The GRADnet Induction Day was held on Wednesday, 25 October in London and attended by 120 first year postgraduate students from across SEPnet.
Workshops on LaTeX, MATLAB, Python, IOP Getting your research published and Organising meetings and conferences were run in parallel during the morning and afternoon.
Thank you to our speakers Dr Dave Faux, University of Surrey, Dr Tim Kinnear, University of Kent, Professor Peter McDonald, University of Surrey and GRADnet Director, Simon Harris and Tom Sharpe, Institute of Physics – Publishing and Mrs Kay, Pearson, University of Surrey.
Feedback from delegates was very positive. Comments included:
“It was very good to get someone working in the industry to share their knowledge”
LaTeX: “Worked well doing the exercises in chunks with supplied coding….”
“Very nice and interactive session. I enjoyed group work and the time allocated for the exercises as appropriate. Very useful tips about organising a meeting/conference.”
Delegates were introduced to the forthcoming GRADnet events taking place during this academic year.
SEPnet hopes to run the same event for first year postgraduates in October 2018.
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 hereusing 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.
Call for Abstracts for Student-led Conference 21-23 March 2018: From Micrometres to Megaparsecs
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 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.
Abstract deadline 30 November 2017: Submit your abstract here. Once your abstract has been accepted you will be notified by the conference organiser to register for this conference.
GRADnet is pleased to announce its programme of physics postgraduate researcher training for the next academic year. The programme for the year can be downloaded here: GRADnet Brochure 2017-18 Final
We have developed yet another comprehensive programme for 2017/18 comprising a mix of academic physics workshops and student-led conferences; residential schools with real life industrial content, leadership and professional skills training; targeted professional skills modules and more peer-learning opportunities.
This year, GRADnet is focussing on the following residential workshops in the following research themes of its partner physics departments. For 2017/18 we are offering:
For some of these events we will return to the Old Thorns Manor Hotel which offers impressive leisure facilities in the middle of our region.
For Second Year PGRs
The whole programme kicks off with “Moving Forward for Second Years” training on 18th October in central London. The training day includes the following workshops:
How to write a successful fellowship application
Research data management
Writing better software for research
For First Year PGRs
For the second year running there will be a GRADnet Induction Day on 25th October in central London. The Induction will include a choice of workshops for new PhD students:
Introduction to LaTeX
Python for beginners and more advanced users
Introduction to MATlab
Getting your research published
Organising meetings and conferences
Induction Day 2016
For all PGRs
The Winter School in 2018 at Cumberland Lodge (14-16 February) focuses entirely on the 2003NASA Columbia disaster: a popular case-study element of last year’s school. It takes students through exercises in leadership and team-working, skills rated highly by employers.
The 2018 Summer School at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex (2-5 July) explores suggestions to “What can I do with my PhD?”– this is a mix of employer-led workshops and consultancy challenges.
Who: 2nd Year Physics PhD students. All SEPnet Departments expect all students to attend.
When:18 October 2017, 10.30-16.30
Where: Park Crescent Conference Centre, 229 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 5PN.
Deadline to register is 11 October 2017.
Numbers: This event is strongly recommended by all SEPnet partner Departments. Circa 100 students are expected to attend. Students are to sign up for two workshops on arrival and attend one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
What: A one-day training session, an opportunity to meet fellow researchers from across the network and to participate in two from five short workshops designed to get you started in key areas of activity.
Creating impact: Thinking about how to commercialise your research, or an idea, and turn it into an exploitable product or service? Perhaps you are interested in a career in business or knowing how businesses are created. Would you like to start thinking like an entrepreneur, or as someone that wants to change the world through innovation?
How to write a successful Fellowship Application: This workshop is aimed at those students who are considering an academic career. Most often this starts with a period of postdoctoral study during which the researcher is supported by a Fellowship. The workshop focusses on what is required to prepare a successful research council or similar fellowship application.
Research data management: Research data management is increasingly important in all fields of research. Presented by Research Council and University experts, this workshop asks what is required for good data management and examines some of the common problems and issues that researchers face.
Unconscious Bias: Almost no-one thinks that they are unconsciously biased. Yet white males and many non-white students perform less well in their degrees than white females – it could be due to bias in assessment systems – while females rarely get to the top of their profession – is this bias in the promotion systems? Something is going wrong if we don’t appoint and promote the best person for the job.
