All posts by James West

13Jun/18

SEPnet announces Executive Director to lead its next phase

SEPnet announces Executive Director to lead its next phase

Ten years after SEPnet was launched with HEFCE funding in 2008 to sustain Physics in the South East region, SEPnet is about to enter its third phase funded by its nine member (The Universities of Hertfordshire, Kent, Portsmouth, Southampton, Surrey, Sussex; The Open University; Queen Mary University of London; and Royal Holloway University of London).

The purpose of SEPnet Phase 3, agreed by the members, is to assure the viability of Physics in the South East by continuing to facilitate regional collaborations to address common challenges in areas such as Outreach and Public Engagement, employer engagement, graduate training, and research. Its vision is “Working together to deliver excellence in physics”.

To lead SEPnet into this next phase, we are pleased to announce that Professor Sean Ryan of the University of Hertfordshire has agreed to become Executive Director of the network, effective 1st August 2018. Sean succeeds Dr James West who became Executive Director in February 2010 and who will be retiring on July 31st.

Sean is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Hertfordshire and held the post of Dean of School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics from 2006-2015, during which time he negotiated the University’s membership of SEPnet for the start of Phase II.

James West (left), Sean Ryan (right)

SEPnet would like to thank James West for his leadership of the network for the past eight years and for securing the funding for the next phase, and welcome Sean Ryan as its next leader.

James West: “SEPnet has been an enjoyable challenge and we have shown that collaboration works to secure the future for physics in the region and for our members. I’m pleased that a senior Physics academic of Sean’s standing has been appointed and I’m confident under Sean’s leadership, the next phase can build on the foundations of the past 10 years to bring new opportunities to address the challenges of the future.”

 

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

19Feb/18

Team from Royal Holloway wins SEPnet Enterprising Ideas Competition

In early 2017 SEPnet invited students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, from the network to submit teams for the SEPnet Enterprising Ideas competition. We were  looking for teams who bring fresh ideas, innovative thinking and who have great team working skills that businesses increasingly need.

The idea of the programme was to engender new skills in the students: a fresh perspective on how their skills and knowledge can be applied; understanding more about entrepreneurship and what it means to have an entrepreneurial mindset; and to develop real insights into business, innovation, enterprise and team workings.

The programme would last throughout 2017 with teams undertaking training in June led by Elaine Hickmott of EH-Enterprises who tailored the programme specifically for Physics students in SEPnet. They were then asked to submit their ideas via a short video by September. This was followed by submitting detailed market research and their business case, leading up to a “Dragon’s Den” format presentation to a panel of Business people at the GRADnet Winter School in February.

Unfortunately along the way, some teams dropped out due to research and studying commitments. However they gained valuable experience from the intensive training provided.

Three teams made it through the grueling process and reached the finals:

  • VR-Teach – a Physics VR Simulator from a team from the University of Kent
  • MQMobile – monitoring lab equipment, from the University of Southampton
  • “Conker” monitoring for concussion in sporting and other accidents, from Royal Holloway
The team from Kent The team from RHUL The team from Southampton

The panel of judges (Bob Pickles of Canon UK, Simon Bland of Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and Phil Edwards of Weald Technology) was extremely impressed with all three finalists and by the quality, credibility and potential of the ideas being showcased. It was a tough call. However, they chose “Conker” from RHUL as the winning entry.

The winners collect their certificates The runners up collect theirs.

Congratulations to all the teams for not just demonstrating great technical ideas, but also how to ensure they solved real problems and what was needed for commercial success. Congratulations to the team from RHUL for winning.

 

19Feb/18

GRADnet Winter School 2018 a Great Success

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 26 postgraduate students from eight of the SEPnet members, 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. Veronica Benson and Kay Pearson from SEPnet’s Employer Engagement team observed the PGRs and provided feedback to them.

