13Jun/18

SEPnet announces Executive Director to lead its next phase

SEPnet announces Executive Director to lead its next phase

Ten years after SEPnet was launched with HEFCE funding in 2008 to sustain Physics in the South East region, SEPnet is about to enter its third phase funded by its nine member (The Universities of Hertfordshire, Kent, Portsmouth, Southampton, Surrey, Sussex; The Open University; Queen Mary University of London; and Royal Holloway University of London).

The purpose of SEPnet Phase 3, agreed by the members, is to assure the viability of Physics in the South East by continuing to facilitate regional collaborations to address common challenges in areas such as Outreach and Public Engagement, employer engagement, graduate training, and research. Its vision is “Working together to deliver excellence in physics”.

To lead SEPnet into this next phase, we are pleased to announce that Professor Sean Ryan of the University of Hertfordshire has agreed to become Executive Director of the network, effective 1st August 2018. Sean succeeds Dr James West who became Executive Director in February 2010 and who will be retiring on July 31st.

Sean is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Hertfordshire and held the post of Dean of School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics from 2006-2015, during which time he negotiated the University’s membership of SEPnet for the start of Phase II.

James West (left), Sean Ryan (right)

SEPnet would like to thank James West for his leadership of the network for the past eight years and for securing the funding for the next phase, and welcome Sean Ryan as its next leader.

James West: “SEPnet has been an enjoyable challenge and we have shown that collaboration works to secure the future for physics in the region and for our members. I’m pleased that a senior Physics academic of Sean’s standing has been appointed and I’m confident under Sean’s leadership, the next phase can build on the foundations of the past 10 years to bring new opportunities to address the challenges of the future.”

 

04Jun/18

SEPnet looking for Case Studies for LGBTSTEM Day

Here at SEPnet we continue to celebrate and embrace diversity across physics. We also want to continue to support initiatives the aim to raise awareness, such as the upcoming LGBTSTEM Day on Thursday 5 July. This day will help raise awareness of LGBT+ people in STEM subjects.

SEPnet has partnered with LGBTSTEM to showcase LGBT+ people working across all our physics departments through a series of case studies that will be featured on both the SEPnet and LGBTSTEM website. We are looking for LGBT+ people who want to share their stories through a very short questionnaire. If you are interested in adding your story, please complete the questionnaire and return to d.galliano@qmul.ac.uk, together with a photograph of yourself looking your very best, either in the lab or out and about!

Deadline for questionnaires is 17:00 on Friday 29 June. The case studies will launch on LGBTSTEM Day. On the day, feel free to join the celebrations across the UK & Ireland and join the conversation on Twitter with #LGBTSTEMDay.

18May/18

NuSec post-doctoral research grants in nuclear security, radiation and data – deadline 1 June

The NuSec Security Science Network is pleased to announce a competition for up to 10 short-term “PDRA support grants” worth up to £15,000 each, to research Nuclear Security network-related topics.

Grants are intended to support the direct salary costs of PDRAs so that they can work 100% 3 months (full time) or pro rata for longer if other support is provided. The PDRA can either be a new position, or an extension to an existing post.

Proposals must support the aims of the NuSec network, to deliver research or impact activities which have clear objectives in Nuclear Security Science.

Priority will be given to proposals which support the three main areas of activity covered by the network to date:
1. Detection systems for nuclear security
2. Algorithms, data and autonomous decision making
3. Alternative technologies for industrial use of radiation sources

Applications (no more than 2 side of A4) must be submitted by 1st June 2018 to info@nusec.uk.  Results will be announced on 1st July 2018.

If you interested in applying please visit the NuSec website http://www.nusec.uk/nusec-network-post-doctoral-support-(pdra)-support-grants/ for more details.

Read NuSec’s Science Network newsletter here: http://www.nusec.uk/news/2018/05/15/nusec-achievements-and-opportunities/ to read about 2017/2018 achievements and networking and funding opportunities.

14May/18

Career Pathways 2018 for Women in STEM, Tuesday 12 June, 11.00-18.00, Institute of Physics, London W1

The Women in Materials Group are delighted to announce the return of Career Pathways for Women in STEM this year. The event is kindly sponsored and hosted by the Institute of Physics and will be held at their central office located near Regent’s Park, London.

This event is a unique forum for inspiring female role models, who have used a science degree to underpin their careers, to share their employment experiences and challenges to date. Speakers will be well-established professionals and eminent academics representing a diverse range of disciplines; from science policy and academia to entrepreneurship and engineering. You will also hear from recent graduates about the challenges faced make their early career choices.

This is an exciting opportunity to network, ask questions and engage with your fellow students in a supportive environment. All undergraduates and postgraduates are encouraged to attend, regardless of gender or academic background.

To register interest, please sign up via this page: https://www.events.iop.org/d/f/worldwide/page.html

For more information about the event and speakers, please click attending on Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1984754218508199/

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

27Apr/18

No point in discovering new things if you don’t communicate them!

