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Space Placements Industry Spin FAQs

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The current situation around Coronavirus has naturally raised many questions as to how the SPIN programme will be run this summer. We are making a few adjustments to ensure our interns and host organisations can proceed as smoothly as possible:

  • The internship should still be a minimum of 8 weeks but when you start and end is entirely between company and intern. Recognising that many placements will begin whilst we’re still working remotely we ask that all host organisations ensure that they have robust support mechanisms in place in regards to equipment, security, and connectivity and have considered the ‘keeping in touch’ implications this may have.
  • The Induction Day at Harwell Campus will be replaced by a Virtual Welcome event – full details will be shared with successful applicants closer to the event in June.
  • We will stay in regular contact with both the interns and the host organisations to see how it’s going for both of you, so please make sure that we have your correct contact details.
  • The Showcase Event this year will be held remotely on 25 November – more details to follow.

If you have any questions, please contact

What is SPIN?

The Space Placements in INdustry scheme seeks to provide project placements within companies and research organisations for registered students wishing to undertake a short-term placement within the space sector. It is recognised that all high tech industry sectors need bright and motivated graduates, particular from STEM disciplines in order to grow their business areas, and the space sector is no different. Through SPIN, the sector is ensuring that the brightest and best people are encouraged to focus their attention on space for their careers.

Employer Benefits

  • Carry out a piece of work or project that you otherwise would not have time for
  • Identify potential employees for the future
  • ‘Try before you buy’ and save your company significant recruitment costs
  • Be part of the feedback loop to universities on the skills you would like to see in your employees of the future
  • Influence the future choices the candidate will make

SPINtern Benefits

  • A paid work placement that will give you a very tangible experience to add to your CV
  • Unique induction event which will give you a perspective of the active and vibrant space sector in the UK
  • Showcase event which will enable you to promote yourself and the skills you’ve learnt to a wider community of potential employers
  • Learn first-hand the skills that employers really want
  • All SPINterns hosted by companies new to the scheme will be visited by a manager of the SPIN scheme during their placements, and all students are encouraged to engage with the scheme manager throughout and after their placement.

SPIN Poster and Showcase Event

It is a requirement of the programme that every SPINtern produces a poster (details will be confirmed nearer the time) of the project during their placement. The Employer should ensure this is completed during their time in their organisation.  The poster will be displayed at the Showcase Event which is held on 25 November (details to be confirmed nearer the time).  During the Showcase event SPINterns are also required to give a 2 minute pitch about their project (poster).  This is a fantastic opportunity to really demonstrate what the SPINtern has achieved during their placement and practice the skills they’ve learnt which will be very valuable to future employers.

For Employers, what happens?

  1. Grant funding may be available from the UK Space Agency to support your SPIN placement.
  2. Employers identify and scope a project advert ensuring that it follows best practice guidelines to attract a good selection of candidates
  3. SPIN will advertise it for 4 weeks, inviting those eligible to apply through an online form with CV
  4. SPIN will collate all applications before delivering them to the host employer
  5. Supervisor selects potential candidate(s) using their usual criteria, and agrees terms directly with the SPINtern. Supervisors are asked to inform the SPIN office as soon as a candidate has accepted and should inform all unsuccessful candidates within 4 weeks.
  6. Projects should run for at least 8 weeks at a mutually agreed time. We strongly encourage the host to attend the Induction Day with their SPINtern, on 15th June 2020, at the Satellite Applications Catapult, Harwell. We hope to facilitate streaming of the event for those not located close enough to Harwell.
  7. You should ensure that the poster and presentation that the SPINtern prepares and produces with your support for the Showcase Event in autumn 2020, is compliant with your own objectives.

What is a “Project”?

Projects can vary from organisation to organisation. It may be a piece of research or a small project that would otherwise not be done. It may be working as part of a team, or something more independent. The more time spent scoping the project at the beginning, the easier it is for the SPINtern to hit the ground running, and less support the host will need to provide throughout the project.


The scheme is open to registered students who are enthusiastic about working in the space industry. Whilst Aerospace Engineering or Physics are key topics to the ‘upstream’ sector, Electronic, Mechanical and Systems Engineering are also important; numerate and computer-savvy natural scientists and geographers are sought after in the ‘downstream’ or ‘satellite-enabled’ sectors, and all organisations are interested in those with AI and software engineering skills and will require people with business related skills. You should also be aware that most organisations will not be in a position to support visa applications for short-term workers. If you are in any doubt as to whether you will require a visa, please refer to the UK Visas and Immigration website. We are unable to facilitate this.

How long should placements be?

At least 8 weeks, but any length that suits the host organisation is acceptable as long as it works for both parties. NB we found during the pilot scheme that candidates completed their projects more rapidly than was anticipated, so it pays to have a supplementary role “in the back pocket”.

When should the project be carried out?

To start on or as close to the Induction Day on 15th June 2020 as long as it works for both of you. In special circumstances, projects may be made available at different times of the year.

What dates must the student and supervisor be present?

We will be holding a Space Induction Day on Monday June 15th 2020 at the Satellite Applications Catapult to provide all our summer SPINterns with the opportunity to learn about the activities of organisations across the sector. Additionally, all SPINterns are expected to attend the Showcase Event (date tbc in autumn 2020), when SPINterns will prepare a short ‘poster’ report of their project and present a 2-minute elevator pitch. We strongly encourage both SPINterns and Hosts to participate as the skills and outcomes they will be able to demonstrate are highly sought after by employers.

Will the SPINterns be paid?

Yes, these are paid placements and our guide is £1500 per month which should enable the SPINtern to travel to their place of work, and potentially live away from home.

Is there any funding available to support companies?

Funding will be made available through a competitive grant process and a link will be made available here as soon as the Call opens.

What is the SPIN Showcase?

The SPIN Showcase is an opportunity for the SPINterns to demonstrate the work that they have carried out during their placement. They will present a short ‘soap box’ presentation which will be followed by a poster exhibition. In 2019 the event was held during the UK Space Conference, the venue for 2020 has not yet been decided. All SPINterns, with the support and agreement of their supervisors, are asked to produce a poster describing their work during their placement. If the work they are carrying out is sensitive, please contact Kathie Bowden so that a contingency plan can be put in place, although they would still be expected to describe the work in broad terms. This poster should be completed and produced during the placement, and where necessary, financially supported by the host, either in the form of providing materials, printing or related costs. The Showcase will be followed by a careers event.

Intellectual Property

All parties agree to abide by the intellectual property rights, security clearances and any required documentation as set out by the host of the placement.

Health and Safety

The host will ensure that they meet all legislative and insurance requirements for hosting the student, including adequate supervision and training.

Support Visits

As soon as you’ve agreed the dates of the placement, please could hosts suggest a convenient date for Kathie Bowden to visit.


All host employers are asked to provide the successful candidate with an informal review at the end of their placement, with advice on how they could improve their CV, and a reference for their CV if requested.



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