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26Sep/18

GRADnet Moving Forward for 2nd Year Students: 17 October 2018

Register now!

Who:  2nd Year SEPnet Physics PhD students.  This event is strongly recommended by all SEPnet partner Departments. 3rd and 4th year postgraduate researchers and postdoctoral researchers are also welcome to attend.

When:  17 October 2018 10.30-16.30

Where:  One Park Crescent (ISH), 229 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 5PN.

What:  A one-day training session, an opportunity to meet fellow researchers from across the network and to participate in two out of four short workshops designed to get you started in key areas of activity.

  • 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.
  • Practical innovation: 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?
  • 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.
  • Understanding software for research: This workshop introduces computing concepts necessary to support your research. You can find out more about the types of national computing facilities available and the programming languages used to produce quality research. The workshop offers a general understanding of computing with an introduction to parallel computing along with practical tools and techniques that will help you write and maintain better code more efficiently.

Students are to sign up for two workshops on arrival and attend one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

For full programme see here.

Travel expenses are covered by your department.  Transport to the venue can be arranged through your local GRADnet Administrator if there are sufficient numbers.

Register here.  Registration deadline 10 October 2018.

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.

24Sep/18

SEPnet launches Connect Physics

SEPnet is proud to launch Connect Physics, a set of three workshops for Key Stage 3 science students which answer the questions:

What is physics?
Why do physics?
How do we do physics?

Over the last few years we have been working together with teachers and students across the region to develop a set of workshops which look at the wider picture of physics within the context on a student’s life and career paths. Teachers who took part in our evaluation said said that these workshops help do just that:

“The idea that they can see science isn’t just in a school environment that it’s out
there everywhere, that people are problem solving everywhere and that involves
science and that’s incredible value.”

“It allowed the pupils to work in groups and identify Physics rather than just be told
where Physics is and learn the theory.”

For more information on the workshops please read our Teacher’s Guide which outlines what the resources contain. If you would like to book the workshop in your school, please check the Connect Physics website.

If you are a STEM practitioner and are interested in using and delivering the material, please register as a user here.

Evaluation
The workshops have been tested over the last few years, both as individual workshops and as a set of workshops. The aim of the workshops as a set was to maintain and raise Science Capital in KS3 students across the year as the workshops were delivered. Our evaluation report of the pilot year show we still have to work at getting more indicative measurements of Science Capital and measuring long-term impact of the workshops.

However the outcomes of each individual workshop and of them as a set was seen in feedback from students and noted by the teachers. After each workshop over a third of students said they were more interested in Physics. For a full summary of the evaluation please see the final report here.

If you would like to partner with SEPnet to continue to develop the resource, or help us measure the impact of the workshops across the UK, please get in touch with the SEPnet Director of Outreach & Public Engagement.

Acknowledgements
SEPnet would like to thank all the schools where the workshops were tested at every stage of development, together with all the teachers and students for all their inputs, comments and suggestions, they were invaluable.

SEPnet would also like to thank Scott and Neil at Science Theatre and for taking Connect Physics from ideas to fully-formed workshops. Thanks also to Helen Featherstone for helping with the evaluation at that formative stage.

SEPnet would also like to thank Hugh and his team at Hope-Stone Research for carrying out the summative evaluation and writing the final report.

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.