Women's Business Council Awards event

SEPnet’s Averil MacDonald receives ‘Starting Out Award’

At a reception held at the Guildhall in London held on 17th October 2016, Professor Averil MacDonald OBE, SEPnet’s Diversity and Impact Champion, received the ‘Starting Out Award’  from the Women’s Business Council.
159A3289The award recognises Prof MacDonald for her work inspiring the next generation to take up careers in STEM including the People Like Me project sponsored by Women in Science and Engineering (WISE).

Professor MacDonald has a long standing commitment to encouraging women into careers in Science and Engineering. She has been a role model and has pursued innovative ways of reaching out to girls at an early age to overcome the barriers to gaining STEM qualifications and taking up STEM careers.

In 2015 Professor MacDonald was awarded an OBE for her work in promoting Women in Science and Engineering.

See a People Like Me session with girls at the WISE conference in London on 10 November. Hurry to register before tickets run out:  https://www.wisecampaign.org.uk/conference/wise-conference-2016

GRADnet Summer School

‘I Wish I Had Known Earlier’ – GRADnet Student-led Online Learning Proposal Call

Once again GRADnet is offering a scheme in which postgraduate researchers can create online learning modules to share their knowledge and experience with peers in earlier years.  We invite you to participate in this. You will receive a £1,000 bursary for each online module you create. Details of previously created modules are available on the VRE. Log on to http://www.open.ac.uk/students/research/SEPnet/training/student-led-on-line-learning%20modules

Proposals can be to support the development of either technical skills (for example, theoretical methods and tools, or practical physics know-how and skills) or more transferable/genetic skills (for example, Managing your Time, or Presenting at Conferences).  Although we have provided these examples, we expect that you will have a much better idea from your own experience of exactly what you wished you had known when you had started or what you had difficulty getting to grips with. These modules are designed to help those coming behind you avoid the same problems.

You are asked to submit a proposal for an online module, see attached guidelines and form. The proposal should identify the topic, provide an outline of what a module needs to cover and what learning it is intended to deliver. If selected, you will receive mentoring to help you develop a high quality virtual learning package in one of several possible formats (video, website, text etc). This is another skill to add to your portfolio.  Collaborative modules between groups of students are particularly welcomed. This is an excellent opportunity to develop your teaching skills and experience for your CV.

Before you submit your proposal, there will be a chance to discuss your ideas and see what previous students have done on Tuesday, 25 October 2015 at 11:15-12:15 via Skype.  If you wish to participate in this session please email gradnetadmin@sepnet.ac.uk by midday on Friday, 21 October 2016 and I will then send you the SEPnet Skype contact details.

I wish I had known application form and guidance 2016 Final

Cristobel Soares-Smith
SEPnet Graduate Network Administrator
01483 682270

Amanda Brummitt WISE photo

SEPnet PhD Scholarships: PhD Grand Challenges 2017

SEPnet PhD Scholarships: PhD Grand Challenges 2017

Take nine world-class University Physics Departments.  Bring together their research, knowledge and resources.  The result is SEPnet.

SEPnet offers PhD programmes focused on the future of physics with scholarships to match.  You will optimise the opportunity to enter your preferred field of research with your single application considered by nine universities: Hertfordshire, Kent, the OU, Portsmouth, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, Southampton, Surrey and Sussex. Our partners offer over 100 PhD projects every year. These projects and SEPnet Scholarships are available in the following areas of research:

  • Astrophysics
  • Atmospheric and Climate physics
  • Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
  • Medical and Bio- Physics
  • Nuclear Physics:
  • Particle Physics
  • Physics Education
  • Quantum Technology and Condensed Matter
  • Space and Planetary Sciences
  • Theoretical Physics

Scholarships come with additional research training support from SEPnet of up to £500 per year which may be used for travel to conferences or overseas experiments.

The SEPnet Graduate Network (GRADnet)

GRADnet provides an extensive regional training programme for postgraduate researchers including physics training and professional skills development. For more information visit: http://www.sepnet.ac.uk/study/phd-opportunities/

GRADnet runs Graduate Schools for Physics PhD students at employers in the region. This video, produced by our students, gives a flavour of what to expect:

How to Apply:

Applicants are invited to submit their current C.V. and a short statement of their research interests (max. 200 words) to Cristobel Soares-Smith, SEPnet Graduate Network Administrator, gradnetadmin@sepnet.ac.uk by 15 February 2017.  Selected candidates will be invited to attend an Open Day on 22 February 2017 at the Royal Astronomical Society in London in order to meet potential supervisors and learn more about GRADnet.

Closing Date:  15 February 2017

Note that you are also able apply directly to any SEPnet University separately through their standard procedures. If your application is accepted by a particular University after the closing date above, it may not be considered for this GRADnet scholarship award. The SEPnet route should be considered as a distinct path. We will endeavour to make your application available to be considered for all relevant specific awards outside this SEPnet scheme but cannot guarantee that we are aware of all advertised posts from individual supervisors.

