Category Archives: Employer Engagement

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

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.

01Dec/17

Another successful SEPnet Students’ Expo

This week the annual Students’ Expo in London provided an opportunity for summer placement students to showcase their projects while on placement through presentations and posters to over 160 employers, academics and fellow students. This year 91 students were successful in finding summer industry and research placements through SEPnet.

The event included morning and afternoon student presentations and poster sessions. Charlotte Lister, our morning speaker, talked about her career journey from SEPnet summer placement student to physics graduate to project manager at Ultra Electronics (through networking at a previous SEPnet Expo!). Students were able to network with employers and exhibitors throughout the day to discuss potential career and job opportunities.

The standard of the presentations and posters gets better every year.  As one employer put it, ‘I thought all the students were really talented and had worked on such a wide range of fascinating projects’.

This year’s keynote address was delivered by Paul Ettinger, physics graduate and Co-founder of Caffe Nero.  Paul gave an inspiring account of his diverse and entrepreneurial achievements in a talk entitled ‘The Physics of Coffee and Music’.

Congratulations to this year’s 6 poster prize winners – Alex Hunter of Queen Mary whose placement was with Black Swan; Madalina Mironiuc of Southampton (Colour Holographic); Stephanie Bennett of Royal Holloway (NPL); Grace Maxted of Kent (Tesla Engineering); Toyah Overton of Royal Holloway (University of Southampton) and Sholto Bateson of Sussex (eOsphere).  Each won a copy of Jon Butterworth’s ‘A Map of the Invisible’ sponsored by the Institute of Physics.

Alex Hunter

Madalina Mironiuc

Sholto Bateson

Stephanie Bennett

Grace  Maxted

Toyah Overton

 

 

 

24Nov/17

SEPnet’s annual Expo will celebrate students’ placement success

The annual Students’ Expo takes place on 29 November in London and provides an opportunity for students to showcase their placement projects through presentations and posters to over 150 employers, academic tutors and peers.

This year 91 students from across the SEPnet universities were successful in finding industry and research placements and will present their posters at the Expo.

The event includes morning and afternoon presentations and poster sessions and provides a great opportunity for employers, academics and physics students to network and discuss placements, jobs and collaboration. Prizes, sponsored by Institute of Physics, are offered for the best posters.

This year’s keynote address will be delivered by Paul Ettinger – a physics graduate now entrepreneur and Co-founder of Caffe Nero.

29Sep/17

IOP/SEPnet Joint Career Panel Event for PGRs

Wednesday 8 November 2017, 16:30-20:30 Hallam Conference Centre, London W1

A special joint IOP SEPnet careers event for early career researchers to help, inspire and motivate you to explore the careers options open to you in a welcoming and friendly environment.

You will meet a panel of physics PhD graduates pursuing careers in diverse areas in and outside academia.

Organisations include Adaptix; Diamond Light Source; IBM; Institute for Cosmology & Gravitation, University of Portsmouth; MP Capital; National Physical Laboratory; STFC ; Rutherford Appleton Laboratory; Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd; UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and WP Thompson.

Vishanti Fox, IOP Careers and CPD Manager, will offer advice on CV writing.

Places are limited. This event is free to attend.

Travel expenses will be reimbursed by SEPnet through GRADnet PGR Administrators.
Register at http://bit.ly/2wFp084

03Jul/17

SEPnet students learn what it really means to be an entrepreneur!

SEPnet students recently came together to participate in two days of intensive entrepreneurship training as part of our annual GRADnet Enterprising Ideas competition.

Elaine Hickmott, who developed the programme, explains how ‘by mixing the problem-solving and analytical skills developed as a physicist with an understanding of business and industry’, graduates can truly position themselves for success. She adds ‘this may translate into the ability to secure more funding as an academic, being the best physicist you can be, starting your own company or building a rewarding industrial career.’

Ricky D’Costa, a physics student at Surrey, shared his views about the training: ‘I have learnt that being an entrepreneur is not always about financial profit. People can become social entrepreneurs to help society and, whatever profit they make, they can use it to develop their business further. I have learnt to think from other people’s perspective – how they feel, think and process information. If ideas are criticised too early, people might be discouraged from sharing their thoughts. The most important aspect for me was understanding the four stages of innovation: Dreamer, Realist, Critic and Implementer. I am now keen to take my business idea further!’

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:

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

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: