12Dec/19

Building Inclusivity and Bridging the Attainment Gap

SEPnet’s 3rd annual diversity workshop, hosted by Surrey this week, focused on a  range of key issues facing universities today. Professor Averil Macdonald OBE led the day by describing the systemic barriers to attracting female and BAME students to do physics pre-16 and beyond and explained why equality of experience isn’t equality of opportunity. Peter Main, Head of Physics, King’s College London went on to challenge myths about the BAME attainment gap suggesting traditional explanations such as choice of curriculum and unconscious bias in assessment sit uncomfortably with recent data that show that attendance and attainment may be linked.

Alex Johl, Head of Operations for Student Experience and Wellbeing at Birmingham, reflected whether HE is making our students unwell and offered practical solutions for embedding wellbeing into the undergraduate, PGR and staff experience.  Empowering and supporting PhD students was the focus of discussion where ‘imposter syndrome’ can be a real barrier for some students. Noelia Noel in Astrophysics at Surrey suggested we need to change the medical practice approach of ‘I went through this so you should too’ and support students to share concerns about coping as well as giving them the option of leaving academia to pursue other careers without feeling they’ve failed.

Finally, Sally Jordan, Head of School and Josie Fraser, DVC at The Open University, gave practical advice for addressing lack of diversity at the top describing how choice of language in recruitment adverts can discourage women from applying for roles and setting an example to staff by adopting a healthy work life balance is crucial to changing a long hours culture.

05Dec/19

IOP/SEPnet careers panel event for physics students gets very positive feedback!

IOP hosted an inspiring networking event for physics undergraduates and PhD students yesterday. Panellists from Centronic, Deloitte, Equiniti, University of Surrey, Queen Mary University, Santander, NPL, Leonardo, Micron Semiconductor and Science & Technology Facility Council shared their career journeys and offered valuable tips and advice.

Students loved the round-table format as it made networking less ‘scary’ and enjoyed hearing about the diverse range of career options open to them. They learned that it’s possible to move from academia to industry and that developing and recognising your transferable skills is key to success.

#physics #sepnet #iop

29Nov/19

SEPnet STUDENTS’ EXPO 2019 – ANOTHER GREAT SUCCESS!

130 SEPnet students, employers, academics and guests came together this week to celebrate the achievements of 74 students who carried out a short industry and research placement this summer.

Students successfully presented to over 130 fellow students, employers, academics and guests as well as displaying posters of their projects.

In addition to current student presenters, Mahfuj Ali, Senior Associate at Deloitte, talked about his experience as a former SEPnet student and his career journey to date offering advice and tips to current students. Our keynote speaker, Dame Julia Slingo, also gave an inspiring talk about the important role physics plays in meteorology and her career as a meteorologist and former Chief Scientist at the Met Office.

Congratulations to the 6 poster prize winners:
• Stefan Todd of Surrey on placement at Earth-i
• Joe Stickland of Southampton at IS-Instruments
• Gurjeet Kohlon of Queen Mary at Lumi Space
• Emily Mitcheson-Smith of Southampton at NPL
• Marina Arnaudova of Royal Holloway at Hertfordshire
• Molly Burkmar of Portsmouth at Winchester Science Centre.

A call for summer projects for 2020 will go out from December.  Watch this space!

15Nov/19

IOP/SEPnet Career Panel Event, Wednesday 4 December 2019, 15.00 – 19.30, IOP London N1

The Institute of Physics and SEPnet are organising a joint career event for all physics students. This event will give an insight into the broad range of career paths open to physics graduates including PhD graduates.

This event aims to help, inspire and motivate you to explore the careers options open to you in a welcoming and friendly environment. You will hear from a range of panellists, including graduates and PhD graduates in physics-related fields who have gone on to pursue interesting, successful careers in diverse areas – both in and outside academia.

You will have time to question our panellists in groups and to chat informally with them and other students over refreshments.

You will meet panellists from Deloitte, UK Atomic Energy Authority, Equiniti, University of Surrey, Queen Mary, Santander, NPL, Leonardo, Micron Semiconductor and Science & Technology Facility Council who will speak about their career journeys and offer tips.

