The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is a world-leading centre for research into measurement science and technology.

We sit at the intersection between scientific discovery and real world application. Our research supports innovation in science, industry and medicine. Our scientists make real differences to people’s lives through research in fields as diverse as quantum physics, medicine and climate change.

At NPL we recognise that our success comes from attracting energetic and imaginative people, a reflection of our own values. The self-cultivated atmosphere of support and collaboration is one we are justifiably proud of. At every level, in every area of our business, we seek to nurture and respect our people to support each other to grow, succeed and enjoy work.

We have ambitious plans for the future. We want to apply our scientific expertise to emerging fields to help tackle society’s greatest challenges. To do so, we’re seeking to recruit talented individuals to help us grow our capabilities in our priority areas: life sciences, big data, medical physics, digital and emerging technologies, advanced manufacturing, and environmental monitoring. We will be recruiting at all levels, from early career scientists to principal researchers. Each priority area will be delivered in collaboration with partner academic and industrial organisations throughout the country, and roles will include joint appointments and secondments.

Life sciences

Life sciences 

An ageing population, increased rates of chronic and lifestyle-related diseases, and global concerns such as antimicrobial resistance are placing ever greater demands on the healthcare sector. For example, without action, by 2050 antimicrobial resistance could cost the global economy $100 trillion and claim up to 10 million lives a year. Yet, the antibiotic drug discovery pipeline is sparsely populated and plagued by high attrition rates, and on average it takes 12 years for a new drug to reach the marketplace.

At NPL we want to use our measurement expertise to improve the understanding of the biological processes that underpin major diseases and treatments, speeding up the drug discovery process and bringing drugs to the market faster. By developing more accurate and reliable methods to measure at the molecular, subcellular, cell and tissue levels in biological systems, we will support innovation in emerging fields such as synthetic biology and regenerative medicine.

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Physical metrology for the life sciences

We are seeking to recruit people at all levels with skills and experience in the design, engineering, characterisation and standardisation of biomolecules and biomolecular processes in solution, cells and tissues. Focusing on:

  • Drug discovery and manufacture
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Medical technology
  • Synthetic biology
  • Precision medicine
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Big Data

Big data 

Big data is transforming society, generating insights and spurring innovations in fields as diverse as science, business, transport and healthcare. Big data has immense potential, but its benefits will only be realised if the data is accurate and stored securely.

NPL has a long and distinguished history in data science, going back to Alan Turing’s work on the first Automatic Computing Engine at NPL in 1945. Today, and for our future, we’re focussing on defining standards and guidelines for data accuracy and traceability through complex networks, accessibility, longevity accurate data collection and secure storage, and creating trusted and reliable analysis techniques.

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Data metrology

We are seeking to recruit people at all levels with skills and experience in the following areas:

  • Networks and integrating multiple sources of data
  • Deep learning, machine learning and cognitive computing
  • Data storage, integrity, curation and security
  • Real-time fidelity and control of data
View our current vacancies
Medical Physics

Medical physics 

There are 330,000 new cancer diagnoses each year in the UK, and this is growing 2% per annum. One in two people born in the UK after 1960 will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. Yet, according to the Cancer Strategy for England (2015-2020), we are slower in adopting innovations in cancer treatment than many other countries, even when those innovations were developed within the UK health system.

NPL has worked with the radiotherapy community for decades, providing measurement science support and assurance for radiotherapy treatments, ensuring radiation is used safely and effectively. We are now broadening this approach with the establishment of a Metrology for Medical Physics Centre at NPL. The Centre will work with leading hospitals, universities, professional bodies, and equipment manufacturers to enable the rapid and widespread adoption of new cancer diagnosis and treatment technologies, helping to drive down mortality rates and save lives.

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Metrology for medical physics

We are seeking to recruit people at all levels with skills and experience in the following areas

  • Advanced external beam therapies (radiotherapy, ultrasound)
  • Quantitative imaging for SPECT/PET/ultrasound/CT & texture analysis
  • Image quality (MRI, CT, ultrasound)
  • Radiobiology
  • Nuclear medicine
  • Big data for clinical and basic research in radiation therapy
View our current vacancies
Quantum technologies

Quantum technologies 

Digital and emerging technologies, including quantum technologies promise to change our lives profoundly, affecting the world’s biggest markets including semiconductor devices, mobile communications, computing, finance, and defence and security. The modern world is dominated by communication technologies, and the growth and rapid diversification of devices is driving demand for more access, more capacity and more speed. This is driving requirements for improved quantum technologies and fabrication methods, which operate at the edges of capability.

NPL is a key player in the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme. Alongside university research and industrial development, the Quantum Metrology Institute at NPL is developing ground-breaking new technologies and can rigorously and independently test and validate prototypes of new products, building confidence in their performance for investors and consumers. Similarly, our work in electromagnetics, aligned with universities and industry, can provide the measurement science to support the rapid expansion in communications and networks.

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Metrology for quantum and communication technologies

We are seeking to recruit people at all levels with skills and experience in optical and solid state quantum technologies and electromagnetic systems, including in science and engineering, electronic and mechanical design, characterisation and standardisation. Focussing on:

  • Atomic and laser physics and engineering
  • Low temperature and other solid state physics and engineering
  • Microwave and photonic science
  • High speed digital communications and sensors
  • Power networks characterisation
  • Team and project management in science and engineering disciplines
View our current vacancies
Advanced Manufacturing

Advanced manufacturing 

Advanced manufacturing requires industrial developments that provide greater levels of automation and higher levels of precision, while operating at higher rates of production. Key development areas include: digital manufacturing, intelligent robotics, continuous and multi-material production, in-process measurement, and seamless data processing using supercomputer data handling. Advanced manufactured goods now account for a substantial proportion of UK exports and represent a significant opportunity for UK economic growth.

At NPL we’re developing revolutionary methods to embed measurement into the whole manufacturing lifecycle, from design and production, through to operational service. Our measurement science innovations allow manufacturers to make instantaneous, low-uncertainty measurements during the production and assembly of complex, large and highly-integrated components. Our instruments and sensors have broad use within automotive, aerospace and emerging markets and international science programmes.

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Metrology to support advanced manufacturing

We are seeking to recruit engineers and scientists at all levels with skills and experience in the following areas:

  • Measurement systems and sensors
  • Precision mechatronics and instruments
  • Electronics and control
  • Software, data and wireless technologies
View our current vacancies
Environmental Monitoring

Environmental monitoring 

Climate change is a major global challenge. Monitoring emissions, mitigating climate change and adapting to its impacts will require coordination and collaboration between scientists, policy makers and industry. Getting this right will not be easy: in the recent World Economic Forum Global Risks Report, experts and CEOs surveys identified ‘failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation’ as the risk with the greatest potential impact in 2016.

At NPL we work on the measurement science of climate change and air pollution. We help tackle climate change by detecting and quantifying emissions, which allows industry and governments to take steps reduce our environmental impact. We radically improve the landscape for emissions monitoring by helping sensor manufacturers to develop and test their products and by supporting regulators to set standards. We are developing new commercial methods for industry to measure and reduce emissions, helping companies comply with regulations and increase their operational efficiency.

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Environmental Emissions Monitoring

We are seeking to recruit people at all levels with skills and experience in the following areas:

  • Gas sensing and instrument validation
  • Laser physics and spectroscopy
  • Field measurement of atmospheric composition
  • Measurement of greenhouse gases using satellite Earth observation
  • Industrial emissions science and remote sensing
View our current vacancies

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