Writing better software for research: Whether you have 10 lines of shell script, 100 lines of R, or 10,000 lines of C, the quality of your research, and reproducibility of your results, depends upon the quality of your code. In this course, Mike Jackson from the EPCC (formerly Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre) explores the qualities of good code, discusses blockers, and presents practical tools and techniques that help you to write better code, in less time, and with less effort.
Travel expenses and refreshments are covered by SEPnet.
ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL GRADNET SUMMER SCHOOL AT NPL!!!
The fourth GRADnet Summer school took place on 3-6 July 2017 at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, Middlesex. The school comprised 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 took place on the last day and students worked in teams to create solutions using the skills they have learnt in their PhD.
AN EMPLOYER-LED PROGRAMME: Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Fourth State Medicine; IBM; Magnox; National Physical Laboratory; Oxford Instruments; RBA Acoustics; Things We Don’t Know; Surrey Satellite Technology Limited and WP Thompson.
SPEAKERS: Dr Paul Stevenson, Reader, University of Surrey; Jane Burston, Head of Climate and Environment, NPL and Dr Michael de Podesta, Principal Research Scientist, NPL.
Thank you to NPL staff in particular Richard Burguete and Gill Coggins from the Postgraduate Institute, Dr Julie Reeves, University of Southampton, Dr Laura Christie, Royal Holloway, University of London and Kay Pearson, SEPnet Employer Liaison Officer, University of Surrey and last but not least, Cristobel Soares-Smith, GRADnet Network Administrator for making this such a successful event!
WHAT THE STUDENTS SAID:
“This was a fantastic opportunity to work on a real problem. Getting to talk to a real employer about their project of choice and thinking how to solve this problem was very valuable.”
The most valuable thing they would take away from this year’s summer school was “knowledge and the value of careers outside the PhD. The number of interesting fields is limitless”.
“This has been a very good summer school, pitched at the appropriate level and a good base to meet fellow students!”.
WINNERS OF THE CONSULTANCY CHALLENGE:
Centre for Integrated Photonics (Huawei)
Team 1: William Evans, University of Sussex, Timothy Eales, University of Surrey, Tong Liu, Queen Mary University of London and Erika Cortese, University of Southampton with Michael Roberts, Research and Collaboration Manager, Centre for Integrated Photonics (Huawei).
Fourth State Medicine:
Team 2: Miroslav Mlejnek, University of Sussex, Katie Ley, Laila Gurgi, University of Surrey and Giulio Violino, University of Hertfordshire with Tom Harle, Chief Technology Officer, Fourth State Medicine.
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd:
Team 3: Joseph Allen, University of Surrey, Sam Rowley, James Richings and Azaria Coupe, University of Southampton.
People’s Choice: Nicola Abraham, University of Sussex, Filippo Contenta, Tom Coates, University of Surrey and Kerri Loughney, St Mary’s Twickenham with Peter Shaw, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited.
Congratulations to all the winners!
The Students also had great fun building water rockets after the barbecue:
Photographs from the Summer School are available here:
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!’
The GRADnet Summer School is to take place from the 3rd to 6th July 2017 at the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington. The deadline for registration is June 2nd 2017.
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.
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.
Group Photo from the 2016 GRADnet Summer School at Herstmonceux
Student-led Conference April/March 2018 at a SEPnet Institution to be confirmed
Following very successful events in 2015/6 and 2016/7, GRADnet is once again offering PhD students the opportunity to organise and run two-day residential workshops or mini-conferences on a Physics topic of their choosing. Student organisers will be expected to encourage the active participation of their peers in giving talks and / or poster presentations. In addition organisers will be able to invite external speakers to attend should they wish.
We anticipate that three workshops on different topics will be organised in the following areas:
astrophysics / astronomy
particle / nuclear physics
condensed matter / atomic physics
or any other area of physics with sufficient critical mass across the SEPnet partners to run a successful workshop.
Moreover inter-disciplinary bids on themes merging any of the above physics areas are also welcome.
A budget of up to £4500 will be available to each workshop that can be used to:
Support the attendance (travel, accommodation and food) of SEPnet students (15-30)
Invite and support the participation of high profile presenters
Cover any other reasonable expenses.
The three selected workshops will run in parallel on dates in April/March (to be confirmed) sharing, catering and residential facilities at a SEPnet Institution.
There will be an introductory session targeted at those considering making a bid for a conference via video conference on Tuesday, 23rd May 2017 at 11-12. The purpose of this session will be to:
Explain details of the scheme in greater depth;
Offer students the opportunity to ask questions;
Offer students potentially interested in organising a workshop the opportunity to network and develop their workshop ideas.