All posts by Cristobel Soares-Smith

30Oct/17

GRADnet Moving Forward for 2nd Years event is a success!

GRADnet held their first “Moving forward for second years” event on Wednesday 18 October in London which was attended by over 65 postgraduate researchers.

There were workshops on: Creating impact, How to write a successful fellowship application, Research data management, Unconscious bias and  Writing better software for better research.

Thank you to all our speakers, Julia Shalet, Product Doctor, Professor Peter McDonald, University of Surrey and GRADnet Director, Juan Bicarregui, Science & Technology Facilities Council, Dr Alice Motes, University of Surrey, Professor Averil MacDonald OBE, SEPnet Diversity and Impact Lead and Dr Mike Jackson, Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre.

Feedback from delegates was very positive.  Comments received:

“Interactive, fun, insightful, inspiring – challenged the ideas we had, made us think about real world application”

“Fantastic as I think it dealt with some of the fundamental problems I have in communicating my research in a concise manner.”

“I learned that bias is far more ingrained in our minds than I previously imagined….Overall, it raised my awareness of the subject which I very much appreciate.”

“Best workshop I’ve ever done.”

SEPnet hopes to run a similar event in 2018.

 

30Oct/17

GRADnet holds another successful Induction Day for 120 PGRs!

The GRADnet Induction Day was held on Wednesday, 25 October in London and attended by 120 first year postgraduate students from across SEPnet.

Workshops on LaTeX, MATLAB, Python, IOP Getting your research published and Organising meetings and conferences were run in parallel during the morning and afternoon.

Thank you to our speakers Dr Dave Faux, University of Surrey, Dr Tim Kinnear, University of Kent, Professor Peter McDonald, University of Surrey and GRADnet Director, Simon Harris and Tom Sharpe, Institute of Physics – Publishing and Mrs Kay, Pearson, University of Surrey.

Feedback from delegates was very positive.  Comments included:

“It was very good to get someone working in the industry to share their knowledge”

LaTeX: “Worked well doing the exercises in chunks with supplied coding….”

“Very nice and interactive session. I enjoyed group work and the time allocated for the exercises as appropriate.  Very useful tips about organising a meeting/conference.”

Delegates were introduced to the forthcoming GRADnet events taking place during this academic year.

SEPnet hopes to run the same event for first year postgraduates in October 2018.

14Aug/17

GRADnet Training Programme for 2017-18 Announced

Outline of 2017-18 Training Programme

GRADnet is pleased to announce its programme of physics postgraduate researcher training for the next academic year. The programme for the year can be downloaded here: GRADnet Brochure 2017-18 Final

We have developed yet another comprehensive programme for 2017/18 comprising a mix of academic physics workshops and student-led conferences; residential schools with real life industrial content, leadership and professional skills training; targeted professional skills modules and more peer-learning opportunities.

This year, GRADnet is focussing on the following residential workshops in the following research themes of its partner physics departments. For 2017/18 we are offering:

For some of these events we will return to the Old Thorns Manor Hotel which offers impressive leisure facilities in the middle of our region.

For Second Year PGRs

The whole programme kicks off with “Moving Forward for Second Years” training on 18th October in central London. The training day includes the following workshops:

  • Creating impact
  • How to write a successful fellowship application
  • Research data management
  • Unconscious bias
  • Writing better software for research

For First Year PGRs

For the second year running there will be a GRADnet Induction Day on 25th October in central London. The Induction will include a choice of workshops for new PhD students:

  • Introduction to LaTeX
  • Python for beginners and more advanced users
  • Introduction to MATlab
  • Getting your research published
  • Organising meetings and conferences

Induction Day 2016

For all PGRs

The Winter School in 2018 at Cumberland Lodge (14-16 February) focuses entirely on the 2003 NASA Columbia disaster:  a popular case-study element of last year’s school. It takes students through exercises in leadership and team-working, skills rated highly by employers.

The 2018 Summer School at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex (2-5 July) explores suggestions to “What can I do with my PhD?”– this is a mix of employer-led workshops and consultancy challenges.

