Monthly Archives: October 2018


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 for more information.


GRADnet Induction Day: A great success!

Over 120 first year postgraduate researchers attended the GRADnet Induction day on 24 October 2018 in central London. This was a great opportunity for students to meet fellow SEPnet postgraduate researchers from around the region.

Students chose two out of 4 workshops to attend and the feedback was mainly very positive.

Getting your research published presented by Sarah Whitehouse and Tom Sharp: Institute of Physics: “Good session, very informative, with good pacing and tips!”

Python presented by Dr Tim Kinnear and Leon Schoonderwoerd, University of Kent: “Really well presented! Clear to understand and follow for someone who has no knowledge of coding before”

Introduction to research data management presented by Dr Alice Motes, University of Surrey and Dr Juan Bicarregui, Science Technology Facilities Council: Very eye-opening, reminds you of aspects of data-based research that can easily be overlooked. Very interesting to see the solutions and ideas involved in open science.”

Science Communication Skills presented by Dr Martin Archer, QMUL and Cordelia Scott, University of Portsmouth: “Good at introducing ways to get involved in public engagement tips on giving talks. Lots of interaction to give first taste of communication planning and set up.” 

Thank you to all our presenters and to Cristobel Soares-Smith, Graduate Network Administrator for organising this event.

Students at the GRADnet welcome talk.


Moving forward for 2nd Years 2018 Training Day: Good opportunity to meet up with fellow PGRs!

About 60 SEPnet PGRs attended this training event held on Wednesday, 17 October 2018 to support PGRs in their second year.

Students chose two out of four workshops and student feedback was very positive:

How to write a fellowship application (Workshop lead: Prof Peter McDonald, Surrey): Good workshop, explained the process clearly and ideas for presenting research ideas.

Practical Innovation (Workshop lead: Julia Shalet, Product Doctor):  I would highly recommend the workshop as it gives you a good and realistic view on what to consider when starting a business.

Research Data Management (Workshop lead: Dr Juan Biccaregui, STFC/Dr Alice Motes, Surrey):  Good!  Ideas heard before, but made me think about it and motivated me to improve.

Writing better software for research (Workshop Lead: Claire Hepwood, RHUL): This was extremely useful.  I initially thought it might be basic for me but it taught me lots of practices I never knew about before. 

Thank you to our presenters and to Cristobel Soares-Smith, Graduate Network Administrator for organising this event. Professor Sean Ryan, Executive Director, SEPnet, welcomes delegates.


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; Alex Cote, Data Scientist, Rank Group; Elaine Hickmott, Talent Development Specialist, EH Enterprises; Caterina Minelli, Senior Research Scientist, National Physical Laboratory; Russell Richardson, Director, RBA Acoustics Ltd; Jason Rolles, founder and Managing director, BlueOptima; Rosh Sellahewa, Manager, Deloitte; 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.


The interface between Observation and Theory in Astrophysics: 17-18 January 2019

Registration now open!

Who: SEPnet postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers in astronomy, astrophysics and closely allied fields.

What: A 2-day school led by senior researchers in SEPnet comprising lectures and workshops.

When: 17-18 January 2019

Where: University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield (Accommodation is at the Travelodge Hatfield Central, twin rooms, double occupancy.)

Numbers: circa 30 delegates

The Advanced Physics School on the interface between observation and theory in astrophysics will address how to interpret astronomical observations in the new data-rich era. The sessions will cover theory and modelling relating to a number of current research areas in stellar, Galactic and extragalactic astrophysics, including using simulations and applying statistical tools to link theory and observational data. In particular, the School will address the rapidly developing area of machine learning and its application at the interface between observation and theory in astrophysics.

The School will work its way up through spatial scales from planetary (in the context of exoplanet modelling), black hole, galactic (star formation), extragalactic (with a particular focus on stellar population synthesis models and also AGN), and on to galaxy formation models in cosmological contexts (and the role of cosmological simulations).

With experts from across SEPnet presenting sessions in their areas of expertise, it is intended that the School will benefit students over a wide cross-section of astrophysics. Students will learn not only about the specifics of approaches they may utilise in their current research, but also learn about modelling and simulation techniques being applied in other fields of astrophysics that they may want or need to utilise in their future careers.

Register here. Registration deadline 7 December 2018.


SEPnet and WRIPA share ways to enhance physics graduate employability

A joint report by SEPnet and WRIPA (White Rose Industrial Physics Academy) highlights the challenges for improving physics graduate employability in the current climate and offers some solutions.

Key recommendations:
• A physics degree programme should move from one that emphasises factual knowledge to one of application of knowledge;
• Industry partners should provide input into curriculum-based learning experiences;
• Universities need to align graduate skills and knowledge with regional innovation and opportunities.

Read the brief full report here


SEPnet Outreach & Public Engagement: 10th Anniversary Symposium

A celebration and reflection on the 10 years of Outreach and Public Engagement at SEPnet. Throughout the past 10 years, SEPnet has strived to position itself at the forefront of STEM engagement with schools and has more recently begun to start embedding a culture of public engagement with research across the partner universities.