We expect awards to be made before the end of April.


Connecting Industry and Researchers in Physics – A SEPnet Event – Wednesday 19 October 2016 – 17.00-20.00, University of Hertfordshire

Connecting Industry and Researchers in Physics,

Wednesday, 19 October 2016, University of Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire Sports Village, Hatfield.

SEPnet’s Graduate Network (GRADnet) is organising its 6th networking evening to facilitate greater collaboration and links between industry and physics postgraduate research students (PGRs) and researchers.

Who should attend

  • SEPnet PGR students who want to meet businesses and employers from physics-related industries to find out about career opportunities, make contacts and explore research and business ideas.
  • SEPnet partner researchers who want to build links with industry to explore how their research can create impact.
  • Businesses and employers in physics-related industries interested in recruiting physics graduates.

During the evening

  • Hear from panellists including representatives from Culham, Lein Applied Diagnostics, Leonardo, Ultra Electronics, Royal Marsden, Pivigo and GSK talk about the benefits of knowledge exchange and what physics postgraduates and postdocs can offer industry
  • Participate in a speed networking session
  • Build ongoing relationships between industry and researchers through placements, mentoring or research collaboration
  • Find out about work experience and mentoring opportunities;
  • Develop your networking and communication skills.
  • Refreshments will be provided.

How to register    This event is FREE to attend.  Places are limited so please book early by clicking on the following link:http://bit.ly/1R9GsmA.  (PGR students are requested to attend a networking workshop at 16.00). Registration deadline: 14/10/2016

Banners    If you would like to bring a banner for display let us know and we will reserve you a space.

For enquiries, contact gradnetadmin@sepnet.ac.uk


Student and employer exchanging contact information.

GRADnet Induction 2016 for our new PGRs

GRADnet is pleased to announce the Induction event for Physics PGRs from across SEPnet.

Who:  1st Year Physics PhD students. All SEPnet Departments expect all new students to attend.

When:  26 October 2016, 10:15-16:00

Where:  Park Crescent Conference Centre, 229 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 5PN.

Numbers: This event is strongly recommended by all SEPnet partner Departments.  Circa 100 students are expected to attend. Students are to sign up for two workshops on arrival and attend one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Register here.  Or with your local GRADnet administrator. Deadline to register is 19 October 2016. Please ensure you have your VRE account activated.

What:  A one day introduction to GRADnet to learn more about opportunities, to meet fellow researchers from across the network and to participate in two from five short workshops designed to get you started in key areas of activity.

  • LaTeX. LaTeX is a document preparation system widely used by physical scientists for the creation of scientific papers, reports and theses, indeed many key journals require paper submission in LaTeX. You will learn to create a simple document covering the key components — title, abstract, sections, tables, equations, figures, and references.
  • MATLAB. Matlab is a high-level technical computing language and interactive environment for algorithm development, data analysis and visualization, and numerical computation.  MATLAB can solve technical computing problems faster and more easily than with traditional programming languages, such as C, C++, and FORTRAN.
  • Python. Python is a powerful, high-level scripting language that is widely used in scientific research for a huge range of data  analysis and visualisation applications. In this workshop you will learn how to use Python, starting from basic scripts to explore syntax and data types, working up to more complicated ‘real world’ examples.
  • Getting your research published.  This workshop will explain the steps necessary to take the results of your research through to a published paper.  Led by “insiders” from IOP Publishing, it will explain what makes a good paper and why some authors succeed while others do not.
  • Meetings and conferences.  A major part of many students’ PhD is organising meetings; meetings with supervisors, collaborators, sponsors and broader workshops and conferences.  This is a practical workshop designed to help you organise conferences, meetings and events from start to finish, without compromising your research.

Effective Physics Researcher 1 & 29 November 2016

GRADnet is offering a two day course for recent Physics PhD researchers in the SEPnet region.

Who:  This course is for 1st and 2nd Year Physics PhD researchers.

When:   Tuesday, 1 and 29 November 2016

Where:  The Open University, 1-11 Hawley Crescent, Camden, NW1 8NF, Room 1

Register here.  Registration deadline 25 October 2016.

What:  An interactive two-day course designed to develop the skills necessary for you to start your PhD research off on the right foot.  Throughout the two days you will participate in activities and discussions that help you develop plans and strategies which will enable you to succeed now and that will provide you with a solid foundation for the future after your doctorate.

Attendance is required on Day 1 and Day 2.  Day 2 is on 29 November 2016 at the OU in Camden and will cover activities with employers.

Day One: Starting Strong

A varied series of interactive sessions that explore;

  •  What is an effective researcher
  •  Different research approaches
  •  Critical thinking and reading
  •  Understanding expectations and supervisors
  •  Your path to completion
  •  Research project planning
  •  What you need to know
  •  Your next 100 days!

