18Jan/23

Interact 2022 Roving Reporters Observations Published

Interact 2022 was held at City Hall in Cardiff on September 14th 2022. Interact is a series of biennial sympossia on Public Engagement in the Physical Sciences and are a space for researchers and engagement professionals to meet, share expertise, network, and promote best practice. The 2022 event was a fantastic return to the face to face format for the conference and was attended by 195 delegates across multiple universities, research institutions, outreach organisations, learned societies, industry partners and those from other sectors. Interact 2022 was co-organised by SEPnet, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Astronomical Society, the Ogden Trust and Cardiff University. 

For Interact 2022 we introduced the role of Roving Reporter and put a call out to delegates to apply for these paid positions. Roving Reporters were tasked with attending the conference as they would have done anyway, selecting the parallel sessions of their choice, and writing us a report summarising their experience of the conference and the content of the sessions they attended. This will serve as a record of the conference, enabling those who could not attend to engage with the conference content, and providing those who attended different parallel sessions to find out about those they couldn’t attend. 

A big thank you to our Roving Reporters for their hard work on the report: Stewart Eyres, Ghada Jameel, Claudia Antolini, Holly
Cave, Eliza Hunt and Emmy Amers. The report is available to read and download here

09Jan/23

Physics World publishes SEPnet/WRIPA findings.

Physics World recently published an article on the “Future of Physics Degrees”. This joint SEPnet/WRIPA paper discusses the findings gathered through webinars across the Higher Education sector identifying five key questions that need to be answered when building a physics degree for the future.

Veronica Benson, Andrew Mizumori Hirst and William Wakeham explain why physics degrees need to be revamped so that physicists can better tackle these vital issues. Read the full article here.

09Dec/22

Call for SEPnet Summer Placements 2023

SEPnet Summer Placements 2023

Do you have a project/work experience for a physics or maths undergraduate or PhD student?

SEPnet (South East Physics Network) is a consortium of university physics departments – Hertfordshire, Kent, Portsmouth, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, Southampton, Surrey, Sussex and Open University.

The scheme

SEPnet organises over 80 summer placements a year for all 2nd and 3rd year physics and maths undergraduate and PhD students at the above universities and is seeking 8-week plus projects in industry or research in areas such as data analysis, mathematical modelling, programming, product design and testing or science communication.

Who can apply?

The scheme is aimed at any organisations interested in recruiting physics or maths 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 the SEPnet team
  • Match-funding 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…’.

Register your placement project, or projects, online here https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/EmployerRegistration2023/

Email Michelle Limbert m.limbert@soton.ac.uk for further information or for an informal chat about the scheme.

09Dec/22

SEPnet Employer Engagement Officer Role

School of Physics & Astronomy

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   £32,348 to £39,745 Pro rata per annum
Part Time 17.5 hpw Permanent
Closing Date:  Friday 23 December 2022
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  2074722WF

You will be based within the School of Physics and Astronomy, actively engaging with industry to develop and maintain a regional and national employer partnership network, which will enhance the employability of Physics graduates and meet the needs of employers. This will include the delivery, at Southampton, of the collaborative regional SEPnet* Employer Engagement programme, with a focus on organising the student placement scheme and physics-specific careers sessions for Southampton students. The role includes championing our students to employers and working with university careers and placement services.

*The South East Physics Network SEPnet is a network of nine universities in the South East of England, working together to deliver excellence in physics. It formed in 2008 and is overseen by senior representatives of the member universities and external advisors.

You will work under the guidance of the SEPnet Employer Liaison Directors and the Head of Physics and Astronomy.

This is a permanent post offered on a part-time basis (0.5FTE) with a flexible working pattern.

To make the most of this incredible opportunity, you will need skill level equivalent to the achievement of HND, Degree, NVQ4 or basic professional qualification in science or engineering discipline or equivalent industry experience. You will have great communication skills with the ability to engage both students and external partners.

Committed to tackling gender inequality, the School of Physics and Astronomy is Athena SWAN silver award recognised. We are particularly determined to address the under-representation of women in Physics and Astronomy, so we are delighted to have been awarded Project Juno Champion status.

We are committed to all of our staff achieving a healthy work-life balance, with flexible working hours available. With a generous benefits package that includes a contributory pension scheme, competitive holiday allowance, subsidised health and fitness facilities, a cycle-to-work scheme and a range of discounts, this is a place where you are sure to excel.

To take this fascinating next step in your career, informal enquiries to our Head of Physics and Astronomy, Prof Mark Sullivan on m.sullivan@soton.ac.uk are very welcome.

