Category Archives: Employer Engagement

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:

16Dec/16

SEPnet Summer Placements 2017 – Do you have a project/work experience for a physics undergraduate or PhD?

SEPnet SUMMER PLACEMENTS 2017

SEPnet is seeking 8-12 week placement projects in industry or research in areas such as data analysis, mathematic modelling, product design and testing or science communication.

WHO CAN APPLY?
The scheme is aimed at any organisations interested in recruiting physics graduates or who can offer valuable business experience including large companies, SMEs, start-ups, research institutions, charities and NGOs.

BENEFITS TO EMPLOYERS
• Early access to bright, numerate students with excellent problem-solving and IT skills
• Enables you to carry out projects you would not normally have time for
• Provides a fresh perspective on your business challenges
• All advertising, administration and placement support is handled by SEPnet
• Some funding available for SMEs.

Employers who participate in the scheme include AWE, BAE Systems, CCFE, Good Energy, Leonardo, Met Office, NPL, QinetiQ, STFC and many SMEs.

Register your placement project, or projects, online by Friday 10 February
For more information visit www.sepnet.ac.uk/students-employers/information-for-employers/

Email summerplacements@sepnet.ac.uk.

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25Nov/16

The SEPnet Annual Students’ Expo goes from strength to strength

150 SEPnet students, employers and academic staff celebrated the achievements of 80 summer placement students at the annual Student Expo at RSA House in London.

Sarah Medley of Culham Centre for Fusion Energy gave an engaging and informative talk about working at Culham, the range of opportunities for physicists and her own exciting career path. Dr Frances Saunders provided an inspiring keynote address about her varied and illustrious career offering valuable advice for students about the importance of finding work you feel passionate about.

The students’ presentations and posters get better and better each year. This year’s winners of the best posters were:

Ashley Morahan, University of Southampton at Adaptix
Luna Borella, Royal Holloway at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy
Gavin Sandison, University of Surrey at Fourth State Medicine
Anastasia Manu, University of Southampton at National Physical Laboratory
Curtis Hentschel, University of Surrey at Photonics Technologies
Abbie Bray, Queen Mary University at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

SE16-9595s SE16-9601s SE16-9603s
SE16-9609s SE16-9613s SE16-9617s

 

The Institute of Physics sponsored the 6 prizes. Each winner a signed copy of the brand new book ‘Aliens’ edited by Jim Al-Khalili and a copy of his co-authored book ‘Nucleus: a trip into the heart of matter’ (the only coffee table glossy hardback on nuclear physics in the world!)

You can view photos from the event on Google+: https://plus.google.com/collection/kTopME

SE16-7990s SE16-8966s


14Nov/16

SEPnet organises its 8th annual Students’ Expo on 23rd November at RSA House in London

The annual Students’ Expo provides an excellent opportunity for students to showcase their work through presentations and posters to over 150 employers, academic tutors and peers in a prestigious London venue.

The scheme grows from strength to strength. This year 85 students were successful in finding industry and research placements with a range of large and small companies and research organisations.

Students will exhibit their poster and give a one-minute presentation about their project. Prizes will be awarded for the best posters.

This year’s keynote address will be delivered by Dr Frances Saunders, former IOP President and Chief Executive of Dstl.

Students have the opportunity to network with employers and explore job prospects with recruiters.

For more information about SEPnet’s summer placement scheme email summerplacements@sepnet.ac.uk

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31Oct/16

Connecting Industry and Researchers in Physics at University of Hertfordshire

Connecting Industry and Researchers in Physics – SEPnet’s physics PhDs and employers came together for a lively networking evening at University of Hertfordshire on 19 October.

Herts 1 Key employers AWE, Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, GlaxoSmithKline, Leonardo, Royal Marsden, Ultra Electronics and others met physics postgraduates and postdocs to talk about what they can offer industry. Students also met data science experts, Pivigo, and Oscar winners, Framestore, in a structured networking session which raised their awareness of how their research can be applied in a wide range of industries. 

 Asked what students gained from the evening, comments included: ‘that my very narrow field links to the wider world’, ‘how my astrophysics research translates into useful transferable skills for industry application’, ‘I met some really interesting (and hopefully useful) people’.

 Our next event will be in May at University of Sussex.  For more details email gradnetadmin@sepnet.ac.uk

10Oct/16

Connecting Industry and Researchers in Physics – A SEPnet Event – Wednesday 19 October 2016 – 17.00-20.00, University of Hertfordshire

Connecting Industry and Researchers in Physics,

Wednesday, 19 October 2016, University of Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire Sports Village, Hatfield.

SEPnet’s Graduate Network (GRADnet) is organising its 6th networking evening to facilitate greater collaboration and links between industry and physics postgraduate research students (PGRs) and researchers.

Who should attend

  • SEPnet PGR students who want to meet businesses and employers from physics-related industries to find out about career opportunities, make contacts and explore research and business ideas.
  • SEPnet partner researchers who want to build links with industry to explore how their research can create impact.
  • Businesses and employers in physics-related industries interested in recruiting physics graduates.

During the evening

  • Hear from panellists including representatives from Culham, Lein Applied Diagnostics, Leonardo, Ultra Electronics, Royal Marsden, Pivigo and GSK talk about the benefits of knowledge exchange and what physics postgraduates and postdocs can offer industry
  • Participate in a speed networking session
  • Build ongoing relationships between industry and researchers through placements, mentoring or research collaboration
  • Find out about work experience and mentoring opportunities;
  • Develop your networking and communication skills.
  • Refreshments will be provided.

