All posts by James West

26Apr/17

Registration Extended – GRADnet Enterprising Ideas Competition

Investing In Your Research, Your Skills and Your Future

To give more time for students around SEPnet to form teams, we are extending the time for them to register for the Enterprising Ideas competition. We’d also like to dispel some misconceptions about what the programme is about and Elaine Hickmott, who is organising the programme for GRADnet, has written an article articulating the goals and purpose of what the training involves and how it helps Physics  students in their future careers.

Which SEPnet university team has the greatest entrepreneurial spirit?     

The 2017 GRADnet Enterprising Ideas Competition is now open!

Are you interested in developing your entrepreneurial skills?

Are you a SEPnet PGR or a physics undergraduate

Put forward a team for a chance to win £100 for each member!

What it is

SEPnet is organising its 2nd annual enterprising ideas competition to help you develop your entrepreneurship skills.

SEPnet PGRs and physics undergraduates in their penultimate year are invited to put forward teams to compete to be the most entrepreneurial in SEPnet.

Why you should be interested

Business and research increasingly need graduates who bring fresh ideas, innovative thinking and who have great team working skills. Physicists have the research skills and technical knowledge to inform policy, improve society and create exciting new products. Highly developed entrepreneurial skills and an enquiring mind are key to building a knowledge-based economy and can give you the edge when applying for research or graduate jobs or studentships.

Whatever career you pursue, whether in research or business, the skills you gain by participating in this competition will be of great value. By the end of the programme you will have:

  • gained a fresh perspective on how your skills and knowledge can be applied
  • understood more about entrepreneurship and what it means to have an entrepreneurial mindset
  • developed real insights into business, innovation, enterprise and team working
  • participate in multiple activities based on real life experiences and scenarios.

The programme is NOT about turning you into entrepreneurs or seeking new business opportunities but to expose you to the world of business and the impact of innovation on business.

You do not need to have a business idea or experience beforehand to take part!

How it works

If you are a PGR or an undergraduate you will need to confirm your interest in participating by 31 March 2017.  Places are limited on a first come, first served basis.

Forming teams:

  • these should be 3 – 6 people
  • may include PGR only, UG only or be a mixture of PGRs and UGs and may also be formed between SEPnet universities
  • if you do not have a team but would be interested in joining one, let us know and we will put you in touch with others

2-day training course:

  • designated member(s) of the team will attend two days of FREE residential training on 28 and 29 June which will contribute to professional development and build skills to help with the challenge. Training will include varied insights into entrepreneurship; what it really means and why it is important, team work and idea generation together with business, enterprise and communication skills.

Please note:

  • there is a maximum of twenty team spaces available, we are seeking ideally at least one team per institution; however, if an institution doesn’t put a team forward that space can be used by another partner
  • undergraduates on a summer placement should agree with their employer to take 2 days out to attend training

Video:

Teams will be required to produce and submit an initial short video by end of September outlining your idea.

Support:

Teams will be introduced to local entrepreneurial experts at your university to support development of your idea. Ongoing entrepreneurship materials giving hints and tips will also be provided.

Teams will receive feedback from a variety of experts and tips on how take your idea forward.

Key dates:

26 May 2017 Confirm your teams by e-mailing Cristobel Soares-Smith, gradnetadmin@sepnet.ac.uk

28 & 29 June 2017  Entrepreneurship residential training for designated team member(s)

September 2017 Submit short video outlining your idea

January 2018 Proposals with market research and business case to be submitted

February 2018 Presentations to a panel of entrepreneurs and business people

Further information:

25Apr/17

New On-line Learning Modules produced by GRADnet PGRs

Two new on-line learning modules have been created by GRADnet PGR students: Shaun Geaney of RHUL and Justyn Campbell-White of the University of Kent. This brings the total number of modules now available to fourteen. These were all created by GRADnet PGRs in response to the phrase “I wish I’d known that when I started my PhD”. The new modules are:

Designed to help new PhD students embarking on their research, the presentation style of the courses is very varied. Clean code is about creating organised, readable and terse programming code and  is delivered as an online presentation. The Virtual Observatory Tools is a video which will show you how to use the Virtual Observatory (VO) tools: Aladin, Simbad, Vizier, and Topcat.

The creators of these and the other modules received prizes. If any PGRs across SEPnet have any ideas for additional training modules, please contact gradnetadmin@sepnet.ac.uk

Note: you will need to sign on to the GRADnet VRE to access these modules. If you are having problems logging on you can find help here.

29Mar/17
GRADnet

GRADnet Summer School, 3-6 July, National Physical Laboratory

The GRADnet Summer School is to take place from the 3rd to 6th July 2017 at the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington.

Who:  This school is for physics, and physics related,   post-graduate researchers.

When:  3-6 July 2017

Where:  National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 0LW Free to attend. Accommodation is provided at the Travelodge in Teddington and rooms are en suite twin-bedded rooms (2 people sharing).  Travel expenses to and from the venue can be claimed through SEPnet.

Register here.  Registration deadline 3 June 2017.

What:  A 4-day residential school that explores the wide range of opportunities open to PhD physicists.  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 consultancy challenge runs throughout the 4 days. High-tech companies come with real problems and invite students, working in teams, to create solutions using the skills they have learnt in their PhD.

Other companies come and offer workshops designed to show what life in a given industry sector type is like and what kind of work is involved.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 include:  Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Fourth State Medicine; IBM; National Physical Laboratory; Oxford Instruments; RBA Acoustics; Things We Don’t Know; Surrey Satellite Technology Limited and WP Thompson.

This workshop contributes 16 hours towards physics skills training and 8 hours towards professional skills training.

2016 Summer School

Group Photo from the 2016 GRADnet Summer School at Herstmonceux

27Mar/17

GRADnews Issue 6 – Spring 2017 Available

The Spring 2017 issue of GRADnews has been sent off for printing. It will be distributed to all PGRs and staff across the SEPnet members over the next two weeks. Watch out for it in your mailslots or in your PGR student common rooms/areas. If there’s one in your mailslot, then it’s for you!

This issue concentrates on the important area of Impact. More and more Research is evaluated on the broader Impact it has on society, the economy, and people. Six Impact studies have been funded by SEPnet and they are reported on in this issue. In addition we report on DISCnet, a new initiative in Data Intensive Science, the recent Winter School held at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor, and a reminder on the Enterprising Ideas Competition.

As always, please ensure you have a functioning VRE account so you can fully participate in the programme. If you need help, please look here: http://www.sepnet.ac.uk/sepnet-graduate-network/gradnets-virtual-research-environment/frequently-asked-questions-faqs-gradnet-vre/ 

You can download a copy of the newsletter here: GRADnews Issue 6 Final

28Feb/17

GRADnet Quantum Technologies School 24-26 April 2017

Who:  This school is for physics PhD and post-doctoral researchers working in the area of quantum technologies.

When: 24-26 April 2017 (Arrival 11.30)

Where:  Old Thorns Manor Hotel, Liphook, Hampshire, GU30 7PE.  Free to attend. Accommodation is provided at the Old Thorns and rooms are en suite twin-bedded rooms (2 people sharing).   Travel expenses to and from the venue can be claimed through SEPnet.  A shuttle taxi service will be provided from Liphook station to Old Thorns on Monday morning and Wednesday evening.

Registration:

PGRs and Postdocs from the SEPnet institutions should register via the VRE here.  Registration deadline 20 March 2017.

If you are a from a non-SEPnet institution you can register your interest to gradnetadmin@sepnet.ac.uk

What:  A 3-day residential workshop led by senior researchers in the SEPnet region comprising lectures, tutorials, seminars and other activities. This school aims to expose PhD students interested in applications of physics which directly rely on the properties of quantum mechanics to perform a function beyond current technological capability.

Sometimes such a device is described as a “machine” whose dynamical degrees of freedom obey Schrodinger’s equations, thereby employing the principles of superposition and entanglement to achieve its task.

The School will be taught by senior researchers from within SEPnet and by invited speakers from beyond. A total of six sessions are planned that will span different directions in which quantum technology is progressing, including:

  • Quantum computation
  • Quantum simulation
  • Quantum sensing / metrology
  • Quantum communications.

In addition, the School will explore key enabling technologies.

Speakers: Erika Andersson, Heriot-Watt University, Sugato Bose, University College London, Andreas Freise, University of Birmingham,Eran Ginossar, University of Surrey, Jaewoo Joo, University of Surrey, Richard Josza, University of Cambridge, Pieter Kok, University of Sheffield, Stefan Kuhr, University of Strathclyde, Tobias Lindstrom, NPL, John Morton, University College London, Yuri Ovchinnikov, NPL, Diego Porras, University of Sussex, Alessandro Rossi, University of Cambridge, Tim Spiller, University of York and Seb Weidt, University of Sussex.

Organisers: Dr Eran Ginossar (Surrey), Prof Winfried Hensinger (Sussex), Dr Elinor Irish (Southampton), Dr Silvia Bergamini (Open University), Dr Tobias Lindstrom (National Physical Laboratory).

This workshop contributes 20 hours towards physics skills training.

13Feb/17

GRADnet Enterprising Ideas Competition 2017

Investing In Your Research, Your Skills and Your Future

Which SEPnet university team has the greatest entrepreneurial spirit?     

The 2017 GRADnet Enterprising Ideas Competition is now open!

Are you interested in developing your entrepreneurial skills?

Are you a SEPnet PGR or a physics undergraduate

Put forward a team for a chance to win £100 for each member!

What it is

SEPnet is organising its 2nd annual enterprising ideas competition to help you develop your entrepreneurship skills.

SEPnet PGRs and physics undergraduates in their penultimate year are invited to put forward teams to compete to be the most entrepreneurial in SEPnet.

Why you should be interested

Business and research increasingly need graduates who bring fresh ideas, innovative thinking and who have great team working skills. Physicists have the research skills and technical knowledge to inform policy, improve society and create exciting new products. Highly developed entrepreneurial skills and an enquiring mind are key to building a knowledge-based economy and can give you the edge when applying for research or graduate jobs or studentships.

Whatever career you pursue, whether in research or business, the skills you gain by participating in this competition will be of great value. By the end of the programme you will have:

  • gained a fresh perspective on how your skills and knowledge can be applied
  • understood more about entrepreneurship and what it means to have an entrepreneurial mindset
  • developed real insights into business, innovation, enterprise and team working
  • participate in multiple activities based on real life experiences and scenarios.

The programme is NOT about turning you into entrepreneurs or seeking new business opportunities but to expose you to the world of business and the impact of innovation on business.

You do not need to have a business idea or experience beforehand to take part!

How it works

If you are a PGR or an undergraduate you will need to confirm your interest in participating by 31 March 2017.  Places are limited on a first come, first served basis.

Forming teams:

  • these should be 3 – 6 people
  • may include PGR only, UG only or be a mixture of PGRs and UGs and may also be formed between SEPnet universities
  • if you do not have a team but would be interested in joining one, let us know and we will put you in touch with others

2-day training course:

  • designated member(s) of the team will attend two days of FREE residential training on 28 and 29 June which will contribute to professional development and build skills to help with the challenge. Training will include varied insights into entrepreneurship; what it really means and why it is important, team work and idea generation together with business, enterprise and communication skills.

Please note:

  • there is a maximum of twenty team spaces available, we are seeking ideally at least one team per institution; however, if an institution doesn’t put a team forward that space can be used by another partner
  • undergraduates on a summer placement should agree with their employer to take 2 days out to attend training

Video:

Teams will be required to produce and submit an initial short video by end of September outlining your idea.

Support:

Teams will be introduced to local entrepreneurial experts at your university to support development of your idea. Ongoing entrepreneurship materials giving hints and tips will also be provided.

Teams will receive feedback from a variety of experts and tips on how take your idea forward.

Key dates:

31 March 2017 Confirm your interest in taking part by e-mailing Cristobel Soares-Smith, gradnetadmin@sepnet.ac.uk

26 May 2017 Confirm your team members

28 & 29 June 2017  Entrepreneurship residential training for designated team member(s)

September 2017 Submit short video outlining your idea

January 2018 Proposals with market research and business case to be submitted

February 2018 Presentations to a panel of entrepreneurs and business people

Further information:

17Jan/17

Student-led Conference: Functional scanning probe microscopy techniques 30-31 March 2017

Functional scanning probe microscopy techniques 30-31 March 2017

Who:  This is for 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.

When:  30-31 March 2017.  Arrival in the evening on 29 March 2017.

Where:  Building 58, Murray Lecture Theatre Complex, Highfield Campus, University of Southampton SO17 1BJ.  Free to attend.  Single en suite accomodation at the Glen Ayre Complex. Travel expenses to and from the venue can be claimed through SEPnet.

Abstract deadline 16 December 2016:   Please email your submissions to hector.corte [at] npl.co.uk using the template here. Once your abstract has been accepted you will be notified by the conference organiser to register for this conference.

This workshop contributes 12 hours towards physics skills training.

Registration: The deadline to register is 28 February 2017.  Register here.

What:  There are 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.

Confirmed speakers:  Florence Marchi, Institute Néel; Ekaterina Selezneva, NPL, Charles Clifford, NPL; Sonia Antoranz Contera, Oxford University

Functional scanning probe microscopy techniques:  

The conference will be focused on sharing the different functional scanning probe microscopy techniques that PhD students use in their day-to-day. Because scanning probe microscopy is becoming a standard tool in many materials laboratories, it has seen a huge increase in the number of available techniques, with almost no time for training of new users.

Our aim is that each PhD student will be able to share their experience and at the same time will be able to learn from others. The objective is that every student attending the conference will learn at least one new technique relevant for their work.

The main topics will be general applications of atomic force microscopy (AFM), magnetic force microscopy, Kelvin microscopy, nanolithography, scanning tunneling microscopy, electrochemical AFM, force spectroscopy, and thermal AFM. Our aim is to transfer knowledge between users of the different techniques in order to make students aware of the available tools they can use in their research.