Application Procedure 

You should submit your completed online application form at https://jobs.soton.ac.uk. Please also upload a full CV. The application deadline will be midnight on the closing date stated above. If you need any assistance, please contact Michelle (HR Recruitment Team) on +44 (0) 23 8059 2750 or email recruitment@soton.ac.uk  Please quote reference 2074722WF on all correspondence. 

06Dec/22

Neurodiversity Training Workshop

December 6th University of Surrey.

Employability Advisors and academics from across the SEPnet consortium meet to discuss and  identify barriers and enablers in accessing the SEPnet summer placement scheme for all students, irrespective of background and neurological personalities. This training was facilitated by AbiltyNet and will provide the basis for further employer, student and advisor training. 

02Dec/22

SME-DTN success features in NCUB Report 2022

The National Centre for Universities and Business presented their State of Relationship Report 2022 on 1st December and delighted to announce they published our case study on the success of SEPnet’s SME-DTN collaborative PhD scheme funded by Research England Development Fund.  See here for a copy of the report and our case study appears on page 41.

Having faced many challenges and issues launching this scheme during a pandemic, with the commitment and support of SEPnet HEIs, employer contacts and RED Fund, we now have 8 industry-relevant PhD projects underway!

Our list of amazing and innovative PhD projects: can be found here: SME-DTN PhD Scholarships October 2021-2022 – SEPnet

Looking forward to working with our new PhD students!  

24Nov/22

SEPnet Expo 2022 celebrates its summer placement students!

 

89 students showcased their summer placement projects through an exciting and energised face to face Expo event to employers, academic tutors and peers at SEPnet’s 14th Expo on the 23rd November  in London.

Students described a range of varied and exciting projects with large and small employers across different industries and research areas including data science, engineering, energy, IT, satellite communication, defence and scientific research.

The event was chaired by Professor Sir William Wakeham and an inspiring keynote address “Why Fusion” was delivered by Dr Chantal Nobs. Chantal studied Physics as an undergraduate at the University of Surrey (MPhys) and went on to study a PhD in experimental nuclear physics at the University of Brighton. Chantal joined UKAEA (Atomic Energy Authority) in 2018 in the Nuclear Technology Group. Her work looks at R&D for novel radiation detectors that can be deployed to challenging environments, the measurement of radioactive materials and the activation of materials for research purposes.

A “Physicists like me”  employer panel including representatives from Aquark Technologies, University of Surrey, Framestore, Thales and NPL  shared tips and advice with students on career opportunities and skills needed within their fields. They were also brutally honest around tips they would have given to themselves as they embarked on their careers.

The IOP generously provided prizes for the 6 best posters. The winners included:

  • Ollie Kemp, University of Portsmouth and his project “Machine Learning Applications for Satellite Earth Observation” with eOsphere
  • Emma Piazze, University of Southampton and her project “Working our way to high-precision space situational awareness” with Lumi Space
  • Mitchell Broad Queen Mary University London and Project “Numerical simulation of multiplex holograms with rigorous coupled wave theory” with Trulife Optics
  • Roberta Vieliute University of Southampton and Dhairya Kataria University of Herts and their project “Assembling the Pristine Relics of our Universe’s Infancy” with the University of Surrey
  • Ethan Cooper, University of Herts and project “Cognitive Bias, the Psychology of Recruitment” with MeVitae
  • Mark Ludlow, University of Surrey and his project “Interpreting XRF data to read Herculaneum” with STFC RAL
10Nov/22

From SEPnet PGR to CEO at OQC!

Dr Ilana Wisby, Founding CEO and Director, Oxford Quantum Circuits, (OQC) a former SEPnet postgraduate researcher at RHUL was invited to talk at this year’s Alexander Stavrou Innovation Lecture on Wednesday, 9 November at the University of Surrey. 

Over the last 4.5 years, Ilana has taken OQC from a patent, to Europe’s leading Quantum Computing as a Service company.  Whilst deep technical roots and priority IP is certainly a core part of OQC’s USP – technology and inventions alone do not make successful companies. OQC’s Value-led Leadership and focus on people are equally, if not more, important.

Ilana shared the lessons she has learned as a deep tech entrepreneur, with a focus on crafting high performance, elite teams and employing considered Value-led Leadership. 

Thanks Ilana for encouraging Surrey undergraduates and postgraduate researchers to undertake a SEPnet summer placement and for endorsing GRADnet’s training programme from your personal experience during your PhD at RHUL!

10Nov/22

Why is developing knowledge and skills in Public Engagement important for PGRs?