There will be a student-led conference covering Advances in High Energy Physics and Cosmology and From Micrometres to Megaparsecs. There will be cross-over lectures which are relevant to students of both particle physics and astronomy at the University of Southampton on 21-23 March 2018 and a one-day workshop on Science Communications Skills on 24th April 2018.

For more information on these courses and to register, logon to the GRADnet VRE.

13Jul/17

GRADnet Introduction to Data Intensive Science Workshop 18-20 September 2017

GRADnet Introduction to Data Intensive Science Workshop 18-20 September 2017 – Registration now open.

Who: All DISCnet CDT students. Any GRADnet PhD student with an interest in data intensive science techniques.

What: A 3-day workshop that introduces the CDT and data intensive science and will comprise lectures, tutorials, and examples of the benefits of data intensive science techniques as applied to current research projects and induction into the DISCnet Centre for Doctoral Training: What is DISCnet? What kind of training is offered? What industry placements are available? This session gives an overview of the centre and provides information on how you can get involved.

  • Lunch and networking reception on 18th September: This is a great networking opportunity. DISCnet students, GRADnet students, supervisory teams, and the DISCnet coordinators will get to know each other in an informal setting.
  • Examples in data intensive science: How does data science give the edge in your PhD? Current PhD students from several SEPnet universities will demonstrate how data intensive science techniques have helped shape their PhD research. Topics will range from astronomical surveys, to numerical simulations and particle physics accelerator data.
  • Tools for data intensive science in particle physics and astronomy: This session will introduce you to important packages and tools that are in use in the various research fields. We will provide help installing software and guide you through the first steps.

When18th – 20th September 2017

Register here.  Registration deadline 16 August 2017

Where: Old Thorns Manor Hotel, Liphook, Hampshire

Requirements: A laptop computer is essential for this workshop.

Numbers: 30-35 delegates

The Data Intensive Science Centre in SEPnet (DISCnet) is a new STFC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training.

Eventbrite - GRADnet Introduction to Data Intensive Science Workshop 18-20 September 2017

10Jul/17

GRADnet Summer School at NPL 3-6 July 2017

ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL GRADNET SUMMER SCHOOL AT NPL!!!

The fourth GRADnet Summer school took place on 3-6 July 2017 at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, Middlesex. The school comprised a broad menu of workshops and challenges led by different employers designed to offer students an insight into opportunities beyond their PhD.  A consultancy challenge took place on the last day and students worked in teams to create solutions using the skills they have learnt in their PhD.

AN EMPLOYER-LED PROGRAMME: Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Fourth State Medicine; IBM; Magnox; National Physical Laboratory; Oxford Instruments; RBA Acoustics; Things We Don’t Know; Surrey Satellite Technology Limited and WP Thompson.

SPEAKERS: Dr Paul Stevenson, Reader, University of Surrey; Jane Burston, Head of Climate and Environment, NPL and Dr Michael de Podesta, Principal Research Scientist, NPL.

Thank you to NPL staff in particular Richard Burguete and Gill Coggins from the Postgraduate Institute, Dr Julie Reeves, University of Southampton, Dr Laura Christie, Royal Holloway, University of London and Kay Pearson, SEPnet Employer Liaison Officer, University of Surrey and last but not least, Cristobel Soares-Smith, GRADnet Network Administrator for making this such a successful event!

WHAT THE STUDENTS SAID:

  • “This was a fantastic opportunity to work on a real problem. Getting to talk to a real employer about their project of choice and thinking how to solve this problem was very valuable.”
  • The most valuable thing they would take away from this year’s summer school was “knowledge and the value of careers outside the PhD. The number of interesting fields is limitless”.
  • “This has been a very good summer school, pitched at the appropriate level and a good base to meet fellow students!”.

WINNERS OF THE CONSULTANCY CHALLENGE: 

Centre for Integrated Photonics (Huawei)

Team 1:  William Evans, University of Sussex, Timothy Eales, University of Surrey, Tong Liu, Queen Mary University of London and Erika Cortese, University of Southampton with Michael Roberts, Research and Collaboration Manager, Centre for Integrated Photonics (Huawei).

Fourth State Medicine:

Team 2:  Miroslav Mlejnek, University of Sussex, Katie Ley, Laila Gurgi, University of Surrey and Giulio Violino, University of Hertfordshire with Tom Harle, Chief Technology Officer, Fourth State Medicine.

Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd:

Team 3:  Joseph Allen, University of Surrey, Sam Rowley, James Richings and Azaria Coupe, University of Southampton.

People’s Choice: Nicola Abraham, University of Sussex, Filippo Contenta, Tom Coates, University of Surrey and Kerri Loughney, St Mary’s Twickenham with Peter Shaw, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited.

Congratulations to all the winners!

The Students also had great fun building water rockets after the barbecue:

Photographs from the Summer School are available here:

 

 

27Apr/17

In Introduction to Quantum Computing

The Quantum Technologies School took place on 24-26 April 2017 at Old Thorns, Liphook in Hampshire. Over 50 delegates attended the residential school led by senior researchers in the SEPnet region. PGRs were exposed to applications of physics which directly rely on the properties of quantum mechanics to perform a function beyond current technological capability. A total of six sessions spanned different directions in which quantum technology is progressing: Quantum computation, Quantum simulation, Quantum sensing / metrology and Quantum communications.

A PGR delegate gave positive feedback saying “the different areas of quantum technology were touched in the right balance.  This makes the conference quite interesting.  A great use and worth of my time.  A great impact into my life and a wonderful exposure for a newbie in the world of quantum technology”.

Thank you to all the speakers: Erika Andersson, Heriot-Watt University, Sougato Bose, University College London; Christopher Chunnilall, NPL; Andreas Freise, University of Birmingham, Eran Ginossar, University of Surrey, Jaewoo Joo, University of Surrey, Stefan Kuhr, University of Strathclyde, John Morton, University College London; Yuri Ovchinnikov, NPL​, Diego Porras, University of Sussex, Alessandro Rossi, University of Cambridge​, Tim Spiller, University of York, Seb Weidt, University of Sussex and Jonathan Williams, NPL.

Quantum crypto with chocolate activity!

Congratulations to the poster winners:

Joint first place: Corin Gawith and Oliver Trojack, University of Southampton.

Joint second place: Rhonda Au Yeung, University of Surrey and Teresa Hönigl-Decrinis, Royal Holloway, University of London.

(L-R) Dr Eran Ginossar, Teresa Hönigl-Decrinis, Oliver Trojack and Sam Berry receiving the prize on behalf of Corin Gawith.

24Apr/17

GRADnet conference at Southampton organised by NPL PhD students

At the end of March, SEPnet/National Physical Laboratory PhD students, Alex Browning (Surrey) and Héctor Corte-León (Royal Holloway), organised a conference at Southampton University with the help of the SEPnet Graduate Network (GRADnet). The conference on Functional Scanning Probe Microscopy Techniques brought together PhD students from the nine SEPnet universities to promote interaction with senior researchers in the field of scanning probe microscopy.

With almost a year of planning, this conference represents one of a series which focusses on giving students (Alex and Héctor in this case) an opportunity to develop their professional skills by contacting speakers, advertising the conference and coordinating the timetable for the different talks and poster sessions.

The main areas covered at this year’s conference included biotechnology applications (e.g. study of cell’s membrane stiffness); in-situ magnetic force microscopy (application of magnetic fields during the imaging process) and functionalized probes and the interaction with the sample’s surface (e.g. by attaching proteins to the apex of the probe).

Delegates gave positive feedback about the conference and welcomed the opportunity to present talks to their peers and senior researchers and to network with other institutions.

