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26Sep/18

IOP/SEPnet Careers Panel Event for PGRs and Postdocs, Wednesday 31 October 2018 16.00 – 20.30, London W1

The Institute of Physics and SEPnet are organising a joint career networking event for postgraduate researchers. This event will give an insight into the broad range of career paths open to PhD graduates and physics graduates.

This event aims to help, inspire and motivate you to explore the careers options open to you in a welcoming and friendly environment. You will hear from a range of panellists, including PhD graduates in physics-related fields who have gone on to pursue interesting, successful careers in diverse areas – both in and outside academia.

Panellists include: Martin Arnold, Trainee Patent Attorney, WP Thompson (Intellectual Property); Tracey Berry, Senior Lecturer in Physics, Royal Holloway University of London; Elaine Hickmott, Talent Development Specialist, EH Enterprises; Sian Lindsay, Research & Projects Manager, AlgoLabs; Caterina Minelli, Senior Research Scientist, National Physical Laboratory; Russell Richardson, Director, RBA Acoustics Ltd; Rosh Sellahewa, Manager, Deloitte; Mark Telling, Senior Research Scientist, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory; Helen White, Senior Technical Lead, HMG Contractor.

What past attendees said about the last career networking event:
‘Fascinating evening: passionate physicists, open and willing to share, great breadth of experience! I got ideas about what I can do with my physics degree in different sectors.’
‘The variety of panellists was great. Seeing how their PhDs did/did not lead to their career was illuminating.’
‘Good, interesting and useful advice.’

Register here. This event is free for members of the IOP. Non-members pay £15. SEPnet students will be reimbursed on proof of payment and proof of attendance and may be able to claim some travel expenses.

24Sep/18

A Joint IOP & SEPnet Career Panel Session for Students from All Backgrounds: Physicists Like Me – Celebrating Diversity in Physics! Wednesday 14 November, 16.00 – 20.30, London W1

This event has been specifically designed for undergraduates and postgraduates who would like to explore their career options and network with physics alumni from diverse backgrounds. Speakers will talk openly about their varied experiences of building a successful career and provide tips and ideas to support you with your future plans.

Register here . This event is free for members of the IOP. Non-members pay £15. SEPnet students will be reimbursed on proof of payment and proof of attendance and may be able to claim some travel expenses.

Contact employerengagement@sepnet.ac.uk for more information.

18Sep/18

Introduction to Data Science Workshop a Success!

DISCnet held their second workshop on “Introduction to Data Science” 12-13 September 2018 at Old Thorns, in Liphook, Hampshire. 20 students attended the workshop and were given a hands-on introduction to tools and methods used in astronomy and particle physics.

Dr Daniel Asmus from the University of Southampton gave a talk on “Astronomical databases & Virtual Observatory and its tools TOPCAT & Aladin” introducing students to the large public astronomical databases, in particular CDS with its services, like SIMBAD and VizieR, and the frame work of the Virtual Observatory.

For the particle physicists Prof Alexander Belyaev from the University of Southampton presented a “Practical introduction into TOOLS for High Energy Physics” where students learnt about automatic evaluation of Matrix Elements and simulation of the processes within and Beyond the Standard Model (BSM) using CalcHEP, as well as automatic derivation of Feynman Rules for the BSM model using LanHEP.

Second year DISCnet students who had undertaken the DISCnet training and 3-month summer placements with businesses and other external organisations gave presentations about their experiences which the new students found very useful.

A DISCnet postgraduate researcher at Sussex said: “Good overall introduction to what DISCnet is and its structure, taught me things I didn’t know about TOPCAT, got me MUCH more enthusiastic about the industrial placements (and thinking about places I could try and apply to).”

The event was a great success and built good relationships between students from different institutions, disciplines and years.

Thank you to the organisers of this event: Dr Sebastian Hoenig, University of Sussex, Prof Seb Oliver, University of Sussex, and Dr Eram Rizvi, Queen Mary University of London, Ceris French, University of Southampton and Cristobel Soares-Smith, Graduate Network Administrator.

