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All posts by Veronica Benson

30Aug/18

EuroScience Open Forum: sharing science, and a bit of career advice

A physics PhD’s experience of a week at the largest science meeting in Europe…..

‘A recent study (PDF) from the South East Physics Network shows that roughly half of its PhD graduates go on to work in fields other than academia . Whether these students chose to leave or had to, it’s about time we gave the *alternative career path some more attention’.

Emma Winkels is a PhD student at the University of Sussex, working on the ATLAS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider

Read an account of Emma Winkels’ experience here.

 

27Jul/18

Enhancing physics graduate employability – a SEPnet WRIPA workshop shows how skills can be embedded

A recent joint SEPnet workshop with White Rose Industrial Physics Academy (WRIPA), hosted by University of Nottingham, shared good practice with physics departments using examples of active learning projects and modules which have been shown to be effective in engaging students and developing their conceptual understanding, resilience, confidence and motivation.

65 physics academics and employability managers from across the UK attended this one-day workshop to discuss the enablers and barriers to curriculum development, opportunities for physics departments with respect to the Industrial Strategy and to share best practice on embedding employability within degree programmes.

Representatives from physics departments at Sheffield, Cardiff and Salford provided case studies of successful real-world projects that engage students. Advance HE reinforced the message that traditional physics degree courses are no longer fit for purpose. Innovative approaches to teaching and learning which embed employability skills and simulate real-world working with employer input are vital.

The event was chaired by Professor Sir William Wakeham and supported by the Institute of Physics.

For more information contact employerengagement@sepnet.ac.uk

13Jul/18

Where do physics PhD graduates go?

Data collected on 95 SEPnet PhDs graduating in 2016 and 2017 shows that more are entering business and technology careers with many taking on roles as data analysts (35% of PhD graduates in non-academic roles compared with 22% who graduated in 2014-5).

46% of PhD graduates took up non-academic roles in line with research which shows 47% of PhD science graduates find their first job outside academia.

With only 3.5% of science PhD graduates remaining in permanent academic roles, it is important that they have opportunities to meet potential employers from a range of different sectors and industries and develop their employability skills.

For more information about placements, industry mentoring and employer events, and to view our infograph, visit http://www.sepnet.ac.uk/sepnet-graduate-network/gradnet-employer-engagement/

 

15Jun/18

SEPnet Industry Survey 2018 – employers keen to engage with university physics departments

56 representatives of SMEs, large corporates, NGOs and research institutions from a range of sectors completed our recent survey to find out how SEPnet can better support business needs and address skills shortages through greater collaboration with universities.

Key findings:
• 59% have had contact with a university physics department on matters of knowledge exchange in the last 5 years – the majority of these interactions eg KTPs, commissioning research etc have been successful
• There are still issues around responding to SMEs more quickly, the costs involved in collaborating on projects and understanding around IP
• Seeking graduates with specific skills was by far the most important reason for businesses wishing to engage with universities
• The most important skills and attributes which employers would like to see developed in physics graduates are: commercial awareness; programming; communication; practical and technical skills
• Many employers would be willing to participate in an industry panel to input into the physics curriculum
• 60% have employed physics PhD graduates and value their relevant expertise, mathematical skills and problem solving ability
• In addition, employers of physics PhD look for the ability to apply theories to real-world problems, flexibility, an enquiring mind, persistence and enthusiasm.

To read the short survey, click here: SEPnet Industry Survey 2018

18May/18

NuSec post-doctoral research grants in nuclear security, radiation and data – deadline 1 June

The NuSec Security Science Network is pleased to announce a competition for up to 10 short-term “PDRA support grants” worth up to £15,000 each, to research Nuclear Security network-related topics.

Grants are intended to support the direct salary costs of PDRAs so that they can work 100% 3 months (full time) or pro rata for longer if other support is provided. The PDRA can either be a new position, or an extension to an existing post.

Proposals must support the aims of the NuSec network, to deliver research or impact activities which have clear objectives in Nuclear Security Science.

Priority will be given to proposals which support the three main areas of activity covered by the network to date:
1. Detection systems for nuclear security
2. Algorithms, data and autonomous decision making
3. Alternative technologies for industrial use of radiation sources

Applications (no more than 2 side of A4) must be submitted by 1st June 2018 to info@nusec.uk.  Results will be announced on 1st July 2018.

If you interested in applying please visit the NuSec website http://www.nusec.uk/nusec-network-post-doctoral-support-(pdra)-support-grants/ for more details.

Read NuSec’s Science Network newsletter here: http://www.nusec.uk/news/2018/05/15/nusec-achievements-and-opportunities/ to read about 2017/2018 achievements and networking and funding opportunities.

14May/18

Career Pathways 2018 for Women in STEM, Tuesday 12 June, 11.00-18.00, Institute of Physics, London W1

The Women in Materials Group are delighted to announce the return of Career Pathways for Women in STEM this year. The event is kindly sponsored and hosted by the Institute of Physics and will be held at their central office located near Regent’s Park, London.