04Apr/17

A Broadband Look into Astrophysical Processes

On the 30th-31st March 2017 the University of Southampton hosted two student-led conferences funded by SEPnet – the South East Physics Network. The astronomy-themed conference led by Peter Boorman, Christopher Frohmaier and Bella Boulderstone, all PhD students at Southampton, was entitled ‘A Broadband Look into Astrophysical Process’.

The primary aim was to expose all attendees to as many different areas in modern astrophysical research as possible. It has now become commonplace for new PhD students to start work in a particular area or wavelength of astronomy without the wider context of how their research will fit into the complete picture. For this reason, the Scientific Organising Committee wanted to give all attendees an idea of modern day research in all areas of astronomy – not just their own.

The 43 registered attendees included PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and invited speakers from almost 15 different institutions throughout the UK. The conference programme included 7 invited review talks on major areas in astronomy, including: radio; infrared; optical; ultraviolet; X-ray; gamma ray and cosmology/big data. There were additionally 14 student-contributed oral presentations and 13 poster presentations, all on a multitude of astrophysical research topics. All poster presenters were also given the chance to present the key findings of their work in a 1-minute ‘flash presentation’, in which they were given a minute to present a single slide to the audience.

Copies of presentations are included on the conference website: https://sites.google.com/site/broadbandlook/home

Student delegates and speakers attending the conference

22Mar/17

Hightlighting Excellence in Nuclear Skills

The Nuclear Industry held its ninth annual UK Nuclear Skills Awards on the 16th March.  During the evening the nuclear stars of the present and future were announced including a former SEPnet postgraduate researcher, Dr Michael Hodgson.

The new award for Postgraduate Student of the Year, sponsored by NSSG, was awarded to Michael Hodgson from Centronic. Michael completed a PhD in Detector Physics at the University of Surrey and currently works as a Design & Development Engineer.

The awards, organised by The National Skills Academy for Nuclear (NSAN) and Cogent Skills, was hosted by the lead singer of Iron Maiden, pilot and entrepreneur Bruce Dickinson. The event brought the nuclear industry together to celebrate the success and high achievement of learners nominated for awards in Apprentice, Foundation Degree/HND and Graduate disciplines.

The Main Sponsor on the evening was NuGen. NuGen is a UK nuclear joint venture between Toshiba and ENGIE.  NuGen’s Moorside project aims to develop a new generation nuclear power station on land in West Cumbria enough to power 6 million homes and equivalent to 7 per cent of the UK’s electricity requirements.

Above (L-R) John Male – NSSG, Michael Hodgson, Dr McKeag – Centronic and Bruce Dickinson

09Mar/17

Experimental Methods for Condensed Matter School 5-7 March 2017

16 SEPnet PGRs attended the Experimental Methods for Condensed Matter School on the 5-7 March 2017 at Old Thorns in Liphook, Hampshire.

The 3-day residential workshop covered the background science, the methodology, the capability and some dos and don’ts of a range of common spectroscopy, microscopy and characterisation techniques.

Lectures, tutorials, seminars and other activity sessions included:

  • X-ray and neutron scattering
  • Optical spectroscopies
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance
  • Electron and atomic force microscopies and surface analysis techniques

One postdoctoral researcher from the University of Hertfordshire, said it was an “excellent location” and the programme had “good structure”.

Thank you to all our speakers: Prof Jon Goff, RHUL; Prof John Watts, Dr Mark Whiting, Dr Izabela Jurewicz, and Prof Peter McDonald, University of Surrey; Prof David Dunstan and Dr Andrei Sapelkin, QMUL, Dr Mischa Zelzer, University of Nottingham, Dr David Voneshen, ISIS STFC and Dr Jon Mitchell, Schlumberger Gould Research.

Congratulations to Lei Tan at QMUL who won a prize for the best “Beam Time Proposal” and Daniel Parrish at the University of Surrey who won the best “3-minute Thesis Presentation”. Sean Ogilvie at the University of Sussex and Jelena Gorbaciova at QMUL were jointly commended for their  3-minute presentations.

Organisers, speakers and SEPnet PGRs at Old Thorns.