Category Archives: postgraduate

30Aug/16

GRADnet VRE – Make sure your account is working

With the start of the new academic year upon us and the GRADnet training programme being launched for the coming year, we must ensure that all PGR students in SEPnet have ensured they have functioning logins for the GRADnet Virtual Research Environment.Your login (also called an OUCU) is of the form AB12345 where AB is normally your two initials.

It is vital that all students are able to login to the VRE and regularly check it for information and enrolment on GRADnet offerings. We have implemented a system for enrolling on GRADnet offerings via the VRE and for most offerings enrolment will only be possible via the VRE.

This same system on the VRE allows you to find and search for courses, workshops, residential schools etc that you may be interested in attending or required to attend. It is important that you are able to access it and to ensure you are able to use it. These can be found under the Training tab when logged onto the VRE and the GRADnet Event Catalogue and Registrations entry on that page.

The VRE is accessible via www.sepnet.ac.uk/vre . It can also be found via the SEPnet website (www.sepnet.ac.uk) under the “SEPnet Graduate Network” menu: SEPnet Graduate Network -> GRADnet’s Virtual Research Environment.

A set of FAQs concerning the VRE and how to register or reset accounts are available here.

For:

  • New Students (or unregistered current students): you will need to register and can do so on www.sepnet.ac.uk/vre At busy times this process may take up to 5 days, if you have not received account details within 5 days please contact your local GRADnet administration contact.
    • Herts: Kathy Head
    • Kent: Helen West
    • The OU: Georgina Ayre
    • Portsmouth: Emma Bain
    • QMUL: Karen Wilkinson
    • RHUL: Carmella Froggatt
    • Southampton: Ceris French
    • Surrey: Joanna Moore
    • Sussex: Rebecca Foster
  • If you have an existing account but have forgotten the password you can reset your password by calling the OU’s Student Computing and Distribution Helpdesk on 01908 653972 and ask for your “visitor SAMS password” to be reset. You will need to know your username (OUCU) and may be asked to confirm your date of birth. If you are unable to call the helpdesk then you can email ou-scdhd@open.ac.uk but please note that it can take longer to reset your password by email. DO NOT use the “password reset” link on the OU sign on screen. 
  • If you have forgotten your username (OUCU) then please contact the GRADnet administrator at your university. Before doing so please check historical emails and other sources that may include your OUCU.
  • Expired access: in some instances it is possible that access has expired (depending on when the account was created and last accessed). If you are using your username and password and unable to log in or not seeing what you expect then you should email vre-webmaster@open.ac.uk  to investigate. This process will always take longer to investigate than a password reset so if there is any chance that you are using the wrong password then you should take the password reset option first.
  • Non-SEPnet accounts: some students have created accounts from the main OU website. If this is the case then you won’t have a username made up of your initials followed by some numbers. Depending on the information that you provide it can take a while to get to investigate these so it would be important to include this in any communication so that you can be instructed to register using the SEPnet VRE registration.

Having validated that your account works and that you can sign in, please ensure that you keep your account information with you so that it does not become necessary to reset the passwords because of infrequent use. Web-browsers often enable the automatic storage of passwords and account details and help make logging in much easier but you may find this gets lost in some circumstances.

As we anticipate that the new cohort of students joining this term will be registering for the VRE over the next few weeks we would urge you to act now.

15Aug/16

GRADnet 2016/17 Training Programme announced

Outline of 2016-17 Training Programme

GRADnet is pleased to announce its programme of Physics PGR training for the coming academic year. We have developed our biggest programme yet for 2016/17 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 more strongly on residential workshops in the big research themes of its partner Physics Departments. For 2016/17 we are offering:

For some of these events we will return to the Old Thorns Country Club which offers impressive facilities in the middle of our region. Others will be held at NPL.

 

Teamwork: the marshmallow challenge at the 2016 GRADnet Winter School

Teamwork: the marshmallow challenge at the 2016 GRADnet Winter School

For First Year PGRs

The whole programme kicks off with an Induction Day on 26th October in central London. New this year, Induction  will include a choice of workshops for new PhD students:

  • Introduction to LaTeX
  • Introduction to Python
  • Introduction to MATlab
  • Getting your research published and
  • Organising meetings and conferences.

For all PGRS

The Winter School in 2017 (Feb  13-15) focuses entirely on the 2003 NASA 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 2017 Summer School (July 3-6) follows the established pattern of  “What can I do with my PhD?”– a mix of employer workshops and consultancy challenges. In 2017 it will be hosted once more by NPL.

There will be a Student led conference covering Astronomy and Scanning Probe Microscopy Techniques at the University of Southampton on March 30-31 2017; a Professional Skills Day on May 18th; a module on Public Engagement on February 21st; and Effective Researcher, kicking it off, on Nov 1st and  29th 2016.

The programme for the year can be downloaded here: GRADnet Brochure 2016-17 Final

For more information on these course and to register, logon to the GRADnet VRE.

08Jul/16
2016 Summer School

SEPnet Physics PGRs invade Herstmonceux Castle

“Where might my Physics Take me?” – GRADnet 2016 Summer School – Herstmonceux

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The Observatory Science Centre, formerly the Royal Greenwich Observatory

During the week of 4th July 2016, nearly 50 SEPnet Physics PGRs from around the region attended the GRADnet 2106 Summer School. This was the fifth of our series of residential schools in the GRADnet programme and it was held in the historic setting of Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex.  The castle is of 15th Century origin and is located by the former Royal Greenwich Observatory, now a public Science Centre.

The purpose of the GRADnet residential schools is to give Physics Postgraduate Researchers in the SEPnet region the opportunity to experience opportunities and challenges outside of academia. They give them the chance to interact with employers from leading organisations through interactive workshops, presentations and poster sessions. They explore how the skills developed by Physics PGRs can be applied to solve problems encountered in the commercial world.

The programme consisted of the “Consultancy Challenge”, a competition where students take on the role of consultants to propose solutions to problems encountered by companies. Amec Foster Wheeler, Chomko & Rosier, Observatory Science Centre, and InSync Technology presented the students with a set of problems they need help solving, and the students formed teams to propose solutions. The posters with their solutions from the teams are here.

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Dr Becky Parker

There were modules on Public Engagement, led by Rowena Fletcher-Wood of Things We Don’t Know, followed  by a “Pub Quiz” to push the problem solving skills to the limit and think about how to communicate science in new ways. The next day Dr Becky Parker, Director of the Institute for Research in Schools, gave a stimulating talk on how Physics researchers could work with schools to engage them in their research, to inspire school students to become involved in cutting edge research.

 

Workshops from Airbus, NPL, CAST, AkzoNobel, the Met Office, and MR Solutions gave insights into challenges faced in the commercial world and how Physics skills can be applied to address them.

Dr Julian Potter of JW Thompson

Dr Julian Potter of JW Thompson

Key topics covered by other speakers included Intellectual Property by Julian Potter of JW Thompson, and Ethics in Research by Paul Stephenson of the University of Surrey, explored via case studies of ethical issues researchers are likely to encounter.

All in all, a packed programme that our students thoroughly enjoyed and valued.

Prizes for Posters and the Consultancy Challenge

Research Posters:

  • 1st:  Sarah Bentley, University of Reading
  • 2nd:  Lotfi Achiri, University of Surrey
  • Joint 3rd:  Andrew Lawson, University of Southampton and Tomas Navickas, University of Sussex
Sarah Bentley, Winner

Sarah Bentley, Winner

Lotfi Achiri, Runner Up

Lotfi Achiri, Runner Up

Andrew Lawson and Tomas Navickas, joint 3rd

Andrew Lawson and Tomas Navickas, joint 3rd

Consultancy Challenges:

Amec Foster Wheeler:

Team Green 1

  • Gemma Chapman, University of Surrey
  • Michael Everson, University of Kent
  • Heather McAslan, University of Sussex
  • Shaun Read, University of Hertfordshire
Chomko & Rosier:

Team Blue 2:

  • Chris Hayes, University of Hertfordshire
  • Tom Vaughan, Royal Holloway University of London
  • Oliver Winston, University of Sussex
  • Tingting Zhang, Queen Mary University of London
InSync Technology:

Team Red 1:

  • Andrea Fortini, University of Surrey
  • Anthony Preston, University of Southampton
  • Gabriel Secheli, University of Surrey
Observatory Science Centre:

Team Yellow 1:

  • Jesus Rubio-Jimenez, University of Sussex
  • Sarah Bentley, University of Reading
  • Ryan Perera, University of Surrey
People’s Choice:

Team Red 3:

  • Tugba Buyukbese, University of Sussex
  • Ryan Cheale, University of Hertfordshire
  • James Kneller, Queen Mary University of London
  • Tom Peach, University of Surrey 

 

 

Photographs of the week are available below:

 

01Jul/16

Southampton Quantum Light and Matter Summer School

For GRADnet Postgraduate Research Students

Southampton Quantum Light and matter PGR students are holding a Summer School in Winchester on August 30 – September 1st. In the interests of encouraging greater collaboration within SEPnet we have agreed to fund upto 10 PGRs from other SEPnet partners to participate, including their reasonable travel cost. If the numbers are oversubscribed we will work with the organisers to ensure a reasonable distribution across the SEPnet members and sub-disciplines, otherwise places will be filled  first come first served. The deadline for registration has been extended to Friday August 5th 2016.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Professor Mark Fox, The University of Sheffield
  • Professor Marika Taylor, University of Southampton
  • Professor Ifan Hughes,  Durham University
  • Professor Shinichi Saito, University of Southampton

Visit www.qlmsummerschool.co.uk to register

02Mar/16

GRADnet Strong Correlations Workshop 17-19 April 2016

Date:  17-19 April 2016 (arrival at 12:00 on Sunday afternoon)

Venue and Accommodation:  Old Thorns Manor Hotel, Longmoor Rd, Griggs Green, Liphook, Hampshire GU30 7PE. For directions see here. All accommodation and meals are prepaid and covered by SEPnet.  Reasonable travel expenses will be covered by SEPnet and can be claimed through your GRADnet Administrator at your institution.

To register: here , deadline Friday, 26 March 2016 (Logon to the VRE first)

No two researchers would ever completely agree on the definition of a strongly correlated system; however they may very roughly be described as materials where the correlations between electrons induced by interactions make the behaviour of the material `interesting’.

This interactive two-and-a-half day residential workshop is designed for PhD students who would benefit from learning more about this subject. The course will consist of three short lecture courses of three lectures each, covering both the theoretical concepts necessary to understand strongly correlated systems, as well as how one would probe them experimentally. The course will be self-contained, assuming only a knowledge of quantum mechanics and undergraduate level solid state physics. It should therefore be beneficial to students working on both theoretical and/or experimental projects.

In addition to the lectures, the workshop will have tutorials with question sheets relating to the lectures, which is also an opportunity to ask many questions and continue further discussions with all of the lecturers. There will also be a poster session, some evening seminars, and a skills session focussing on scientific communication.

For any more information, please contact Sam Carr (s.t.carr@kent.ac.uk).

Lecture Courses:

1. The unstable Fermi Gas — Jorge Quintanilla (Kent)
This course will introduce the concepts and formalism central to many body physics, covering topics such as second quantisation, the Fermi liquid, mean field theories, and correlations.

2. Non-Fermi liquids — Anna Posazhennikova (RHUL)
This course will continue on from the first, and demonstrate some of the fascinating states that may occur when Fermi-liquid theory breaks down but without forming an ordered state; examples include the Kondo-effect, quantum criticality, and heavy Fermion materials.

3. Probes of Condensed Matter — Silvia Ramos (Kent)
This course will cover a few of the common techniques used to experimentally probe condensed matter systems; and show how these techniques reveal the correlations and other theoretical aspects discussed in the other two courses.

This workshop contributes 10 hours towards physics skills training.

The full agenda is here: 2016 GRADnet Strongly Correlated Workshop Timetable

24Feb/16

Supersymmetry – theory and phenomenology Lectures at the University of Sussex, on April 12, 2016 – Register Now!

Sent on behalf of Iacopo Vivarelli, University of Sussex

We are thankful to SEPnet for sponsoring an afternoon of lectures about Supersymmetry (theory and experiment), at the University of Sussex, on April 12, 2016. This training event takes place the day before the three-day ATLAS SUSY workshop. While the ATLAS workshop is restricted to members of the ATLAS Collaborations only, the lectures are open also to non-ATLAS participants. Attendance by SEPnet students is encouraged particularly.

We foresee two lectures, one by Sebastian Jäger (University of Sussex), and one by Tommaso Lari (INFN and University Milano). Sebastian is a well-known theorist with a strong track record in heavy-flavour and BSM physics, while Tommaso is an experimentalist and one of the ATLAS SUSY Working Group conveners.

The event will start at 13:30 and is expected to last about four hours, including breaks. The level of the lectures will suit early PhD or advanced Master’s students. There is no registration fee for this event. Travel expenses will be covered for students with a SEPnet affiliation.

The indico entry for the event is https://indico.cern.ch/event/496750/

 

 

13Feb/16

GRADnet Winter School held 8th to 10th February

The GRADnet Winter School took place on the 8-10 February 2016 at the Discovery Park in Sandwich, Kent for 24 SEPnet postgraduate researchers to build their leadership potential

Alan Beesley, Director of Sensors Engineering, Selex Electronic Systems opened the first day with a talk on leadership and management from a personal perspective. In the afternoon Dr Julie Reeves, University of Southampton, presented the Belbin Inventory where delegates looked into their preferred team roles and how they were perceived by others.

Laura Herbert and Ben Norton, HR, Thales Group, began the second day with an insight into leadership and team working in industry followed by an assessment centre style challenge which delegates found very useful. One delegate described this task as “awesome”!

Trevor Long, University of Reading gave a presentation on the nature of leadership and looked at the key attributes of effective leaders. This was followed by an activity looking at the real life multi-media case simulation, exploring a wide range of leadership and team issues during the Columbia Space Shuttle mission. Delegates were immersed in the actual events that unfolded in NASA during the ill-fated mission and experienced the complex interplay of individual, team and cultural dynamics.

DSC00190There was time to relax at the Penny Theatre in Canterbury with supper and a physics quiz on Monday evening!

 

 

 

The Marshmallow Challenge proved to be entertaining. This was a simple team-building exercise where delegates had to build the tallest free-standing structure with 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow in 18 minutes. The Marshmallow Challenge is a fun and instructive design exercise that encourages teams to experience simple but profound lessons in collaboration, innovation and creativity.

image


02Feb/16

Forthcoming GRADnet events in 2016

The forthcoming GRADnet events are scheduled in April to July 2016:

  • Strong Correlations Workshop: 17-19 April 2016 (Arrival Sunday 12:30) at Old Thorns Manor Hotel, Longmoor Rd, Griggs Green, Liphook, Hampshire GU30 7PE. Register here , deadline Friday, 26 March 2016

No two researchers would ever completely agree on the definition of a strongly correlated system; however they may very roughly be described as materials where the correlations between ectrons induced by interactions make the behaviour of the material `interesting’. This interactive two-and-a-half day residential workshop is designed for PhD students who would benefit from learning more about this subject. The course will consist of three short lecture courses of three lectures each, covering both the theoretical concepts necessary to understand strongly correlated systems, as well as how one would probe them experimentally. The course will be self-contained, assuming only a knowledge of quantum mechanics and undergraduate level solid state physics. It should therefore be beneficial to students working on both theoretical and/or experimental projects.

  • Opportunities, CV, Interview 27 May 2016: Friday, 27 May 2016, 0930-1700 at the Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BQ.

Register here. Registration deadline: 20 May 2016

There are a huge number of opportunities out there for those graduating with a Physics PhD; however, finding these opportunities and then applying for them can be daunting. This day is designed for final year doctorates in order to support you in finding and landing a fantastic job after you graduate.  In this workshop, we will explore different career choices available and discuss how you know what is ‘right’ for you.  We will help you learn to tailor your CV to specific jobs, increasing your chances of getting an interview.  In the afternoon, we will hold a CV clinic during which you will receive individual feedback and suggestions on your CV from people who are involved in evaluating CVs professionally. There will also be a panel discussion on interviews, providing you with insight into the interviewer’s point of view and giving you a chance to ask all of your burning questions.  This will be an interactive day in which you explore what you want out of your career and how to get there!

  • Connecting Industry and Researchers in Physics, Thursday, 9 June 2016, University of Surrey, Guildford 

Free regional networking event for PGRs and academics to meet regional small and medium-sized employers (SMEs). This is an opportunity to share your research and find out about future joint working; Develop employer contacts and business ideas;
Find out about work experience and mentoring opportunities; Develop your networking and communication skills.
Panel Members include: David Banks, Director, InSync Technology; Oly Dewhurst, physics graduate at QinetiQ; Iain Duncan, Founder, Mousetrap Innovation Ltd; Kathryn Graham, Missions and Systems Team Leader, SSTL and Peter Lancaster, Knowledge Exchange Manager, University of Surrey

You can register here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/connecting-industry-and-researchers-in-physics-thursday-9-june-2016-registration-21771632539

  • This year’s GRADnet Summer School will focus on where your physics might take you. Date:  4-7 July 2016,  09:30-17:00

Venue and Accommodation: Herstmonceux Castle, Herstmonceux, Wartling Road Entrance, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 1RN.  For directions see here.

Register here.  (logon to the VRE first) Registration deadline Friday, 3 June.  All accommodation, meals and reasonable travel expenses are covered by SEPnet.

The summer school will provide you with an exciting opportunity to interact with employers from leading companies through interactive workshops, presentations and poster sessions.   By the end of this summer school you will have expanded your skills and have the ability to apply them more broadly.  You will also develop your analytical, problem-solving skills, and your ability to present persuasively to a diverse audience.  These are skills that will help you succeed in your doctoral research and your viva, as well as in interviews and future employment.

The GRADnet Summer School is open to all Physics postgraduate research students across the nine partner institutions of SEPnet.  Approximately 5 places per institution are available but priority will be given to final year students in the event it is over subscribed.

To register for the above events please log onto the VRE. If you do not have a VRE login then you will need to request one at www.sepnet.ac.uk/vre. These events can be found under the Training tab and the Events Catalogue and Registrations page.

22Jan/16

EU Marie Curie PhD positions

This is to announce eleven PhD positions financed by the EU; first application deadline is next February15th 2016.

Eleven PhD positions are now being offered by the new Horizon2020 (H2020) Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) “Elusives”, www.elusives.eu (expected to finalize all confirmation procedures in January). The recruited Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) will work on Neutrino, Dark Matter and/or BSM physics; most of the positions are to work on theory/phenomenology, but for a few positions dedicated to experimental physics. Applications are now open for PhD studies in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and UK, with starting dates around the fall 2016.

Could you please forward the announcement below to your network? This is urgent, as the first deadline for applications is 15 February 2016.Further application deadlines will be March 30th and May 30th, if positions are still available.

Thank you very much for your help.

On behalf of Belen Gavela, Coordinator of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN “Elusives” (www.elusives.eu),

Tiina Timonen

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

PhD research on Neutrino, Dark Matter and/or BSM physics. Eleven positions, first application deadline is next February 15th 2016.

The Horizon2020 (H2020) Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) “Elusives”  www.elusives.eu(expected to finalise all confirmation procedures in January) is offering PhD positions in Neutrino, Dark Matter and/or BSM physics research, with starting dates around the fall 2016.

Eleven positions are open to application now, in Univ. of Montpellier (CNRS, France), Heidelberg Univ. (Germany), Göttingen Univ. (Germany), Karsruhe Institute of Techonology (Germany), Univ. of Milano-Bicocca (Italy), Univ. Autonoma de Madrid (Spain), Univ. of Barcelona (Spain), Univ. of Valencia/IFIC (Spain), Univ. of Zurich (Switzerland), Univ. of Durham (UK) and Univ. Southampton (UK). Most of the positions are to work on theory/phenomenology, but for a few positions dedicated to experimental physics.

The gross salary is about 3,110 EUR per month; complemented by additional 600 EUR per month corresponding to mobility allowance. Also possibly a family allowance of 500 EUR per month may be paid.

The first deadline for applications is 15 February 2016. Further application deadlines will be March 30th and May 30th 2016, if positions are still available; nevertheless, the positions may be filled at any moment. All applications should be made through the web page www.elusives.eu.

Women and social minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.

On behalf of Belen Gavela, Coordinator of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN “Elusives”,

Tiina Timonen

08Jan/16

GRADnet events in January 2016

Please note that due to low uptake the following courses have unfortunately been cancelled:

  • Working with Workshops: 11 January
  • Algebraic Computing:  15 January 2016
  • Writing Retreat: 23 January 2016

 

Registration is still open for the following:

Videoconference Courses in 2016:

Stats I: 18 January 2016, 10:00-12:00:  Physical Room at the Open University the Library,  Virtual Room: SEPnet 9 Meeting No:  55999925

Stats II: 25 January 2016, 11:00-12:00:  Physical Room at the Open University the Library,  Virtual Room: SEPnet 9 Meeting No:  55999925