This event is free to members of the IOP. Non-members pay a £30 registration fee. Membership of the IOP starts at £15 for undergraduates.

Register for the event here: https://lnkd.in/gw-9rXr

08Nov/19

Why we still need to talk about diversity in science, Wednesday 11 December, 6.30-7.30pm, University of Surrey

A special guest lecture by Dr Jess Wade, hosted by Professor Jim Al-Khalili followed by a Q&A session.

Dr Jess Wade is an enthusiastic scientist, Wikipedian, high profile campaigner and inspiring role model for young people. Jess has worked tirelessly to promote gender equality in STEM. Amongst many prizes and honours for her work on promoting diversity, she was recently awarded a British Empire medal.

‘One of Nature’s ’10 people who matter in Science’ 2018, she made the resolution to make a Wikipedia page every day of 2018 to highlight the often underacknowledged work of women, LGBT+ and scientists of colour’.

Date: Wednesday 11 December 2019
Festive Drinks Reception: 5.30-6.30pm
Lecture: 6.30-7.30pm
Venue: Austin Pearce Lecture Theatre 3&4, University of Surrey, Guildford, GU2 7XH

Places are limited so please register for your FREE ticket here:

17Oct/19

Faculty Industry Research Engagement Day, Wednesday 6 November 2019 – 9:30 to 17:00, Queen Mary University of London

SEPnet partner, Queen Mary University, invites our business contacts to a FREE research event.

The event will:
• provide you with cutting-edge insight into leading R&D and new technologies
• give an overview of the UK funding landscape and funding opportunities available
• broaden your network and enable you to make meaningful connections
• highlight the resources, skills and facilities available at QMUL to support your business.

Speakers include:
• Professor Norman Fenton on “Risk assessment in the era of Big Data”
• Professor Rob Krams on “Data Science meets Computational Fluid Dynamics”
• Professor Richard Pickersgill on “Synthetic biology – scaffolds and compartments”
• Professor Viji Davriam on “High-speed Electrically Tunable Lens”
• Professor Andrea Cavallaro on “Intelligent Audio-Visual Sensing”

Exhibiting or sponsoring: If you would like to sponsor or exhibit at the event, please email Dr Charlie Ellis on c.d.ellis@qmul.ac.uk or call on 0207 882 6968.

To register: https://lnkd.in/g4DSEk7

14Oct/19

Annual SEPnet Diversity Workshop Building Inclusivity and Bridging the Attainment Gap, Wednesday 11 December, 12.00 – 17.30, University of Surrey

Lack of diversity continues to be a problem in physics and other STEM areas despite the number of initiatives set up to address this problem. Not only are there barriers to entry at undergraduate level, the attainment gap for some student groups is an increasing cause for concern in the HE sector – particularly in physics and other STEM subjects. Under-represented students face particular challenges. Tackling the underlying causes affecting students’ potential to succeed is crucial as well as equipping students to cope with university life.

This workshop will share good practice and recent research on these topics. Presenters will provide an overview of progress to date highlighting the barriers and how to address them and will provide examples of successful initiatives.

This event is aimed at STEM staff, postgraduate researchers and student representatives. The workshop will be chaired by Professor Averil Macdonald OBE and followed by an evening talk by Dr Jess Wade introduced by Professor Jim Al-Khalili.

This workshop is FREE to attend. Please email veronica.benson@sepnet.ac.uk to book a place.

10Oct/19

IOP/SEPnet Career Panel Event, Wednesday 4 December 2019, 15.00 – 19.30, IOP London N1

The Institute of Physics and SEPnet are organising a joint career event for all physics students. This event will give an insight into the broad range of career paths open to physics graduates including PhD graduates.

This event aims to help, inspire and motivate you to explore the careers options open to you in a welcoming and friendly environment. You will hear from a range of panellists, including graduates and PhD graduates in physics-related fields who have gone on to pursue interesting, successful careers in diverse areas – both in and outside academia.

