16Apr/18

Exactly what a PhD student in Condensed Matter needs: A workshop on Strong Correlations!

The Strong correlations workshop took place on 11-13 April 2018 at Old Thorns in Liphook and was organised by Dr Sam Carr from the University of Kent.

11 students attended the workshop and valued the small group tutorials.  Attendees confirmed the workshop was pitched at the right level and was very useful:

“The lectures are exactly what a PhD student in (strong correlations) condensed matter physics needs from the beginning and provides a networking opportunity for students from other institutions.”

The best aspects of the programme were : “Variation from easy to hard theory, experimental connection, some actual research talks, socialising and soft skills.  It was really nice to mix PhD students, postdocs and lecturers in an informal and small-scale setting – inspiring!”

Thank you to Dr Sam Carr, Dr Jorge Quintanilla, Dr Silvia Ramos, Dr Sudeep Gosh, Dr Xavier Montiel from the University of Kent, Dr Anna Posazhennikova and Dr Matthias Eschrig from Royal Holloway University of London, for their participation in delivering this workshop and Cristobel Soares-Smith, GRADnet Administrator, who organised the workshop logistics.

Dr Silvia Ramos gives her lecture on “Probes in Condensed Matter”.

 

13Apr/18

SEPnet Summer Placement Report 2017/18 shows students continue to perform well

Students increasingly see the value of placements for developing their employability skills and continue to perform well on placement.

Key findings showed:

• The number of placements has increased from 38 in 2009 to 91 in 2017.
• 20% of the eligible cohort applied for placements in 2017 and more students are pursuing their own and signing up to other schemes.
• 42% of placements were successfully secured by female students
• 57% of placements were funded by employers, Santander Internship Scheme and WP funding
• Students rated programming as the most relevant element of their course
• Organisations receiving the most applications were ICG, University of Sussex, Royal Marsden Hospital, AWE and eOsphere.
• CVs were well-presented but covering letters need to be more relevant and students need to research organisations better beforehand.
• Performance at interview was important in securing a placement but enthusiasm was equally important.
• Employers rated students’ top 3 skills as self-management, problem solving and communication – the same skills that students felt they improved most.
• 5 students had their placements extended and 7 were known to have been offered graduate roles

You can read the full report here: SEPnet Summer Placement Report 2017-18

10Apr/18

GRADnet Summer School 2-5 July 2018

Who: Physics, and physics related,   post-graduate researchers.

What: A 4-day residential school that explores the wide range of opportunities open to PhD physicists.

When: 2-5 July 2018

Where: Herstmonceux Castle, East Sussex.

Numbers: Circa 50–60 delegates

This intensive school comprises a broad menu of workshops and challenges led by different employers designed to offer students an insight into opportunities beyond their PhD.

A wide range of employers join the school to offer workshops designed to show what life in a given industry sector type is like and what kind of work is involved. Students choose to take four of these over two days.

A consultancy challenge is run another day. High-tech companies come with real science problems and invite students, working in teams, to create solutions using the skills they have learnt in their PhD.

The whole event is threaded through with short sessions led by expert speakers looking at some of the issues that confront those working in science: Outreach, Impact, IPR, Ethics and the like.

Employers participating in recent summer schools include:  Airbus Defence and Space; AkzoNobel; Amec Foster Wheeler; AWE;Centre for Applied Science and Technology (Gov’t forensics); Centre for Integrated Photonics (Huawei); Chomko & Rosier; Culham Centre for Fusion Energy; Dstl, Fourth State Medicine; IBM; InSync Technology; Magnox; the Met Office; MR Solutions; Observatory Science Centre; Oxford Instruments; Petroleum Geo-services; RBA Acoustics; Rolls Royce; Starcount; Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd; and WP Thompson.

Your travel expenses, meals and accommodation are covered by SEPnet.

Registation deadline 1 June 2018

Eventbrite - GRADnet Summer School 2-5 July 2018

You will not incur any personal costs for attending this workshop.  For residential events SEPnet charges your Department £100.

2016 Summer School

Group Photo from the 2016 GRADnet Summer School at Herstmonceux

28Mar/18

Organise your own 2-day Residential Physics Conference or Workshop 2019 – Apply for GRADnet Funding

Student-led Conference April 2019 at a SEPnet Institution to be confirmed

Following very successful events in 2015/6, 2016/7 and 2017/18,  GRADnet is once again offering SEPnet PhD students the opportunity to organise and run two-day residential workshops or mini-conferences on a Physics topic of their choosing.  Student organisers will be expected to encourage the active participation of their peers in giving talks and / or poster presentations. In addition organisers will be able to invite external speakers to attend should they wish.

