Student Internship

Harpenden, Hertfordshire
£16,000 pro-rata
26 Jun 2019
14 Jul 2019

Internship Student – 3 months

AquAffirm provides a dynamic and collaborative environment for researchers and engineers to excel at their careers. Our globally-recognized scientists and engineers pursue innovation to help solve complex challenges in the water sector, which range from water reuse optimisation software through to point-of-use testing solutions and contaminant removal technologies.

AquAffirm has one full-time Internship position available in “The Development of Characterisation Methods and Procedures to Analyse Optical Test Strips for the Measurement of Fluoride in Drinking Water”.  You will join a highly motivated group working to develop an innovative sensor technology capable of rapidly measuring fluoride concentrations in drinking water.

Overview of work

This will be a lab-based chemistry internship to work with a small team improving the dynamic range of the optical test strip and improving its manufacturability. The test uses a macromolecule-based thin-film that responds (changes colour) in a robust reproducible manner when it comes into contact with fluoride ions in water. The change is detectable using a UV-Vis instrument or portable spectrometer (e.g. Ocean Optics).

The intern will also assist with early scale-up to small volume production, working with the in-house team and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI).

The successful applicant will have a strong background in inorganic, synthetic or analytical chemistry with experience in statistical data analysis, experimental design and strong lab experience. Experience in Matlab or Origin is beneficial. The successful candidate will have excellent verbal and written communication skills and will have an ability to work both independently and as part of a team.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • this is primarily a laboratory based position requiring design, fabrication and characterisation of optical sensors
  • to take initiative in the planning of the work, in collaboration with the project manager, team leader and collaborators
  • to identify and develop suitable techniques for the collection and analysis of data relevant to the project aims
  • to ensure the validity and reliability of data at all times
  • to maintain accurate and complete records of all findings
  • to work with and manage project subcontractors
  • to travel, as required, for meetings with collaborators, to conduct field trials, and to attend project progress meetings
  • to prepare progress reports on research as required 
  • to contribute to the drafting and submitting of papers to peer reviewed journals and patent applications
  • to undertake appropriate administration tasks associated with the project
  • to comply with relevant BNC policies, including Financial Regulations, Equal Opportunities Policy, Promoting Race Equality Policy, Health and Safety Policy, Information Systems Security Policy and Intellectual Property Rights and Register of Interests Policies
  • to be responsible for ensuring that equipment is safe and maintained in working order
  • the postholder will carry out any other duties as are within the scope, spirit and purpose of the job as requested by AquAffirm


The role would suit Chemistry candidates still undertaking their undergraduate or masters degrees or candidates who have just recently graduated.

Knowledge / Experience

  • Practical experience within a chemical research environment, either academic or industrial is essential.
  • Experience in UV/Visible Spectroscopy is essential.
  • Experience in handling chemicals in a safe and controlled manner is essential.
  • Experience in data processing is essential.
  • Experience in experimental design is essential.

Skills and Abilities

  • Ability to conduct a comprehensive but succinct review of recent literature.
  • Ability to apply knowledge and experience, described above, to generate and analyse relevant experimental data .
  • Ability to develop and apply new concepts or theories, drawing on literature and experimental information.
  • A Creative approach to problem-solving.
  • Excellent verbal communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent written communication skills, especially to write clearly and succinctly for publication.
  • Ability to organise work on own initiative and prioritise own work in response to deadlines.

Personal Attributes

  • Willingness to work as part of a team and to be open-minded and cooperative.
  • Flexible attitude towards work as necessitated by the demands of the project.
  • Highly self-motivated.
  • Disciplined with regard to confidentiality and security at all times.
  • Willingness to undertake any necessary training for the role.
  • An ability to work efficiently to tight deadlines and under occasional pressure.
  • Willingness to travel both within the United Kingdom and abroad to conduct research, field-trials and meet with project collaborators/sponsors.

Place of work

Normal place of work will be at AquAffirm’s Laboratories at Rothamsted Open Innovation Hub, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ.

To apply for this position please email your CV with a covering letter to

AquAffirm is an Equal Opportunity employer committed to equity, diversity and social inclusion. Applications from equity target groups and women are encouraged.

Closing date: Sunday 14th July 2019 at 23:59 (UK time)

Please visit to learn more about us.

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