How to register    This event is FREE to attend.  Places are limited so please book early by clicking on the following link:http://bit.ly/1R9GsmA.  (PGR students are requested to attend a networking workshop at 16.00). Registration deadline: 14/10/2016

Banners    If you would like to bring a banner for display let us know and we will reserve you a space.

For enquiries, contact gradnetadmin@sepnet.ac.uk

THIS EVENT IS SUPPORTED BY THE INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS

31Aug/16

Connecting Industry and Researchers in Physics – A SEPnet Event – Wednesday 19 October 2016 – 17.00-20.00, University of Hertfordshire

Connecting Industry and Researchers in Physics,

Wednesday, 19 October 2016, University of Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire Sports Village, Hatfield.

SEPnet’s Graduate Network (GRADnet) is organising its 6th networking evening to facilitate greater collaboration and links between industry and physics postgraduate research students (PGRs) and researchers.

Who should attend

  • SEPnet PGR students who want to meet businesses and employers from physics-related industries to find out about career opportunities, make contacts and explore research and business ideas.
  • SEPnet partner researchers who want to build links with industry to explore how their research can create impact.
  • Businesses and employers in physics-related industries interested in recruiting physics graduates.

During the evening

  • Hear from panellists about the benefits of knowledge exchange and what physics postgraduates and postdocs can offer industry
  • Participate in a speed networking session
  • Build ongoing relationships between industry and researchers through placements, mentoring or research collaboration
  • Find out about work experience and mentoring opportunities;
  • Develop your networking and communication skills.
  • Refreshments will be provided.

How to register    This event is FREE to attend.  Places are limited so please book early by clicking on the following link:http://bit.ly/1R9GsmA.  (PGR students are requested to attend a networking workshop at 16.00). Registration deadline: 14/10/2016

Banners    If you would like to bring a banner for display let us know and we will reserve you a space.

For enquiries, contact gradnetadmin@sepnet.ac.uk

THIS EVENT IS SUPPORTED BY THE INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS

 

 

27Jul/16

Open University hosts its first SEPnet Careers Information Fair

Open University hosts its first SEPnet Careers Information Fair for Physics Undergraduates and PhD Students

At the end of June, The Open University hosted a Careers Information Fair for Physics students. Seema Shoor, responsible for employer engagement, organised the fair to enable undergraduates and postgraduate researchers to meet a range of employers face to face (a rare and valuable opportunity for distance learners) to identify potential career options. Key employers of physics graduates attended including Network Rail, Airbus, E2v, IoP, STFC, Home Office, Leonardo (formerly Selex ES) and QinetiQ.

Over 50 students attended and the feedback from employers and students alike was very positive.  Students valued the informal atmosphere: one commented ‘I found it very useful to speak with potential employers and didn’t find the experience too daunting’ (undergraduate student).   Employers commented on students’ enthusiasm and the quality of the conversations with one stating,  ‘I feel that the majority of the students were very willing and open to engage in conversation over their studies and where they wish to progress after their completion of their course. A few of them had read up on the company prior to the event and so they had an idea of who we were and what we could offer them’. (large corporate).

 

14Jul/16

GRADnet Entrepreneurship Challenge – Winners announced

Our dynamic modern world presents interesting and exciting opportunities for those who want to get involved and add value to the economy and society. Entrepreneurship is a key and Research Councils encourage PhD students to have a better understanding of its role in value creation and the role of innovation in fostering it. Earlier this year, GRADnet launched its Entrepreneurship in Action Challenge tailored for Physics PGRs in SEPnet to get involved. Elaine Hickmott of EH-Enterprises developed the programme especially for GRADnet.

As  part of the Challenge, SEPnet institutions were invited to form teams of PGR researchers to compete to be the most entrepreneurial physics department in SEPnet. Teams were formed from Kent, Portsmouth, QMUL, Southampton, Surrey, and  Sussex.

In the six months since the teams formed they have undertaken an exciting, and sometimes gruelling, journey to develop their ideas into marketable proposals. Unfortunately along the way, some teams dropped out due to research commitments. However they gained valuable experience from the intensive training provided.

The teams from across the network gathered on 13 July to present their business ideas to a panel industry judges.  Neil Phillipson of Outsideology, Simon Bland of Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and Phil Edwards of Weald Technology were all impressed by the quality, credibility and potential of the ideas being showcased.  They commented that it was impressive to see physics PhD students applying their skills to challenges and scenarios outside of their normal environment.  They agreed that the creative thinking and entrepreneurial mindset demonstrated by the teams would be an asset to any industry or organisation.

The teams were from Portsmouth (Daniel Goddard and Ben Mawdsley, who sent a video of their project), Southampton (Azaria Coupe, Anthony Preston, Andrew Lawson, and Marc Scott), and two teams from Surrey (Ralitsa Ilieva and Gemma Chapman; Bob Simmons and Louise Dummot).

 

Winning Team from Southampton. Azaria Coupe was unable to be present.

Winning Team from Southampton. Azaria Coupe was unable to be present.

The winning team came from the University of Southampton and they are looking forward to spending their cash prize.  The achievements of all the teams were celebrated at the follow-on networking event which brought together the students and local entrepreneurial businesses.Azaria Coupe, who led the winning team, has written an article on her blog.

All the teams thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, having learnt a lot about innovation, business and themselves.

 


16Jun/16

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.