We anticipate that two workshops on different topics will be organised in the following areas:

  • astrophysics / astronomy
  • particle / nuclear physics
  • condensed matter / atomic physics
  • quantum technology
  • theoretical physics
  • or any other area of physics with sufficient critical mass across the SEPnet partners to run a successful workshop.

Moreover inter-disciplinary bids on themes merging any of the above physics areas are also welcome.

A budget of up to £4500 will be available to each workshop that can be used to:

  • Support the attendance (travel, accommodation and food) of SEPnet students (15-30)
  • Invite and support the participation of high profile presenters
  • Cover any other reasonable expenses.

The two selected workshops will run in parallel on dates in April 2019 sharing, catering and residential facilities at a SEPnet Institution.

There will be an introductory session targeted at those considering making a bid for a conference via video conference on Tuesday, 15 May 2018 at 11-12. The purpose of this session will be to:

  • Explain details of the scheme in greater depth;
  • Offer students the opportunity to ask questions;
  • Offer students potentially interested in organising a workshop the opportunity to network and develop their workshop ideas.

Please e-mail gradnetadmin@sepnet.ac.uk if you wish to join the introductory session on the 15th May.

To make a bid:  Fill in the form here: Student Led Workshops Call 2018 Final with all the relevant details and return to gradnetadmin@sepnet.ac.uk by 8 June 2018.

27Mar/18

Student-led conference 21-23 March 2018 – A great success!

The student-led conferences took place 21-23 March at the University of Southampton with over 60 delegates taking part in two parallel conferences:

  • Advances in High Energy Physics and Cosmology led by Simon King at the University of Southampton
  • From Micrometres to Megaparsecs” organised by Justyn Campbell-White from the University of Kent.

Simon King shares his views on why he wanted to organise a conference for postgraduate research students and the skills he acquired during the process:

“When I was presented with the opportunity to organise my own conference in high energy physics, I was very keen to pursue it! I was not exactly sure what would be required, but I thought it would be a great occasion to participate in the other side of conferences than just attending (many of) them!

In practise, the vast majority of the work was undertaken by the fantastic Cristobel Soares-Smith, GRADnet Administrator, who was in charge of all of the practical aspects which allowed me to focus on the scientific programme.

Me (and my co-organiser on the astronomy department) Justyn Campbell-White were the lead organisers of our respective conferences, but not without help from many other students! I would like to personally thank Sonali Mohapatra, Jack Setford and Alex Titterton for their help in finding scientific speakers and shaping the conference to what it was. There were many unexpected challenges, including dealing with last-minute changes to the programme, and trying to satisfy all participants from a wide variety of fields; but I think this was a success. Many thanks to the invited speakers who did an excellent job of providing a general introduction to their respective topics, and to the students who did a wonderful job explaining their current research.

The whole conference went very smoothly, and it was a fantastic opportunity to practise skills required for a career in academia beyond publishing papers. I am very thankful to GRADnet, and Cristobel for allowing me this opportunity and I would highly recommend it to any PhD student!”

The student led conference Advances in High Energy Physics and Cosmology was exciting and varied. The balance of student talks to invited speakers was ideal as both a networking opportunity and as an inviting atmosphere in which to present PhD research. I was unfortunately unable to give a talk myself, however I’ve been inspired by the organisers dedication to providing an excellent experience and would very much like to organise such a conference myself! Also Cristobel is amazing.” (Azaria Coupe, third year PhD student at the University of Southampton)

See “From Micrometres to Megaparsecs” conference Twitter feed here.

Attendees from both conferences take a break:

 

08Mar/18

SEPnet celebrates Women’s International Day!

SEPnet continues to celebrate the achievements of female physicists and encourage young women to pursue careers with physics through its outreach and employability programmes.

While only 20% of physics students are female, 30% of students attending SEPnet and GRADnet events are female and 40% of summer placements are secured by female physics students. Role models and case studies are important sources of inspiration and you can read about some of our successful alumni and placement students on our website.

All SEPnet partners are signed up to Project Juno and Athena SWAN to support gender equality and women’s career progression with 3 partners achieving Champion status to date. SEPnet partners share good practice through SEPnet’s diversity workshops and E&D Champions LinkedIn group. SEPnet and IOP’s successful joint careers panel for female physicists has led to the creation of the SEPnet Careers Forum for Female Physicists, a supportive group, where students and female physicists in business and academia can share issues related to women’s progression in the workplace.