This event is a unique forum for inspiring female role models, who have used a science degree to underpin their careers, to share their employment experiences and challenges to date. Speakers will be well-established professionals and eminent academics representing a diverse range of disciplines; from science policy and academia to entrepreneurship and engineering. You will also hear from recent graduates about the challenges faced make their early career choices.

This is an exciting opportunity to network, ask questions and engage with your fellow students in a supportive environment. All undergraduates and postgraduates are encouraged to attend, regardless of gender or academic background.

To register interest, please sign up via this page: https://www.events.iop.org/d/f/worldwide/page.html

For more information about the event and speakers, please click attending on Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1984754218508199/

30Apr/18

Enhancing physics graduate employability through curriculum development: enablers, barriers and opportunities

A joint SEPnet & WRIPA Workshop supported by the Institute of Physics
Wednesday 18 July 10.00 – 16.00
De Vere Orchard Hotel, University Park, University of Nottingham

To create a more productive economy the UK government has recently published its Industry Strategy. The government’s vision for a transformed economy is based on 5 foundations, including ‘people’ and ‘places’. ‘People’ and ‘Places’ emphasise a number of challenges such as tackling particular shortages of STEM skills, developing skills to take advantage of new technology and implementing Local Industrial Strategies to drive productivity.

To meet these business needs (and others!) for talent, skills and innovation i.e., “innovation diffusion” through people, university physics departments will need to consider how this will be achieved via curriculum development, work-based learning and employer engagement.

The aim of this one-day workshop is to understand better the enablers and barriers to curriculum development, the opportunities for physics departments with respect to the Industrial Strategy and to share best practice of embedding employability within degree programmes. The workshop also provides the opportunity to build a wider network of employability focused academic and professional staff. The programme will include presentations and case studies from Institute of Physics and representatives from HE physics departments and chaired by Professor Sir William Wakeham.

The event is aimed at heads of physics departments, academics responsible for employability, programme managers, heads of teaching and learning, industry representatives and all those 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-workshop.eventbrite.co.uk

13Apr/18

SEPnet Summer Placement Report 2017/18 shows students continue to perform well

Students increasingly see the value of placements for developing their employability skills and continue to perform well on placement.

Key findings showed:

• The number of placements has increased from 38 in 2009 to 91 in 2017.
• 20% of the eligible cohort applied for placements in 2017 and more students are pursuing their own and signing up to other schemes.
• 42% of placements were successfully secured by female students
• 57% of placements were funded by employers, Santander Internship Scheme and WP funding
• Students rated programming as the most relevant element of their course
• Organisations receiving the most applications were ICG, University of Sussex, Royal Marsden Hospital, AWE and eOsphere.
• CVs were well-presented but covering letters need to be more relevant and students need to research organisations better beforehand.
• Performance at interview was important in securing a placement but enthusiasm was equally important.
• Employers rated students’ top 3 skills as self-management, problem solving and communication – the same skills that students felt they improved most.
• 5 students had their placements extended and 7 were known to have been offered graduate roles

You can read the full report here: SEPnet Summer Placement Report 2017-18

08Mar/18

SEPnet celebrates Women’s International Day!

SEPnet continues to celebrate the achievements of female physicists and encourage young women to pursue careers with physics through its outreach and employability programmes.

While only 20% of physics students are female, 30% of students attending SEPnet and GRADnet events are female and 40% of summer placements are secured by female physics students. Role models and case studies are important sources of inspiration and you can read about some of our successful alumni and placement students on our website.

All SEPnet partners are signed up to Project Juno and Athena SWAN to support gender equality and women’s career progression with 3 partners achieving Champion status to date. SEPnet partners share good practice through SEPnet’s diversity workshops and E&D Champions LinkedIn group. SEPnet and IOP’s successful joint careers panel for female physicists has led to the creation of the SEPnet Careers Forum for Female Physicists, a supportive group, where students and female physicists in business and academia can share issues related to women’s progression in the workplace.

Through its Outreach & Public Engagement programme, SEPnet continues to explore innovative projects that tackle Gender Stereotyping in Schools. The results of our pilot project, Shattering Stereotypes, are available on our website, including twelve recommendations for other physics departments who are looking to run similar projects. SEPnet will be using this learning to run the project in the 2018 / 19 academic year. If your school is interested please do get in touch with the outreach and public engagement team.

02Mar/18

SEPnet Summer Placements 2018 now open for applications!

Over 80 SEPnet summer placements are being advertised to eligible SEPnet students from the beginning of March. The projects offered are varied, challenging and exciting and are already attracting lots of interest from students.

2nd and 3rd (non-final) year physics student at SEPnet partner universities are eligible to apply. Some placements are also open to SEPnet PhD students.

Students should contact their SEPnet Employer Engagement Officer or email summerplacements@sepnet.ac.uk to find out more. Click here for more information.