The symposium highlighted the vast array of initiatives that SEPnet has been involved with since its inception with a session from previous SEPnet Directors of Outreach, Charlotte Thorley and Clare Harvey who contemplated the changes they witnessed over the years.

The symposium continued with a talk from Dom Galliano, SEPnet Director of Outreach, about the future of SEPnet schools’ outreach and public engagement with the launch of the new 2018-2023 strategy.

Schools’ outreach will continue to deliver SEPnet’s key messages with the aim of building and maintaining student’s science capital. SEPnet will continue to encourage projects which involve multiple engagements with strategically selected students across the region, helping build longer term partnerships with teachers and schools through activities such as Connect Physics.

Public engagement across SEPnet will now be focused into three themes: local community, research in schools, and consultancy. The symposium saw example projects within SEPnet from these three themes share the good practice and learning that have resulted from their projects.

Martin Archer of Queen Mary University of London discussed his Research in Schools programme which has seen school students across London taking part in research projects and impacting upon students, teachers, and researchers. Vicky Mason, Xanthe Pitt and Nikki Hildesley from the University of Kent and Discovery Planet reviewed the past 4 years of collaboration to bring science activities to underserved audiences in their local community. Nic Bonne and Coleman Krawczyk from the University of Portsmouth shared the exciting new developments that will be taking place within their Tactile Universe project which engages the visually impaired with astronomy research.

In addition to the talk, there was a poster exhibition from all SEPnet partners, highlighting the successes and achievements SEPnet projects have brought across the region. External partners such as STFC, IOP and RAS were also present and contributed with posters and stands.

Many thanks to all of those that attended and to the Wellcome Collection for being wonderful hosts. All the presentations from the day can be found here.

The SEPnet Outreach Team:

Please use the following link and password to access the images from the day:  Link:

Password: SEPN3T




Developing Diversity in Physics – SEPnet Sharing Good Practice Workshop

Wednesday 5 December 2018 12.00 – 17.00
University of Portsmouth

University of Portsmouth Institute of Cosmology & Gravitation (ICG) is hosting a Diversity in Physics workshop on behalf of the South East Physics Network (SEPnet).

As recent events have highlighted, unconscious and cultural biases continue to present challenges in addressing issues related to diversity in physics. This crucial problem affects the whole physics community – not just under-represented groups – and we need to engage all staff and students to help tackle this problem.

The aim of this timely workshop is to share good practice on progression and career development for HE staff and students in physics. Presenters will provide an overview of progress to date highlighting the barriers and how to address them and will provide examples of successful initiatives.

This event is aimed at all physics staff and PGRs and those responsible for diversity and inclusion including Project Juno and diversity champions, HR managers and academics.

For details of the programme and to reserve space contact:


Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Experimental Physics (fixed term for two years, full time), University of Sussex

This position offers an exciting opportunity for a post-doctoral researcher to combine quantum sensing with electric vehicle battery technology. It is part of a collaboration between Queen Mary University of London, University of Sussex, and the companies INEX Microtechnology Ltd and CDO2 Ltd, and is funded by Innovate UK.

School/ department: School of Mathematical & Physical Sciences – Department of Physics and Astronomy
Hours: full time
Contract: fixed term
Salary range: starting at £33,199 and rising to £39,609

Entry level postdoc candidates will be considered.

For full details and how to apply see Sussex vacancies page here:


Call for abstracts: From Infinity to Zero: the history of the Universe in redshift: 3-5 April 2019

Call for abstracts for Student-led Conferences

Who: Postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers from the SEPnet region with research interests in this year’s conference topics.

What: Two parallel research conferences proposed and organised by students wanting to advance their research and extend their collaborations. The conferences include talks by invited speakers and students as well as poster and recreational sessions.

When: 3-5 April 2019 (Arrival 6pm on 3 April.  Accommodation at Glen Eyre, Highfield Campus.)

Where: University of Southampton, Murray Lecture Building, Highfield Campus.

Numbers: Circa 40-50 delegates

This conference aims to bring together students from all areas of astronomy research. From the study of inflation at Portsmouth to planetary science at the Open University, the GRADnet astronomy groups’ research probes many epochs of the Universe. Students will gain knowledge of a wide range of research techniques applied to phenomena at various redshifts, and see where such techniques may cross over and enhance their own research.

Organisers: Elizabeth Swann, Steve Cunnington, Max Foxley-Marrable, Natalie Hogg, Sam Youles, University of Portsmouth.

The parallel conference is: The Future of Particle Physics in the Post-Higgs Landscape

Abstract deadline 7 January 2019: Submit your abstract here. Once your abstract has been accepted you will be notified by the conference organiser to register for this conference.

Once your abstract has been accepted please register here. Registration deadline: 1 March 2019.

This event is free (SEPnet pays for your accommodation and course fees) for SEPnet postgraduate researchers and travel expenses incurred can be claimed from your Physics Department.