Alys Brett, from UKAEA, JT Jansenn from National Physical Laboratory, John Wells from Leonardo and Helen White from AWE took part in a panel discussion and  gave their perspectives on leadership styles from an employer’s point of view.

Students also enjoyed the recreational activities available in the games room in the cellar at Cumberland Lodge as well as the historical ghost tour which took place in Windsor town centre in the pouring rain.

12Feb/18

Strong Correlations Workshop 11-13 April 2018

What: A 2.5-day residential workshop that describes the background science of strongly correlated systems and experiments to probe them.

Who:  1st and 2nd Year Physics postgraduate researchers working in condensed matter physics.      

When:  11-13 April 2018

Where:  Old Thorns Manor Hotel, Liphook, Hampshire

Numbers:  Circa 25-30 delegates

No two researchers would ever completely agree on the definition of a strongly correlated system; however they may very roughly be described as materials where the correlations between electrons induced by interactions make the behaviour of the material ‘interesting’.

This interactive two-and-a-half day residential workshop is designed for PhD students who would benefit from learning more about this subject. The course will consist of three short lecture courses of three lectures each, covering both the theoretical concepts necessary to understand strongly correlated systems, as well as how one would probe them experimentally. The course will be self-contained, assuming only a knowledge of quantum mechanics and undergraduate level solid state physics. It should therefore be beneficial to students working on both theoretical and/or experimental projects. 

In addition to the lectures, the workshop will have tutorials that pose and discuss problems related to the lectures. This will also offer an opportunity to ask many questions and continue further discussions with all of the lecturers. There will also be a poster session, some evening seminars, and a skills session focussing on scientific communication. 

Posters to be presented must be size A1 portrait.

Travel expenses, meals and accommodation are covered by SEPnet.

Registration deadline 9 March 2018.

Register here:

17Jan/18

From Micrometres to Megaparsecs: Student-led Conference 21-23 March 2018

From Micrometres to Megaparsecs: Student-led Conference 21-23 March 2018

Who: Postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers from the SEPnet region with research interests in this year’s conference topics. A limited number of places are available to early stage  researchers beyond the region.

What: Two parallel research conferences proposed and organised by students wanting to advance their research and extend their collaborations. The conferences include talks by invited speakers and students as well as poster and recreational sessions.  

When: 21-23 March 2018  (Arrival 18:00 on 21 March 2018)

Where:  Murray Lecture Building, Highfield Campus, University of Southampton. (Accommodation at Glen Eyre Complex, Highfield Campus)

NumbersCirca 35 delegates

This conference aims to bring together students from all areas of astronomy research. From micrometeorites at Kent, to cosmological surveys at Portsmouth, the GRADnet groups and astronomy departments cover all sizes and scales of the Universe. Students will gain knowledge of a wide range of research techniques applied to the various size scales, and see where such techniques may cross over and enhance their own research; e.g. how the physics of planetary system formation can scale up to galactic formation.

Organisers:  Sam Billington, Justyn Campbell-White, University of Kent, and Ben Mawdsley, University of Portsmouth

The parallel conference is Advances in High Energy Physics and Cosmology and aims to bring together students from all areas of particle physics research. There will be cross-over lectures which are relevant to students of both astronomy and particle physics.    

The deadline to register is 7 February 2018. Register here

17Jan/18

Advances in High Energy Physics and Cosmology: Student-led Conference 21-23 March 2018

Advances in High Energy Physics and Cosmology: Student-led Conference 21-23 March 2018

Who: Postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers from the SEPnet region with research interests in this year’s conference topics. A limited number of places are available to early stage  researchers beyond the region.What: Two parallel research conferences proposed and organised by students wanting to advance their research and extend their collaborations. The conferences include talks by invited speakers and students as well as poster and recreational sessions.  

When: 21-23 March 2018  (Arrival 18:00 on 21 March 2018)

Where:  Murray Lecture Building, Highfield Campus, University of Southampton. (Accommodation at Glen Eyre Complex, Highfield Campus)

Numbers: Circa 35 delegates

This conference aims to bring together students from all GRADnet nodes and provide high quality lectures from experts in the fields over a variety of topics.

Students attending will learn from a wide range of topics, which include dark matter, gravitational waves and other cosmological topics. There will also be sessions for students to present their own research in addition to learning from accomplished lecturers.

Organisers: Simon King, University of Southampton, Sonali Mohapatra and Jack Setford, University of Sussex.

The parallel conference is From Micrometres to Megaparsecs and aims to bring together students from all areas of astronomy research. There will be cross-over lectures which are relevant to students of both particle physics and astronomy.

The deadline to register is 7 February 2018.  Register here.

04Dec/17

SEPnet PhD Scholarships 2018

SEPnet PhD Scholarships: PhD Grand Challenges 2018

Take nine world-class University Physics Departments.  Bring together their research, knowledge and resources.  The result is SEPnet.

SEPnet offers PhD programmes focused on the future of physics with scholarships to match.  You will optimise the opportunity to enter your preferred field of research with your single application considered by nine universities: Hertfordshire, Kent, the OU, Portsmouth, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, Southampton, Surrey and Sussex. Our partners offer over 100 PhD projects every year. These projects and SEPnet Scholarships are available in the following areas of research:

  • Astrophysics
  • Atmospheric and Climate physics
  • Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
  • Medical and Bio- Physics
  • Nuclear Physics:
  • Particle Physics
  • Physics Education
  • Quantum Technology and Condensed Matter
  • Space and Planetary Sciences
  • Theoretical Physics

 

The SEPnet Graduate Network (GRADnet)

GRADnet provides an extensive regional training programme for postgraduate researchers including physics training and professional skills development. For more information visit: http://www.sepnet.ac.uk/study/phd-opportunities/

GRADnet runs Graduate Schools for Physics PhD students at employers in the region. This video, produced by our students, gives a flavour of what to expect:

How to Apply:

Applicants are invited to submit their current C.V. and a short statement of their research interests (maximum 200 words) to Cristobel Soares-Smith, SEPnet Graduate Network Administrator, gradnetadmin@sepnet.ac.uk by Wednesday 14th February 2018. Selected candidates will be invited to attend an Open Day on February 21st 2018 in order to meet potential supervisors and learn more about GRADnet.

Closing Date:  14 February 2018

Note that you are also able apply directly to any SEPnet University separately through their standard procedures. If your application is accepted by a particular University after the closing date above, it may not be considered for this GRADnet scholarship award. The SEPnet route should be considered as a distinct path. We will endeavour to make your application available to be considered for all relevant specific awards outside this SEPnet scheme but cannot guarantee that we are aware of all advertised posts from individual supervisors.

We expect awards to be made before the end of April.

30Oct/17

Register Now: Numerical Modelling for Condensed Matter 14-16 Jan 2018

Numerical Modelling for Condensed Matter

Who: Physics postgraduate researchers seeking an introduction to different methods of numerical modelling in condensed matter physics.

What: A 3-day residential workshop led by senior researchers in the SEPnet region comprising lectures, tutorials, seminars and other activities.

When: 14-16 January 2018

Where: Old Thorns Manor Hotel, Liphook, Hampshire.

Numbers: Circa 20-25 delegates

This interactive residential school is designed for PhD students who would benefit from an introduction to different methods of numerical modelling in condensed matter physics: Monte Carlo, molecular dynamics, and first-principles quantum mechanical simulation.  These fundamental and widely-used simulation techniques could support theoretical, computational or experimental PhD projects. The sessions comprise lectures on principles followed by an opportunity for hands-on practice.

Molecular dynamics is used to model molecular configurations, molecular interactions and the dynamics of molecules at nano time and length scales. The school will introduce some of the key software packages available and offer students hands-on experience in one of them.

The key to success with molecular dynamics is to have good, validated interatomic potentials. These are obtained through density functional theory and quantum mechanical calculations. The workshop will include an introduction to these methods.

Molecular dynamics is too computationally expensive in both time and memory to model large ensembles of atoms and molecules over longer timescales. This is where Monte Carlo methods take over. The school will explore some of the varied applications of Monte Carlo simulations in Physics and to put some into practise.

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

Register here using your VRE login. Deadline to register is 8 December 2017.  If you do not have a VRE (Virtual Research Environment)login please contact your local GRADnet Administrator for assistance.

 

Regards

Cristobel

 

Cristobel Soares-Smith
SEPnet Graduate Network Administrator
mailto:gradnetadmin@sepnet.ac.uk
01483 682270
www.sepnet.ac.uk
24Oct/17

Job Vacancy: SEPnet Executive Director

Job Vacancy: SEPnet Executive Director

Location:  One of the SEPnet locations
Salary:   Competitive – Commensurate with qualifications and experience
Part Time, Fixed Term – 0.5 FTE, until 31/07/2021
Closing Date:   Monday 27 November 2017
Reference:  928317WF

SEPnet logo
The South East Physics Network (SEPnet) has been in existence since 2008 and has successfully transformed the sustainability of university Physics teaching and research in the South East of England. It now has nine Physics departments[1] in the region as members and they are committed to sustaining the network in the years ahead. SEPnet is seeking a new Executive Director to lead it as it evolves over the next few years. The role is part time (50% FTE) and could suit a secondment from a HEI or other STEM organisation.

The ED will formally lead and manage the professional staff of SEPnet employed to deliver outreach, employer engagement, and the Physics PGR Graduate Training Programme (GRADnet).This team will carry through the strategy agreed with the Board of Heads of Department that s/he will chair, who carry ultimate accountability and responsibility for activities to the group of Universities in the Network. A key element of this appointment will be the strategic positioning of SEPnet so that it plays a significant role in developing physics research and education across the South-East, and influencing policy at regional and national levels.

The Executive Director will provide exemplary leadership and direction for SEPnet, in collaboration with university stakeholders, physics academics and students across the network. S/he will be responsible for managing the SEPnet-employed staff, and managing the SEPnet budget and resources. S/he will also spearhead a network of engaged academics, from the member universities, in order to deliver the GRADnet programme; providing leadership and implementing the agreed strategic vision for this on-going graduate training programme. The professional team within the SEPnet organization is small with a far-reaching and diverse agenda. As is usual with such teams all members will be expected to operate at many levels and across the complete spectrum of activities. The successful candidate will be based at one of the SEPnet member institutions and will need to travel frequently around the network and to events in London. The employing University from the SEPnet members institutions will be determined at appointment.

Further information:

[1] The Universities of Hertfordshire, Kent, Portsmouth, Southampton, Surrey, Sussex; The Open University; Queen Mary University of London; Royal Holloway University of London

The base location of the successful candidate is negotiable within the South East Region. They have the option to be based at one of the nine SEPnet partners, in which case that location could agree to become the employing location. Home working in this role is also a possibility.

This role is part time at 0.5FTE, or the role may be suitable for a full time individual seconded to the role, in which 50% of their time is “bought out” by SEPnet. The role is funded up to July 2021.

Interviews for this role will be held on 19th January 2018. They will be held at Royal Holloway University of London, 11 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3RF.

Candidates wishing to discuss the position can contact the SEPnet Independent Chair, Professor Sir William Wakeham at chair@sepnet.ac.uk

Application Procedure:

You should submit your completed online application form at www.jobs.soton.ac.uk.

Please submit details for 3 referees and include your CV with your application.

The application deadline will be midnight on the closing date stated above. If you need any assistance, please call Sarah Foster (Recruitment Team) on +44 (0) 23 8059 5070. Please quote reference 928317WF on all correspondence.