engineering or materials science


  • Strong engineering and/or scientific skills in materials and materials characterisation.
  • Technical understanding of processing, structure, properties relationships in materials.
  • An understanding of appropriate research methods and critical evaluation.
  • Strong communication skills, both written and oral, with the capacity to tailor the content to a variety of audiences (e.g. military, academic).
  • Robust inter-personal, organisational and analytical skills.
  • The ability to recognise and consolidate relevant information from disparate sources to make recommendations and define requirements.


  • Proficiency in delivering high quality R&D.
  • Working well under pressure with minimal supervision.
  • Proven track record of scientific, engineering or materials output.
  • Practical experience in a relevant discipline.

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.


About us

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is the science inside UK defence and security. A proven national asset, Dstl is an executive agency of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) providing world class expertise and delivering cutting-edge science and technology for the benefit of the nation and allies.

Who we are

Dstl is one of the principal government organisations dedicated to science and technology in the defence and security field.

Dstl supplies specialist services to MOD and wider government, working collaboratively with external partners in industry and academia worldwide, providing expert research, specialist advice and invaluable operational support.

We are innovative, collaborative and impactful.

Our responsibilities

Our responsibilities include:

  • supplying sensitive and specialist science and technology services for MOD and wider government
  • providing and facilitating expert advice, analysis and assurance on defence procurement
  • leading on the MOD’s science and technology programme
  • understanding risks and opportunities through horizon-scanning
  • acting as a trusted interface between MOD, wider government, the private sector and academia to provide science and technology support to military operations by the UK and her allies
  • championing and developing science and technology skills across MOD

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