30Aug/18

EuroScience Open Forum: sharing science, and a bit of career advice

A physics PhD’s experience of a week at the largest science meeting in Europe…..

‘A recent study (PDF) from the South East Physics Network shows that roughly half of its PhD graduates go on to work in fields other than academia . Whether these students chose to leave or had to, it’s about time we gave the *alternative career path some more attention’.

Emma Winkels is a PhD student at the University of Sussex, working on the ATLAS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider

Read an account of Emma Winkels’ experience here.

 

27Jul/18

Enhancing physics graduate employability – a SEPnet WRIPA workshop shows how skills can be embedded

A recent joint SEPnet workshop with White Rose Industrial Physics Academy (WRIPA), hosted by University of Nottingham, shared good practice with physics departments using examples of active learning projects and modules which have been shown to be effective in engaging students and developing their conceptual understanding, resilience, confidence and motivation.

65 physics academics and employability managers from across the UK attended this one-day workshop to discuss the enablers and barriers to curriculum development, opportunities for physics departments with respect to the Industrial Strategy and to share best practice on embedding employability within degree programmes.

Representatives from physics departments at Sheffield, Cardiff and Salford provided case studies of successful real-world projects that engage students. Advance HE reinforced the message that traditional physics degree courses are no longer fit for purpose. Innovative approaches to teaching and learning which embed employability skills and simulate real-world working with employer input are vital.

The event was chaired by Professor Sir William Wakeham and supported by the Institute of Physics.

For more information contact employerengagement@sepnet.ac.uk

13Jul/18

Where do physics PhD graduates go?

Data collected on 95 SEPnet PhDs graduating in 2016 and 2017 shows that more are entering business and technology careers with many taking on roles as data analysts (35% of PhD graduates in non-academic roles compared with 22% who graduated in 2014-5).

46% of PhD graduates took up non-academic roles in line with research which shows 47% of PhD science graduates find their first job outside academia.

With only 3.5% of science PhD graduates remaining in permanent academic roles, it is important that they have opportunities to meet potential employers from a range of different sectors and industries and develop their employability skills.

For more information about placements, industry mentoring and employer events, and to view our infograph, visit http://www.sepnet.ac.uk/sepnet-graduate-network/gradnet-employer-engagement/

 

09Jul/18

A PGR’s perspective of the GRADnet Summer School: Where might my physics take me?

Elizabeth Swann, postgraduate researcher at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth,  gives her views on why she attended the GRADnet Summer School 2-5 July 2018 at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex.

“I went to the GRADnet summer school because I was unsure as to what I wanted to do after I graduated from my PhD. I didn’t know if I wanted to stay in academia or leave research and was worried that if I left academia I wouldn’t find a job that was interesting or suited towards the way I like to work.

Attending the Summer School changed that for me. Meeting many physics PhD graduates now working for different companies such as NVIDIA, Deloitte and Kindred Group opened my eyes to the opportunities available for a PhD students leaving academia.

What I enjoyed most was the honest stories of the employers who didn’t use the sessions as opportunities to promote their companies, but to recount their own experiences of moving from a PhD into a more traditional workplace environment, and to give advice on how best to make that transition.

We also had a workshops on ethics, consultancy challenges, how best to write an academic or non-academic CV, and a plethora of careers information. I feel now that whatever I choose to do after I graduate I am much more aware of my options, and if I decided to leave academia I would know how best to market my skills to a non-academic employer.

I would highly recommend this summer school to any physics PhD student, particularly if they are unsure as to what they want to do after they graduate and even if they are sure they want to stay in academia, as knowing all the options available to you can never be a bad thing!”

Next year’s summer school will be held 1-4 July 2019 at the National Physical Laboratory. Registration will be open in October 2018.

09Jul/18

GRADnet celebrates at Herstmonceux Castle on 3 July 2018!

To mark five years of HEFCE funding GRADnet celebrated with a  fabulous evening drinks reception in the castle courtyard followed by dinner hosted by Prof Adam Tickell, Vice Chancellor University of Sussex in the ballroom. Over 80 guests attended including postgraduate researchers, Vice Chancellors, physics Heads of Department, representatives from research councils, employers and SEPnet staff.

Sir William Wakeham thanked Dr James West, Executive Director, SEPnet, for his commitment and drive to SEPnet over the last eight years and wished him well on his forthcoming retirement.

Sir William also thanked Prof Peter McDonald, GRADnet Director for his contribution to SEPnet from its inception to SEPnet phase 3 over the last ten years. Prof Averil MacDonald, Diversity and Impact Director was also thanked for her contribution over the past five years during SEPnet phase 2.

Prof Sean Ryan, University of Hertfordshire was welcomed as the new Executive Director, SEPnet in phase 3.

09Jul/18

Another Successful Summer School at Herstmonceux Castle!!

The fifth GRADnet Summer took place on 2-5 July 2018 at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex. As in previous years 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:  AkzoNobel; AWE; Centronic; Deloitte; IOP; Kindred Group; NVIDIA; Observatory Science Centre; QinetiQ; Royal Surrey County Hospital and WP Thompson.

SPEAKERS: Ian Chapman, Institute of Physics, Dr Rowena Fletcher-Wood, Things we don’t know, Prof Seb Oliver, University of Sussex, Sarah Spencer, University of Sussex and Dr Beccie Whittaker, Oasis Academy, South Bank.

Thank you to Kay Pearson, Employability and Professional Skills Adviser, University of Surrey for sourcing three excellent consultancy challenges and Cristobel Soares-Smith, Graduate Network Administrator for making this such a successful event!

WHAT THE STUDENTS SAID:

  • My PhD can lead to an enjoyable non-academic career.
  • My reasons for attending were because I wanted an idea about what to do after my degree. I was hoping to get connections with employers. Furthermore, I wanted to meet friends from previous events again. Even though I come from a chemistry background doesn’t mean I can’t do a “hard core” physics job. My different background might even be useful to provide a fresh view.
  • The consultancy challenge was a very good experience! Despite having no background in nuclear physics or maybe because it was something completely differently I enjoyed the intensive research.
  • The most valuable thing to me that I take away from the summer school is that there are more opportunities out there than I thought and I learnt to keep an open mind.

WINNERS OF THE CONSULTANCY CHALLENGE: 

AgFE: Team 3:  Ilya Antonov, RHUL, Michael Hubbard, Surrey, Ying Liu, QMUL and Charlie Nation, Sussex.

Centronic: Team 1:  Matthew Russell, Southampton, Sean Lawlor, RHUL, Malin Schulz, Surrey and Clark Baker, QMUL.

Observatory Science Centre: Team 1:  Harry Fox, The OU, Azizah Hosein, Sussex, Vassilia Spathis, Kent and Elizabeth Swann, Portsmouth.

People’s Choice:  Centronic Team 3: Michele de Leo, Surrey, Kareem Farrag, Southampton, Callum Grove, Surrey, Örs Istok, Surrey.

Congratulations!

15Jun/18

SEPnet Industry Survey 2018 – employers keen to engage with university physics departments

56 representatives of SMEs, large corporates, NGOs and research institutions from a range of sectors completed our recent survey to find out how SEPnet can better support business needs and address skills shortages through greater collaboration with universities.

Key findings:
• 59% have had contact with a university physics department on matters of knowledge exchange in the last 5 years – the majority of these interactions eg KTPs, commissioning research etc have been successful
• There are still issues around responding to SMEs more quickly, the costs involved in collaborating on projects and understanding around IP
• Seeking graduates with specific skills was by far the most important reason for businesses wishing to engage with universities
• The most important skills and attributes which employers would like to see developed in physics graduates are: commercial awareness; programming; communication; practical and technical skills
• Many employers would be willing to participate in an industry panel to input into the physics curriculum
• 60% have employed physics PhD graduates and value their relevant expertise, mathematical skills and problem solving ability
• In addition, employers of physics PhD look for the ability to apply theories to real-world problems, flexibility, an enquiring mind, persistence and enthusiasm.

To read the short survey, click here: SEPnet Industry Survey 2018