Day Two: Succeeding Now and in the Future

  •  Building your resources
  •  What will this doctorate do for me?
  •  The academic horizon
  •  Employer panel: What do employers want from physics doctoral graduates?
  •  Researcher spotlight: Presenting your research plans

SEPnet Sponsored Workshop in Big Data and Numerical Modelling and Simulation

Initiatives in Computing: Big Data and Numerical Modelling and Simulation

What SEPnet workshops for academic researchers
When 21st and 22nd September 2016
Where Cosener’s House, Abingdon, OX14 3JD
Who Those with interest in:

•      Big data in all areas of physics;

•      Numerical modelling and simulation in condensed matter.

Cost Accommodation and travel costs will be met by SEPnet.
Registration e-mail to gradnetadmin@sepnet.ac.uk asap.

The aim of these parallel workshops is to explore opportunities for collaboration and the winning of research funding in computational science across SEPnet. The two workshops will take the form of joint plenary talks and break-out sessions with particular focus on:

  • Big Data in all areas of physics;
  • Numerical Modelling and Simulation for condensed matter science

Big Data: The forthcoming Alan Turing Institute (ATI) will be a focus for data intensive science in the southeast of England. Within SEPnet, several scientists have been working on university-wide initiatives in Big Data with some local resources committed for these endeavours. This workshop will bring together interested scientists from across SEPnet with a view to sharing ideas and exploring synergies and opportunities, especially in the astronomy and particle physics communities. It will cover academic research in the area of data intensive science, including developing links with the ATI and possible future funding routes through research councils and / or partnerships with business.

Numerical modelling: Strong pockets of expertise in numerical modelling and simulation for condensed matter science across a broad spectrum of length and timescales are embedded right across the SEPnet partners. However, to date little attempt has been made to draw these together. The workshop seeks to showcase activity; to explore some of the big challenges of modelling and simulation and to discuss opportunities for new routes to collaborative research funding especially with business.

Training and innovation opportunities: Both Big Data and Numerical modelling and simulation in condensed matter offer great possibilities for new training and innovation opportunities. At the workshop we will investigate how GRADnet could provide a vehicle for common doctoral training across the network, possibly leading to further funding from the research councils and collaborative funding directly with SME companies. We will also share best practice in collaborative R & D in computational problems with companies.

Speakers: The talk will have a few invited plenary speakers, but ample time for contributed talks and discussions. The programme is here: SEPnet Big Data Workshop Flyer Final v7

Registration: Registration is open. To confirm a place, please send an e-mail to Cristobel Soares-Smith (gradnetadmin@sepnet.ac.uk) asap. In the event of over-subscription, preference will be given to delegates that (i) register early while (ii) maintaining representation from a diversity of interest groups and institutions.

Convenors: Nichol (Ports); Sullivan, Hoenig (Soton.); Oliver (Sussex); McDonald (Surrey).


IBM Festival of Innovation, Wednesday 14 September, Hursley, Hampshire

IBM Festival of Innovation, Wednesday 14 September,  Hursley, Hampshire

IBM invites students, graduates, PhDs and all those interested in technology to a celebration event which showcases its talents, technologies and innovative projects.

It’s a rare opportunity to see IBM’s technology and tour its facilities and it is free of charge.

If you would like to attend, the registration site and information sites are here:

Registration: http://ibm.biz/festivalofinnovation

Information: http://ibm.biz/festivalofinnovation-info

Planetary Science

GRADnet Planetary Science School 14-15 November 2016

Planetary Science School 14-15 November 2016

GRADnet is pleased to announce a two day workshop for postgraduate researchers engaged in the diverse areas of Planetary Science at the SEPnet members.

Who:  Physics postgraduate researchers in planetary science.

When:  14-15 November 2016

Where:  National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 0LW Accommodation is pre-booked and paid by SEPnet at the Travelodge in Teddington.  Travel expenses to and from the venue can be claimed through SEPnet.

Register here.  Registration deadline 14 October 2016. You will need to be logged onto the GRADnet VRE to register.

What:  A 2-day residential workshop led by senior researchers in the SEPnet region comprising lectures, tutorials, seminars and other activities. The workshop comprises four sessions exploring difference aspects of planetary science through a mix of lectures, seminars and tutorials. There will be a poster opportunity for students to present their own plans and research.

Measuring geology on distant worlds

Led by researchers from the Open University, this session explores how rocks and minerals that form distant worlds are formed, destroyed, and rebuilt during geologic processes.  The contrasting examples of Mercury and Mars will be described.

Planetary magnetospheres

Led by researchers from the University of Southampton, this session explores how solar system bodies interact with the solar wind, the extension of the Sun’s outer atmosphere that flows outward through the solar system.

Asteroids and Comets

Led by researchers from the University of Kent, this session focuses on the exploration of asteroids and comets that recently achieved fame through Rosetta’s Philae probe first-ever landing on a comet; 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

Deep space communication and navigation

Getting probes to distant worlds and getting quality data back is a key aspect of any mission in planetary science.  Led by researchers at NPL this session discusses the technical and intellectual challenges involved.