Scientific Computing Graduate - Will Furnell
21 Sep 2020
- Rebecca Humble



Will joined the Science and Technology Facilities Council as a Scientific Computing Graduate in the autumn of 2019. Now almost a year down the line, his advice to others considering the program is “Go for it!”

Will Furnell working on a supercomputer cabinet



​​The computer bug caught Will early on, he says, “I started making websites on my home computer when I was about 11 and haven’t looked back since”, a passion which he then went on to study as a degree in BSc Computer Science at the University of Kent. However, for Will, knowing exactly what he wanted to do in the sector wasn’t so easy, he says “Only after finding this job did I know it was right for me! I liked the idea of having multiple projects to work on during the two years of the graduate scheme. I wasn’t particularly sure what I would have liked to do as a permanent role when I started, so these meant I could find what interested me the most.”

What brought Will to STFC was the variety of scientific research that is undertaken here, he says, “Scientific Computing runs and supports services that departments within STFC use for their science, which made it an ideal role to apply for. Since joining, I have learnt about more science that takes place here at the Rutherford Appleton Lab – and other STFC sites, which has only made me more interested and excited about working here!​”

A project he is currently working on is front-end web development for a new Identity and Access Management software, which will be used by organisations all around the world. This involves a remote collaboration with the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics in Milan, which also assign a variety of tasks, making each week a new and exciting challenge. He says, “During my year at STFC I have improved my system administration and programming skills massively, and learnt about things that I didn’t even know existed before starting the job, which has definitely progressed my career more than just studying at University.”

When asked for his advice to prospective graduates, he says, “Go for it! We work on really cool technologies and problems! Don’t worry if you think you don’t have the required knowledge – much of my and every other graduates time is spent learning on the job – that’s all part of it.”

Will Furnell taking photographs of landscapeAlong with his work, Will also likes to get involved with STFC public engagement, a project he is currently involved in is Remote3. Originally designed to help students from remote schools access exciting science, technology, engineering and maths, the project has been adapted to continue online during the coronavirus pandemic. During this time, Will has been acting as a school mentor and doing weekly webinars for schools, he says,​ "I've really enjoyed being part of the Remoteproject as, even thought it's all been more remote than what was originally planned, it has been a great way to engage with students". ​

Outside of work, Will likes to work on electronic projects, such as a rocket tracker which he is working on with the Harwell Rocket Club on site at the Rutherford Appleton laboratory site. However, it’s not all science and tech for Will: he’s also an avid photographer, enjoys walking in the countryside and exploring remote train stations.​

Contact: Humble, Rebecca (STFC,RAL,SC)