Monthly Archives: June 2016


Connecting Industry and Researchers at Surrey

Connecting Industry and Researchers  – what a PhD graduate learned from our recent GRADnet networking event at Surrey.

On the 9th of June 2016, GRADnet held the fifth in a series of “Meet the Employers” events in which Physics and Astronomy Postgraduates and Researchers meet with regional and national employers.

The recent Surrey event was a great occasion to hear about a wide array of opportunities in physics-related industries – from medical diagnostics to satellite systems – and to get invaluable advice from employers.  There are many R&D roles in industry where a company needs problems solved eg product design, creating innovative methods of quality testing etc. Companies need people who can develop analysis techniques to make sense of data and physics postgraduates can offer these skills.

Employers don’t necessarily expect you to have the expertise required for a specific job role. They need people able to research new techniques, to be curious and flexible and to learn fast – familiar territory for postgraduate researchers who have to cope with fast-paced, unpredictable situations during their PhD. Employers want good problem-solvers.  They want to know what challenges you have overcome during your PhD and what you have gained – both technical knowledge and skills.  Perseverance and resilience are highly valued.

Student and employer exchanging contact information at Industry event.

Student and employer exchanging contact information.

In applied physics, the word ‘engineer’ is often used in a job description but physicists should not be discouraged from applying – it is likely you already have the skills required!  It is really important to find out what are you passionate about because enthusiasm and passion will shine through any role you choose.  Talking to experts from the field can help you to identify ‘what makes you tick’.

The event was a great success and we’re now planning the next one at the University of Hertfordshire on October 19th.


SEPnet Initiatives in Computing: Workshop on Big Data and Numerical Modelling and Simulation

SEPnet is pleased to announce a major workshop on Big Data and Numerical Modelling and Simulation


What SEPnet workshops for academic researchers from SEPnet institutions
When 21st and 22nd September 2016
Where Cosener’s House, Abingdon, OX14 3JD
Who Academic researchers from SEPnet institutions 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 by 31st July 2016.

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 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.

Speakers:  John Bancroft, Director, NPL North of England:  Marieke Beckmann, Research Lead, NPL, Centre for Carbon Measurement:  Ofer Lahav, Perren Chair of Astronomy, Astrophysics Group, University College London and Michele Weiland, Project Manager, Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre, University of Edinburgh have agreed to speak at the meetings. There will also be opportunities for participants to make presentations.

Registration: Registration is open. To confirm a place, please send an e-mail to Cristobel Soares-Smith ( by 31st July 2016. 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.


Condensed Matter Physics in the City 2016 – 4-15 July

We are pleased to announce the seventh summer programme, ‘Condensed Matter Physics in the City 2016’, which will take place in London on 4-15 July 2016.  Further details can be found on our website.

The programme has been organised by the Hubbard Theory Consortium and sponsored by SEPnet and by ICAM.

This summer’s programme will have a special emphasis on physics at the interfaces between correlated materials and on topological order in real materials.  The programme will include international keynote speakers for each week in addition to presentations by participants.  Please register here if you would like to attend or to give a presentation.  We would particularly encourage PhD students and postdocs to present their ongoing work.  We also have some limited financial support available for students from ICAM nodes across the globe.

Please feel free to forward this announcement to anyone you believe may be interested.

Kind regards
Giovanni Sordi

on behalf of the Hubbard Theory Consortium:

Piers Coleman
Matthias Eschrig
Sam Carr
Jorge Quintanilla
Andrew Green
Keith Refson
Frank Kruger
Andrew Ho
Anna Posazhennikova
Derek Lee
Claudio Castelnovo
Paul McClarty
Toby Perring
Giovanni Sordi


Innovate UK launches the infocus Awards for Women In Innovation

Innovate UK launches the infocus Awards for Women In Innovation 

Innovate UK has up to £200,000 and a package of tailored support to award to businesswomen who have exciting ideas and the potential to become leaders in innovation and deliver significant economic growth. This is the first women only Innovate UK competition and is part of a new ‘infocus’ initiative to encourage diversity in innovation. Each of the 12 finalists in the competition will receive a package of support tailored to their needs, and the four winners will each receive £50,000 to support their innovation project or activities.

The competition opened on 1 June 2016 and the deadline for registration is noon on 24 August 2016. The awards are open to any woman in the UK working in business innovation in any of Innovate UK’s four sectors. Applicants can be a company owner, employee or sole trader in any size of business and must be legally and contractually able to use the grant funding on offer. A briefing for potential applicants will be held by Innovate UK on 20 June 2016. Find out more about this competition and apply


Register by Friday 3rd June: GRADnet Summer School: Where might my physics take me? 4-7 July 2016

This year’s GRADnet Summer School will focus on where your physics might take you.

Date:  4-7 July 2016,  09:30-17:00

Venue and Accommodation: Herstmonceux Castle, Herstmonceux, Wartling Road Entrance, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 1RN.  For directions see here.

Register here.  (logon to the VRE first) Registration deadline Friday, 3 June.  All accommodation, meals and reasonable travel expenses are covered by SEPnet.

The summer school will provide you with an exciting opportunity to interact with employers from leading companies through interactive workshops, presentations and poster sessions.   By the end of this summer school you will have expanded your skills and have the ability to apply them more broadly.  You will also develop your analytical, problem-solving skills, and your ability to present persuasively to a diverse audience.  These are skills that will help you succeed in your doctoral research and your viva, as well as in interviews and future employment.

Participating companies include:

  • Airbus Defence and Space
  • Amec Foster Wheeler
  • Centre for Applied Science and Technology, Home Office
  • InSync Technology
  • Knowledge Transfer Network
  • Met Office
  • MR Solutions
  • NPL
  • Observatory Science Centre
  • WP Thompson.

The GRADnet Summer School is open to all Physics postgraduate research students across the nine partner institutions of SEPnet.  Approximately 5 places per institution are available but priority will be given to final year students in the event it is over subscribed.

This workshop contributes 8 hours towards physics skills training and 4 hours towards professional skills training.

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One of the employer led workshops at the 2015 Winter School