GRADnet’s online workshop: Developing knowledge and skills in Public Engagement was delivered on 9 November 2022 on Zoom by Dr Claudia Antolini, The Ogden Trust Senior Officer for Outreach and Public Engagement, Royal Holloway University of London.  Over 25 PGRs attended the online event and were given the following tips on how to do public engagement:

  • Identify a target public group/community and think about what your target group might be interested in and link your research to this.
  • How can you reach your target group and what do you feel comfortable doing: teaching? Performing? Speaking in public? Running a workshop? Designing a resource/class/audio-visual asset?
  • Do you have any hobbies that you could incorporate into your PE activity?
  • Activities you’ve heard about – do you find any of them interesting? Would you like to try your hand at them?

Claudia outlined the current SEPnet Strategy:  Core Programme 1: Schools’ Outreach Aim; Core Programme 2: Teacher Continuing Professional Development Aim and Core Programme 3: Public Engagement with Research Aim.

Delegates were made aware of the importance of “public engagement impact” for REF/KEF and how “the sector needs to recognise and challenge the processes that maintain and perpetuate the elitism of STEM. Widening participation in STEM requires changes in power relations and cannot be achieved by continuing with ‘business as usual’.”

Attendees found the workshop “really intriguing” and that there were “a lot of important topics to think about!”

Claudia and the Outreach team look forward to seeing SEPnet postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers at the next session to be delivered on Wednesday, 22 March 2023 at 12:00-15:30.  This will be in the format of an interactive workshop at the IOP in Kings Cross, London for 25 SEPnet delegates and will allow space to discuss their own research and form ideas for engagement. SEPnet Outreach and Public Engagement officers will lead and facilitate this session, using their experience and working with attendees to create impactful engagement plans. There will also be guidance on how to evaluate and evidence engagement, which is particularly important in the context of REF.  SEPnet PGRs can register here by 10 March 2023.

27Oct/22

GRADnet Induction Day 26 October 2022 welcomes new PhD Students!

Over 100 new SEPnet PhD students attended the GRADnet Induction Day on Wednesday, 26 October 2022 at One Park Crescent in central London.

Attendees were introduced to the three strands of SEPnet:  Employability, Outreach and GRADnet by Professor Jacob Dunningham, Executive Director, SEPnet. 

Tariq Himli, Postgraduate Researcher, University of Surrey, talked about his SEPnet Summer Placement at Occuity.  It was an 8-week placement setting up Monte-Carlo tolerance analysis tool.  The work involved interfacing between his own code and software for analysis and bringing ideas into a multidisciplinary group.  Tariq outlined why the placement was useful; he learned a lot about how software works; how to run them through code only; nice intro to industry work in general and it was a funded break from his PhD!

Laura Fryer, Postgraduate Researcher, University of Southampton also completed a summer placement this year at Openshaw & Co, Patent Attorneys.  Laura researched state of the art technologies; analysed patent documents and assessed whether inventions were new and inventive; prepared detailed documents of new inventions and made logical arguments as well as drafted responses to letters from the UK patent office.  Delegates heard how the hands-on experience was interesting and how Laura gained an understanding of what types of jobs and roles she might enjoy.  The placement was an opportunity to experience working in industry without leaving academia; it broadened her skillset and showed adaptability. 

Four parallel workshops were on offer:

  • DISCnet Taster Session: Introduction to Machine Learning using ATLAS Open Data delivered by Dr Kate Shaw, Lecturer, Dr Thomas Stevenson, Research Fellow and Zoë Earnshaw, Postgraduate Researcher, Physics and Astronomy, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, University of Sussex;
  • Introduction to basic Python & Introduction to Scientific Python delivered by Dr Tim Kinnear, Lecturer in Computational Astrophysics, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Kent;
  • How to get your research published delivered by Tom Sharp and Rob Freeman, Institute of Physics;
  • Science Communication Skills delivered by Dr Claudia Antolini, SEPnet – The Ogden Trust Senior Officer for Outreach and Public Engagement, Royal Holloway University of London and Nuala O’Flynn, SEPnet/Ogden Physics Outreach and Public Engagement Officer at University of Hertfordshire.

Thank you to all our contributors for making this event a success this year.

After two years of online delivery due to the pandemic it was great to be back in person at One Park Crescent and having the opportunity to meet this year’s cohort of SEPnet PhD students face to face.  Everyone enjoyed meeting their fellow PGRs and found the workshops really useful.  

Hope to see some of you at a future GRADnet event.  See here for our training programme for 2022-23.

Science Communication Skills; Python; IOP How to get your research published and DISCnet workshops: