Category Archives: Uncategorized

22Mar/17

Hightlighting Excellence in Nuclear Skills

The Nuclear Industry held its ninth annual UK Nuclear Skills Awards on the 16th March.  During the evening the nuclear stars of the present and future were announced including a former SEPnet postgraduate researcher, Dr Michael Hodgson.

The new award for Postgraduate Student of the Year, sponsored by NSSG, was awarded to Michael Hodgson from Centronic. Michael completed a PhD in Detector Physics at the University of Surrey and currently works as a Design & Development Engineer.

The awards, organised by The National Skills Academy for Nuclear (NSAN) and Cogent Skills, was hosted by the lead singer of Iron Maiden, pilot and entrepreneur Bruce Dickinson. The event brought the nuclear industry together to celebrate the success and high achievement of learners nominated for awards in Apprentice, Foundation Degree/HND and Graduate disciplines.

The Main Sponsor on the evening was NuGen. NuGen is a UK nuclear joint venture between Toshiba and ENGIE.  NuGen’s Moorside project aims to develop a new generation nuclear power station on land in West Cumbria enough to power 6 million homes and equivalent to 7 per cent of the UK’s electricity requirements.

Above (L-R) John Male – NSSG, Michael Hodgson, Dr McKeag – Centronic and Bruce Dickinson

14Mar/17
Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre

Winner of SEPnet video competition to Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre describes his life-changing experience

Star City Trip – February 2017

A few weeks ago I got the chance to fulfil a childhood dream of mine, to train as an astronaut alongside the NASA and Roscosmos men and women in the famous Star City training complex. It was a once in a lifetime experience very few have had the privilege to do.

I started my journey retracing the path of old Russian cosmonauts beginning their journey in Moscow, beginning with a visit to the Kremlin and Red Square, the scene of Yuri Gagarin’s celebratory parade from his great return from space in 1961.  I lived in the site’s dorms with our very own British born NASA astronaut, Mike Foale. If you can imagine having a university floor mate who had been to the ISS and who you’d have informal chats with as you brushed your teeth, you’d get a pretty good picture of what staying in Star City is like.

During my stay I was involved in a range of activities from Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) suit training by Yuri Gagarin’s actual flight instructor, to wilderness survival training and MIR station training. It was unequivocally one of the best weeks I’ve ever experienced. Hopefully one day I can return, not as an enthusiastic student, but as someone who works directly in sending us humans to the edges of space and beyond.

Kieran Hashmi

09Mar/17

Experimental Methods for Condensed Matter School 5-7 March 2017

16 SEPnet PGRs attended the Experimental Methods for Condensed Matter School on the 5-7 March 2017 at Old Thorns in Liphook, Hampshire.

The 3-day residential workshop covered the background science, the methodology, the capability and some dos and don’ts of a range of common spectroscopy, microscopy and characterisation techniques.

Lectures, tutorials, seminars and other activity sessions included:

  • X-ray and neutron scattering
  • Optical spectroscopies
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance
  • Electron and atomic force microscopies and surface analysis techniques

One postdoctoral researcher from the University of Hertfordshire, said it was an “excellent location” and the programme had “good structure”.

Thank you to all our speakers: Prof Jon Goff, RHUL; Prof John Watts, Dr Mark Whiting, Dr Izabela Jurewicz, and Prof Peter McDonald, University of Surrey; Prof David Dunstan and Dr Andrei Sapelkin, QMUL, Dr Mischa Zelzer, University of Nottingham, Dr David Voneshen, ISIS STFC and Dr Jon Mitchell, Schlumberger Gould Research.

Congratulations to Lei Tan at QMUL who won a prize for the best “Beam Time Proposal” and Daniel Parrish at the University of Surrey who won the best “3-minute Thesis Presentation”. Sean Ogilvie at the University of Sussex and Jelena Gorbaciova at QMUL were jointly commended for their  3-minute presentations.

Organisers, speakers and SEPnet PGRs at Old Thorns.

17Feb/17

PhD Students examine the Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster

This year’s Winter School, entitled “Building your leadership potential”, took place on the 13-15 February 2017 at Cumberland Lodge.  The former royal residence set in the heart of Windsor Great Park was host to 21 postgraduate students 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.

Dr Stephen Haywood, Leader of the ATLAS Collaboration, STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and Dave Harrison, Galileo KMF Project Manager, CGI Group,  gave their perspectives on leadership styles from an employer’s point of view.  Prof Pam Denicolo, University of Reading, Dr Julie Reeves, University of Southampton and Dr Laura Christie, Royal Holloway University of London presented the Belbin Model and sessions on developing personal leadership awareness and skills.

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.

A 3rd year postgraduate delegate stated the reason why they chose to attend this year’s winter school was because: “SEPnet events are vibrant, engaging and fun. A great way to network with fellow physicists while learning useful employability skills and personal growth”

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Delegates, trainers and SEPnet staff at Cumberland Lodge.

Photographs from the event can be accessed here: https://goo.gl/photos/8ueimQdAAnuU2ugVA

12Jan/17

SEPnet SUMMER PLACEMENTS 2017

SEPnet is_DSC9244 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.

01Nov/16

A PGR’s perspective on the GRADnet Induction Day

Michael Hubbard, a first year postgraduate researcher at the University of Surrey gives his perspective on the GRADnet Induction Day held on the 26 October 2016 at the Park Crescent Conference Centre in central London.

“The GRADnet induction day was an enjoyable day out of the office. The day presented a brilliant opportunity to meet new people, even from your own university; not to mention networking with old friends from our undergraduate years. The workshops I attended provided me with an insight into the world of getting a paper published and explored the world of MATLAB”.

GRADnet Induction Day Photo 2

08Sep/16

IBM Festival of Innovation, Wednesday 14 September, Hursley, Hampshire

IBM Festival of Innovation, Wednesday 14 September,  Hursley, Hampshire

IBM invites students, graduates, PhDs and all those interested in technology to a celebration event which showcases its talents, technologies and innovative projects.

It’s a rare opportunity to see IBM’s technology and tour its facilities and it is free of charge.

If you would like to attend, the registration site and information sites are here:

Registration: http://ibm.biz/festivalofinnovation

Information: http://ibm.biz/festivalofinnovation-info

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.

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.

 


10Feb/16

Do you have a project/work experience for a physics undergraduate?

SEPnet Summer Placements 2016

The scheme                                                                                                          

SEPnet organises an annual placement scheme for physics students at SEPnet Partner universities and is seeking 8-week plus 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 is available for SMEs

What employers have said:

‘Very satisfied with the whole process, organised and straightforward, with good students.’

‘We took SEPnet students for the second year running and have been very impressed with the calibre, their capabilities and the general high standard. For your records we have just made a permanent job offer to one of the students…’.

For more information:                                                                                                

Click here for further information. Register your placement project, or projects as soon as possible, online here.  Email veronica.benson@sepnet.ac.uk