If your research involves scanning probe microscopy, then you are welcome to submit an abstract (~300 words) describing your work. Please indicate your preference for an oral presentation (15 minutes) or a poster (A1 size). Travel and accommodation expenses are fully covered by SEPnet and there is no registration fee. Please email your submissions to hector.corte [at] npl.co.uk using the template here.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Organisers: Héctor Corte-León (RHUL) Alex Browning (Surrey)

(The parellel session is “A Broadband Look at Astrophysical Processes “.  This meeting will take a broadband look at astrophysical processes across the electromagnetic spectrum.  By introducing different features of the electromagnetic spectrum in an astrophysical context, it will create a foundation for broadband study at different wavebands. Organisers: Peter Boorman, Bella Boulderstone and Chris Frohmaier  (Soton.)

17Jan/17

Student-led Conference: A Broadband Look at Astrophysical Processes 30-31 March 2017

A Broadband Look at Astrophysical Processes 30-31 March 2017

Who:  This is for 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.

When:  30-31 March 2017.  Arrival in the evening on 29 March 2017.

Where:  Building 58, Murray Lecture Theatre Complex, Highfield Campus, University of Southampton SO17 1BJ.   Free to attend.  Single en suite accomodation at the Glen Ayre Complex. Travel expenses to and from the venue can be claimed through SEPnet.

Abstract deadline 30 November 2016:  Submit your abstract here.  Once your abstract has been accepted you will be notified by the conference organiser to register for this conference.

Registration: The deadline to register is 28 February 2017.  Register here.

What:  There are 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.

A Broadband Look at Astrophysical Processes:

Astrophysics PhD students commonly start work at a particular waveband of the electromagnetic spectrum, sometimes without any prior knowledge of how their work fits into the ‘bigger picture’.  By introducing attendees to a broad collection of astrophysical research topics at multiple wavelengths, this conference aims to create a foundation to the wider context of students’ research.

This conference will feature seven sessions across the electromagnetic spectrum on: radio; infrared; optical; ultraviolet; X-ray; gamma ray and cosmology/big data.

We encourage abstract applications from PhD students and post-doctoral researchers for oral and poster presentations on any of the aforementioned topics.  Presentations should encompass how you use this topic in your astronomy-based research.  To submit your abstract, please go to https://sites.google.com/site/broadbandlook/home and fill out the form under ‘Abstract Submission for Students’.

Successful applicants will be notified by early January, who must then register for the conference via the registration link included above.

Organisers: Peter Boorman, Bella Boulderstone and Chris Frohmaier  (Soton)

(The parallel session is Functional scanning probe microscopy techniques. This meeting is for those interested in surface analysis and nanotechnology characterisation. Basic concepts and different techniques used by students working on a wide range of topics, from nanomaterials, soft matter, biomedicine, to polymers, surface analysis, and magnetism will be explored. Organisers: Héctor Corte-León (RHUL) Alex Browning (Surrey).)

This workshop contributes 12 hours towards physics skills training.

17Jan/17

GRADnet School: Experimental Methods for Condensed Matter 5-7 March 2017

Experimental Methods for Condensed Matter 5-7 March 2017

Who:  This course is for 1st and 2nd Year Physics postgraduate researchers working in experimental condensed matter physics, and theorists wanting to learn what   experimenters can do!

When: Sunday, 5 March to Tuesday, 7 March 2017.  Arrival 12:30 on Sunday, 5 March.

Where:  Old Thorns Manor Hotel, Liphook, Hampshire, GU30 7PE.  All meals and accommodation have been booked and pre-paid by SEPnet.  Travel expenses to and from the venue can be claimed through SEPnet.  A shuttle taxi service will be provided from Liphook station to Old Thorns on Monday morning and Tuesday evening.

Register here.  Registration deadline 30 January 2017

What:  A 3-day residential workshop that describes the background science, the methodology, the capability and some dos and don’ts of a range of common spectroscopy, microscopy and characterisation techniques.

This residential school has the joint objectives of reinforcing understanding for students already working with some of the methods discussed and showing what other methods might offer. It will include lectures, tutorials, seminars and other activity sessions on:

  • X-ray and neutron scattering
  • Optical spectroscopies.  A discussion of the basics of optical spectroscopy, spectrometers and spectrographs will be followed by examples of their use in characterising materials by photoluminescence, Raman spectroscopy, absorption spectroscopy, etc.
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance. An introduction to how physicists use NMR to measure molecular dynamics and microstructure.
  • Electron and atomic force microscopies and surface analysis techniques. These methods enable the imaging of (i) the topography of materials surfaces, (ii) the microstructure of a material, (iii) the defects, such as dislocations, within a material and (iv) chemical analysis. Two sessions explore how these goals are achieved.

This workshop contributes 16 hours towards physics skills training.