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

02Aug/19

GRADnet Training Programme 2019-2020 Announced!

GRADnet is pleased to announce the list of forthcoming GRADnet Training events for the academic year 2019-20.

These events are only for SEPnet postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers.

These events are free to attend (SEPnet pays for your accommodation and course fees for residential courses) and travel expenses can be claimed from your department.

List of training events:

23 October 2019: GRADnet Induction at 1 Park Crescent, International Students House, London W1: This is compulsory for all September/October 2019 starters.

6-7 November 2019: Measurement Science Conference, the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, Middlesex. (10 places available for SEPnet PhD Students)

27-28 November 2019: Astrobiology and Planetary Science, the Open University, Milton Keynes.

2-3 December 2019: Turning Science into Business, the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, Middlesex.

4 December 2019: IOP/SEPnet Career Panel Event for Physicists at the Institute of Physics, London N1. (networking event for physics students and postdoctoral researchers.)

15-16 January 2020: Machine Learning and AI, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London.

17-19 February 2020: Teams, Communication and Leadership – Winter School at Cumberland Lodge, Great Park, Windsor.

25-27 March 2020: Student-led Research Conferences at University of Southampton, Highfield Campus. (Arrival 4pm on 25 March for meet and greet ): Soft Matter: the unseen science all around us and The Big Data Era in Astronomy

27-28 April 2020: Quantum Computing, University of Surrey, Guildford.

6-9 July 2020: Opportunities beyond your PhD – Summer School, Herstmonceux Castle, West Sussex.

13-16 July 2020: NExT PhD Workshop, Cosener’s House, Abingdon, Oxford.

Registration open now to SEPnet postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers!

 

26Jul/19

WRIPA & SEPnet Joint Workshop – Physics-Industry Collaboration: Aligning Student Skills with Local Economic Needs – 25 July, IOP London

50 academics, employers and career professionals came together to share good practice on embedding employability skills in physics courses at WRIPA & SEPnet’s 2nd annual workshop chaired by Professor Sir William Wakeham.

Brooke Storer-Church of Office for Students highlighted the mis-match between the supply and demand for skills in the UK. IOP’s new degree accreditation criteria will focus less on core content and more on skills development. This offers physics departments greater flexibility in the design of physics courses and can help to bridge the skills gap.

Students need to develop self-management and independent thinking to ‘flex’ into different careers. Placements offer opportunities to build skills but many students fear failing so may not have the confidence to apply. As an alternative, embedded bite-sized work experience can build confidence and resilience while assessed real-world industrial projects can engage students and develop entrepreneurship.

Mobility can be an issue with 45% of graduates choosing to stay in the region after graduation. More therefore needs to be done to build links with local employers to develop graduate opportunities. Industry advisory boards which include local employers can provide physics departments with input into courses as well as opportunities to address regional skills needs.

You can view the presentations from the workshop here: Dr Brooke Storer-Church, Officer for Students      Robyn Henriegel and Amy Pearce, IOP         Dr Alastair  Buckley, University of Sheffield         Professor Manus Hayne, Lancaster University       Amy Hearst, vivaMOS Ltd           Danny Atkins, University of Portsmouth       Trevor Farren, University of Nottingham Part 1          Trevor Farren, University of Nottingham Part 2

24Jul/19

Benefits of attending GRADnet Summer School 2019 as a Postdoc!

I didn’t really know what to expect from the GRADnet Summer School, especially approaching it as a postdoctoral researcher as opposed to a PhD Student. Since my postdoc contract expires at the end of the year, I saw it as a good opportunity to expand my horizons and gain some inspiration about what I could do next. It’s always been my ambition to find a vocation outside of academia, so the chance to interact with employers from a range of different backgrounds was worth a shot. Moreover, it could be a chance to develop my ideas about how my PhD in Physics and experience in research could be transferred to other fields.

I was a bit worried that the activities might not be pitched appropriately for a professional researcher, but that fear proved to be unfounded. The seminars – two each day – were well built with a wide array of experiences in mind. Seminars which stood out to me were the Intellectual Property workshop run by WP Thompson and a talk on public engagement from the Science & Technology Facilities Council.

Between seminars, I had the chance to attend two employer-led workshops each day, which comprised an hour talk about their work and a group activity. Typically, the group activities were well thought out to bring across a specific point, and as a consequence they were highly engaging. A highlight was a workshop from Ultra Electronics, where we were tasked to design the most useless microwave which still fitted within the design specifications – my team decided that the specified OLED display should be only 1 pixel and communicate through Morse code. But amongst the fun, there was a serious take away – our training as Physicists has given us skills which come in handy in plenty of different contexts. In this environment, our technical Physics knowledge doesn’t count for nearly as much as our agile thinking and teamwork.

On the final day, we split into teams and took part in a “consultancy challenge”, where we tried to solve, in a matter of hours, the kind of problems a consultancy might work on for weeks. My team’s assigned problem was to make a recommendation about where the successor to the Large Hadron Collider should be built – at CERN in Geneva, or in a new site in China? Not only did we have costs and scientific merits to consider, but my team chose to emphasize the possible ethical issues of working with the Chinese government. Time was tight – we had only a few hours to put together a poster presentation and a pitch to sell our solutions. This extremely limited timescale forced us to focus on the principle of being “just good enough” to solve the problem, but no more rigorous. My team even won a prize for our efforts! The whole exercise really emphasized to me the importance of the leadership and time management skills I’ve developed. I left the summer school with renewed self-confidence, fresh ideas for new careers, and quite a few new friends.

Thank you to Dr Steve Chick, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Surrey for giving his perspective on attending this year’s GRADnet Summer School 1-4 July 2019 at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, Middlesex.

Rutherford Appleton Laboratory:  Team 3 – Stephen Haywood, RAL, Bradley Garland, Dan Kelsey, University of Sussex and Stephen Chick, University of Surrey.

12Jul/19

Physics-Industry Collaboration: Aligning Student Skills with Local Economic Needs, Thursday 25 July 2019, Institute of Physics, London N1

Chaired by Professor Sir William Wakeham

The Office for Students (OfS) focuses on higher education participation, experience, outcomes and value of money. At the same time, the UK Industrial Strategy identifies ‘Places’ as a key “foundation of productivity” to address performance, regional differences and disparities in R&D funding.

To address the twin challenges of graduate outcomes and regional economic prosperity, university physics departments need to consider ‘place-based’ decision-making in student graduate career choices and how to engage with regional employers.

This workshop is for those interested in embedding work-based learning into curriculum design, forming partnerships with regional employers and embedding entrepreneurialism into student skill training. It will build a wider network of employability-focused academic and professional staff and include presentations and case studies from the OfS, IOP and physics departments.

The event is for heads of physics departments, academics responsible for employability, programme managers, heads of teaching and learning, industry representatives and anyone with responsibility for developing physics graduates employability skills.

To see the agenda, travel info and to register for this FREE workshop, click here: https://sepnet-wripa-workshop2.eventbrite.co.uk