Computing in the Laboratory: Where Natural Science and Computer Science meetPublished: Tuesday, 18 October 2016
Where is the Nobel Prize for Computer Science?
Computing plays an important role in all the natural sciences. Although there is no Nobel Prize for Computer Science, many scientific discoveries in Physics, Chemistry and Biology rely heavily on various kinds of computation and extensive collaboration with computer scientists and software engineers. See Computer modellers secure chemistry Nobels in 2013, for example.
Consequently, there are many European research laboratories who hire computer scientists. CERN in Geneva is probably the best known, but there are many others like it, and some of them offer year long placements and summer internships for undergraduate students in Computer Science including:
- CERN: see the CERN Technical Student Program, deadline 25th October 2016, make sure you read the extra information from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) the part of the UK government which funds this program, especially the information under "How to apply" at the STFC link above. Its worth going into some detail on your interests, so for example, if machine learning is of particular interest - make sure you mention it in your application.
- RAL & Daresbury: The STFC also fund two large laboratories in the UK: The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) near Oxford and the Daresbury Laboratory near Warrington. For placements at either see stfccareers.co.uk/careers/students/ and for example Sandwich Student - Scientific Software Engineer at RAL working on the Mantid Project. STFC will be visiting Kilburn on Wednesday 12th October for the careers fair.
- Earlham Institute: The Earlham Institute in Norwich is a centre for life sciences research. They do a year in industry described at earlham.ac.uk/year-industry and are looking for Computer Science students (along with Biological sciences, Mathematics and Physics students). Their website says "Applications for placements during the 2017/2018 academic year will open in early October." Watch this space.
- Diamond Geezers The Diamond Light Source is the UK’s national synchrotron science facility, located in Oxfordshire. Applications for 2017 are yet to be opened, but watch this space or email the address at diamond.ac.uk/Careers/Work-Placement/12-months.html
- The Crick in London the newly opened Francis Crick Institute in London will be offering sandwich placements if you've an interested in applying your engineering skills to biomedical science. See sandwich students at the Crick, given the interdisciplinary nature of work in the lab, it seems likely that they'll be looking for computer scientists.
- Plymouth Marine Lab: Down in Devon, Plymouth Marine Laboratory have vacancies every year for students to work on processing data and imagery from aircraft and a variety of satellite ocean colour and temperature instruments. These vacancies get advertised later in the academic year, see pml.ac.uk/Working-with-us
- See also: This is not a comprehensive list of UK labs, see summary on wikipedia for a flavour of what else is available.
Many current and former students of Computer Science at the University of Manchester have worked in these labs. If you'd like me to put you in touch with any of them to discuss your applications, let me now.