Dstl Summer Placement – STEM and Project Management

Company Details

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is the science inside UK defence and security.

Job summary

Job grade – Administrative Assistant Dstl Level 1

Length of employment – 12 weeks (over the summer starting approx. June 2023)

Are you studying a STEM or project management related degree and looking for an summer placement like no other?

Do you want to work on unique projects that help protect the security and prosperity of the UK?

Would you like to do this, while being supported and mentored by industry experts?

If so, Dstl (The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) has the place for you. Join us on a 10-12 week summer placement scheme between your academic studies. Working in one of our divisions (Chemical Biological Radiological, Cyber Information Systems, Counter-terrorism & Security, Exploration or Platform Systems) you will gain an understanding of a career in science, research and technology while being exposed to genuine projects, witnessing trials and working on tasks independently and within a group.

Impress us? We will speak to you about our sponsorship opportunities!

Dstl who?

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

We recognise the importance of diversity and inclusion as we welcome 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 this level.

Job description

While on your summer placement, you will:

  • Get an insight into working for Dstl and within UK Government
  • Contribute to projects advancing research with technology and research that due to their sensitivity cannot be done anywhere else
  • Take pride and care in your tasks, knowing what you do makes real impact
  • Develop your skills and learn from Dstl employees, wider government, industry and academia,
  • Apply theory based learning to real problems

Which Division would I work in?

Dstl is looking for placements across a range of our divisions:

Cyber & Information Systems Division delivers evidence based resilient sensing, information and effector systems for the defence and security of the UK. The threats that the UK faces every day are many and varied. CIS advance the tools, techniques and tradecrafts required to establish World Class capabilities to detect and counter these threats through research, development and technology assessment. We maintain and develop a range of capabilities that achieve the division’s vision of delivering transformational information superiority. Working with our partners, together we offer the capabilities that provide the skills, knowledge, expertise and facilities that underpin the outcomes needed to support Defence in Cyber, C4ISR and Space related areas – both now and in the future.

Operations Division provides the platform and capability to enable the delivery of high impact S&T. Operations are responsible for maintaining the legacy, delivering the now and planning for the future to ensure Dstl can continue to deliver Defence and Security S&T through a wide range of infrastructure, digital and business change projects and programmes.

Exploration Division looks past the known and looks for the “Generation after Next” of technology to give defence and our security services the ability to protect ourselves and our allies. We seek to discover and exploit the science that no one has done before. Projects are wide range from: preparing defence for the future by identifying and promoting generation after next science and technologies; leading the thinking behind key decisions that will shape the future of defence; harness innovation in the information environment; and future proof defence in a climate changing world.

Platform Systems Division brings together science and technology based around the platforms that are used by our armed forces, and the mission systems and weapons systems that are linked to or integrated within them. Examples of platforms include military vehicles like tanks or fighter jets. We primarily support the front line commands (Army, Navy and Air Force), providing advice and solutions when there are gaps in the capability of platforms, to help ensure the UK retains its battle-winning advantage and to maintain national security. Our work also includes ways to keep safe both the platforms and the military personnel who use them.

Counter-Terrorism and Security (CTS) Division primarily delivers science and technology (S&T) to support the UK government in the fight against crime and terrorism. The Division’s work includes supporting the military, security services and emergency services on the front line, delivering bespoke engineering solutions to urgent problems, and investing in new technology and capabilities for future and emerging threats. CTS Division has a wide range of customers including the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office and other government departments. CTS is staffed by expert practitioners and houses specialist laboratories, workshops and facilities, which together enable Dstl to respond rapidly to operational demands and ensure that the UK retains operational advantage. The Division maintains the Sovereign UK energetics capability and provides a source of threat information to the rest of Dstl.

Person specification

We are looking for someone who is/has:

  • Currently studying for a degree in STEM or a project management related discipline (the placement if only for current university students)
  • Strong communication and good interpersonal skills
  • Good problem solver
  • A passion for learning and development
  • The desire to understand how things work and to improve them
  • The ability to work independently and in teams
  • The ability to work outside of their comfort zone
  • Self-starting skills (i.e. confidence, motivation, innovation, creativity)
  • Integrity

You must be studying a STEM or project management related degree in an appropriate subject such as (but not limited to) the following;

  • Chemistry/Applied Chemistry
  • Engineering/Software Engineering/Electronics Engineering/ Mechanical Engineering
  • Avionics/Aerospace Engineering/Astrophysics/Space Science/Space Engineering
  • Computer Science/Cyber Security
  • Mathematics/Applied Mathematics/Statistics
  • Social Science/Human Science
  • Science/Physics/Space Science/Data Science/Acoustic Science
  • Forensic Science
  • Project Management/Business Studies

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.


Degree in an appropriate subject


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

  • Delivering at Pace
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Working Together

Technical skills

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

  • Please state your Degree title and modules
  • State Key area of interest (50 words max)
  • Explain how your skills and experiences fit with the work of Dstl -https://bit.ly/3rJiVCD
  • Are you applying for a STEM based or Project management based placement? Please type STEM, Project Management or Both


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. In Year Rewarding Achievement bonuses and thank you vouchers. Rental deposit scheme and cycle to work scheme.
  • Flexible working: Working options include alternative working patterns, compressed hours, job shares and annualised hours
  • 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: A generous annual leave allowance starting at 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: Encouragement and support on charterships, accreditations and access to fully funded apprenticeships up to level 7 (Masters Degree). Paid memberships with 2 relevant bodies/institutions. Employees have access to Civil Service Learning.
  • Facilities: Onsite parking, EV Charging points, restaurants, cafés and gyms.

The information pack can be found attached to the job specification on Civil Service Jobs.


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.

Tagged as: internship, engineering internship

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