You will have time to question our panellists in groups and to chat informally with them and other students over refreshments.

You will meet panellists from Deloitte, UK Atomic Energy Authority, Equiniti, University of Surrey, Queen Mary, Santander, NPL, Leonardo, Micron Semiconductor and Science & Technology Facility Council who will speak about their career journeys and offer tips.

This event is free to members of the IOP. Non-members pay a £30 registration fee. Membership of the IOP starts at £15 for undergraduates.

Register for the event here: https://lnkd.in/gw-9rXr

04Oct/19

NPL’s Measurement Science Conference, 6-7 November 2019, Teddington

This year NPL will deliver its 4th Annual NPL Postgraduate Institute (PGI) Measurement Science Conference supported by SEPnet. This conference brings together experts and practitioners in many fields of science and innovation as well as industry partners and influencers from across the UK. It showcases some of the amazing work of the PGI — future physicists of the workforce — and provides insight into the operations of the UK’s National Measurement Institute.

This event provides an excellent opportunity to meet potential employers and engage with measurement experts operating at the interface of industry and academia. The conference will include keynote speakers, a career panel session and a conference dinner. The event is sponsored by the Institute of Physics, M-Solv and National Instruments.

This year’s themes demonstrate the breadth of the PGI and showcase how measurement science is pivotal in:

creating impact on health through research into effective diagnosis and therapy with common or novel health-based practices;
sustaining our environment by illustrating how research can combat current global environmental and energy challenges;
making a difference to society through better living, by improving or monitoring communications, economic performance and general quality of life.

For further details visit https://www.npl.co.uk/pgi/pgi-conference-2019

05Sep/19

Physics outreach project nominated for Times Higher Education Award

A Queen Mary outreach project which takes physics research into schools has been nominated for a Times Higher Education Award 2019.

The School of Physics and Astronomy’s ‘Physics Research in School Environments’ (PRiSE) programme is shortlisted for the Widening Participation and Outreach Initiative of the Year for the event known as the ‘Oscars of higher education’.

The award will go to the most imaginative and innovative project that promotes diversity and encourages people from non-traditional backgrounds to enter higher education or extends the reach of the institution to new areas of activity.

PRiSE enables underrepresented students across London to experience cutting-edge particle and astrophysics through 6-month-long independent research projects.

As part of the programme students and teachers receive introductory workshops and school visits from researchers, helping them undertake a piece of research which they then present at a conference held at Queen Mary. Around 30 schools take part every year.

It has overwhelmingly built students’ confidence in science, developing skills not typically encountered within school, and has had lasting impacts on their physics and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) aspirations.

The programme has also resulted in a peer-reviewed paper, with student co-authors who successfully identified sounds caused by solar storm.

Dr Martin Archer, PRiSE project lead from Queen Mary’s School of Physics and Astronomy, said: “I have been developing PRiSE over the past five years and it’s been wonderful to not only see the long-term effects these projects are having on young people and their teachers. For this to be recognised nationally through the nomination is utterly fantastic”

PRiSE has developed teachers’ practice through the relationships forged with Queen Mary. As a result, teachers develop new lesson content, skills and mentoring; gain confidence in discussing research; and share students’ work raising their school’s STEM profile.

It is also informing the sector, with SEPnet and Ogden Trust adopting it into their strategies, Royal Society recommending it to their teacher network, and USA’s National Oceanic and Space Administration encouraging other researchers internationally to adopt it, with take-up from some universities already.

THE editor John Gill said: “I am delighted to say that the ‘Oscars of higher education’ go from strength to strength. With 23 categories this year, we’re also showcasing more exceptional stories than ever before, and it’s a real honour for us to shine a spotlight on all those who have made it as far as these shortlists – their stories deserve much wider circulation.”

These are the 15th annual THE Awards, and the first to feature a range of categories covering all university activity under one banner – excellence will be recognised both in academia and across the professional services.

The Awards ceremony is the biggest night of celebration in the UK HE calendar, and will take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane in London on Thursday 28 November 2019.

A student presents his poster at the PRiSE student conference