On Tuesday, 24 April 2018, 18 SEPnet PGRs attended GRADnet’s Science Communication Skills Workshop at Queen Mary University of London in Mile End, London.  PGRs experienced hands-on training from Chris White and Rowena Fletcher-Wood who are professional science communicators.

PGRs learned how to write about their research for departmental blogs and articles and how to present their research at events such as Pint of Science, Science Showoff, Soapbox Science, 3 Minute Wonder and many more.

Attendees explored ways of sharing their research with many different audiences and learnt the importance of being able to communicate with non-specialist groups.  Attendees were advised to go and practise explaining their research to a friend in the pub or a café and to extract the main points of their research without getting lost in the details.

PGRs who attended said: “There were lots of useful ideas and tips in the first talk and the second was very engaging and idea generating”; “Both sessions exceeded expectations & highlighted some things I hadn’t thought about.”

Thank you to Chris and Rowena for their contribution and Dominic Galliano, SEPnet Outreach Director, and Cristobel Soares-Smith, GRADnet Administrator, for organising this event.

16Apr/18

Exactly what a PhD student in Condensed Matter needs: A workshop on Strong Correlations!

The Strong correlations workshop took place on 11-13 April 2018 at Old Thorns in Liphook and was organised by Dr Sam Carr from the University of Kent.

11 students attended the workshop and valued the small group tutorials.  Attendees confirmed the workshop was pitched at the right level and was very useful:

“The lectures are exactly what a PhD student in (strong correlations) condensed matter physics needs from the beginning and provides a networking opportunity for students from other institutions.”

The best aspects of the programme were : “Variation from easy to hard theory, experimental connection, some actual research talks, socialising and soft skills.  It was really nice to mix PhD students, postdocs and lecturers in an informal and small-scale setting – inspiring!”

Thank you to Dr Sam Carr, Dr Jorge Quintanilla, Dr Silvia Ramos, Dr Sudeep Gosh, Dr Xavier Montiel from the University of Kent, Dr Anna Posazhennikova and Dr Matthias Eschrig from Royal Holloway University of London, for their participation in delivering this workshop and Cristobel Soares-Smith, GRADnet Administrator, who organised the workshop logistics.

Dr Silvia Ramos gives her lecture on “Probes in Condensed Matter”.

 

13Apr/18

SEPnet Summer Placement Report 2017/18 shows students continue to perform well

Students increasingly see the value of placements for developing their employability skills and continue to perform well on placement.

Key findings showed:

• The number of placements has increased from 38 in 2009 to 91 in 2017.
• 20% of the eligible cohort applied for placements in 2017 and more students are pursuing their own and signing up to other schemes.
• 42% of placements were successfully secured by female students
• 57% of placements were funded by employers, Santander Internship Scheme and WP funding
• Students rated programming as the most relevant element of their course
• Organisations receiving the most applications were ICG, University of Sussex, Royal Marsden Hospital, AWE and eOsphere.
• CVs were well-presented but covering letters need to be more relevant and students need to research organisations better beforehand.
• Performance at interview was important in securing a placement but enthusiasm was equally important.
• Employers rated students’ top 3 skills as self-management, problem solving and communication – the same skills that students felt they improved most.
• 5 students had their placements extended and 7 were known to have been offered graduate roles

You can read the full report here: SEPnet Summer Placement Report 2017-18

10Apr/18

GRADnet Summer School 2-5 July 2018

Who: Physics, and physics related,   post-graduate researchers.

What: A 4-day residential school that explores the wide range of opportunities open to PhD physicists.

When: 2-5 July 2018

Where: Herstmonceux Castle, East Sussex.

Numbers: Circa 50–60 delegates

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 wide range of employers join the school to offer workshops designed to show what life in a given industry sector type is like and what kind of work is involved. Students choose to take four of these over two days.

A consultancy challenge is run another day. High-tech companies come with real science problems and invite students, working in teams, to create solutions using the skills they have learnt in their PhD.

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 in recent summer schools include:  Airbus Defence and Space; AkzoNobel; Amec Foster Wheeler; AWE;Centre for Applied Science and Technology (Gov’t forensics); Centre for Integrated Photonics (Huawei); Chomko & Rosier; Culham Centre for Fusion Energy; Dstl, Fourth State Medicine; IBM; InSync Technology; Magnox; the Met Office; MR Solutions; Observatory Science Centre; Oxford Instruments; Petroleum Geo-services; RBA Acoustics; Rolls Royce; Starcount; Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd; and WP Thompson.

Your travel expenses, meals and accommodation are covered by SEPnet.

Registation deadline 1 June 2018

Eventbrite - GRADnet Summer School 2-5 July 2018

You will not incur any personal costs for attending this workshop.  For residential events SEPnet charges your Department £100.

2016 Summer School

Group Photo from the 2016 GRADnet Summer School at Herstmonceux