Through its Outreach & Public Engagement programme, SEPnet continues to explore innovative projects that tackle Gender Stereotyping in Schools. The results of our pilot project, Shattering Stereotypes, are available on our website, including twelve recommendations for other physics departments who are looking to run similar projects. SEPnet will be using this learning to run the project in the 2018 / 19 academic year. If your school is interested please do get in touch with the outreach and public engagement team.

02Mar/18

SEPnet Summer Placements 2018 now open for applications!

Over 80 SEPnet summer placements are being advertised to eligible SEPnet students from the beginning of March. The projects offered are varied, challenging and exciting and are already attracting lots of interest from students.

2nd and 3rd (non-final) year physics student at SEPnet partner universities are eligible to apply. Some placements are also open to SEPnet PhD students.

Students should contact their SEPnet Employer Engagement Officer or email summerplacements@sepnet.ac.uk to find out more. Click here for more information.

20Feb/18

RHUL team win “Enterprising Ideas” competition 2018!

Over the past months seven SEPnet teams have been taking part in the Enterprising Ideas Competition designed to develop entrepreneurship skills.  PGRs and physics undergraduates were invited in January 2017 to put forward teams to compete to be the most entrepreneurial in SEPnet.

Three teams, Kent, RHUL and Southampton made it to the final on the 15 February 2018 at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor. The winning team was announced at a “Physics Means Business” networking event at the GRADnet Winter School.

Congratulations to the RHUL team who won £100 each!

L-R: Phil Edwards, Weald Technology, Simon Bland, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, Bob Pickles, Canon (UK) Ltd, Rupert Mellor, Alex Waterworth,  Albert Baker, Stephanie Bennett, Nathan Eng, Thomas Vaughan and Elaine Hickmott, Elaine Hickmott Enterprises.

Business and research increasingly need graduates who bring fresh ideas, innovative thinking and who have great team-working skills. Highly developed entrepreneurial skills and an enquiring mind are key to building a knowledge-based economy and can give you the edge when applying for research or graduate jobs or studentships.

This GRADnet training has given participants an opportunity to gain a fresh perspective on how skills and knowledge can be applied; to understand more about entrepreneurship and what it means to have an entrepreneurial mind-set and develop real insights into business, innovation and team working.

Thank you to Elaine Hickmott, Development Director, EH Enterprises, Learning and development for scientists and engineers, who ran the 2-day entrepreneurship training for UGs and PGRs in June 2017 and the competition, and Cristobel Soares-Smith, Graduate Network Administrator, for coordinating and organising both events.

See here for Elaine Hickmott’s Blog.

19Feb/18

Columbia Space Shuttle Mission is case study at GRADnet Winter School

This year’s Winter School, entitled “Building your leadership potential”, took place on the 14-16 February 2018 at Cumberland Lodge.  The former royal residence set in the heart of Windsor Great Park was host to 25 postgraduate students who enjoyed being immersed in its fascinating history dating back to the 17th century.

The 3-day residential school focussed on the skills required for effective leadership and team-working. Different leadership styles were explored and each student attendee was given the opportunity to have their preferred team-working style evaluated using the Belbin model.

The core activity involved Columbia’s fatal final mission. The multi-media case tracks the Columbia Space Shuttle mission from launch as NASA engineers and leaders sought to understand the nature and threat associated with an anomaly that occurred on launch. Participants were given an opportunity to analyse the case using materials supplied by NASA under the guidance of Dr Trevor Long, Consultant.

Thank you to Alys Brett Data and Coding Team Leader, Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, Jan-Theodoor Janssen, Head of Science for SI Metrology, National Physical Laboratory and John Wells, VP Engineering, Leonardo Air and Space Systems Division, who participated in the employer panel session.

Students also had an opportunity to hear from the finalists of the Enterprising Ideas Competition during a “Physics Means Business” networking evening. Congratulations to the winners, Royal Holloway University of London who had a team of both undergraduate and postgraduates. Thank you to Elaine Hickmott, Elaine Hickmott Enterprises for  leading the entrepreneurship training and running the 2017-18 competition.

A PGR from the University of Sussex said, “I really enjoyed the programme. It was varied and interesting. I liked the mix of presentation and workshop and having networking/discussion panels with employers was useful.”

Thank you to Trevor Long, Trevor Long Consultancy who ran the workshop, Veronica Benson, SEPnet Employer Liaison Director and Kay Pearson, Employer Engagement Advisor, for offering feedback and finally Cristobel Soares-Smith, Graduate Network Administrator for organising the event.