Monthly Archives: December 2019


SEPnet Summer Placements 2020! 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 the Open University.

The scheme
SEPnet organises over 80 summer placements a year for physics and, now maths, students at the above universities and is seeking 8-week plus projects in industry or research in areas such as data analysis, mathematical modelling, 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
• Some funding available for SMEs
• Read our short case studies here

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…’.

For more information visit this page.  Register your placement project, or projects, online here by Friday 7 February. Early projects will be prioritised.


Building Inclusivity and Bridging the Attainment Gap

SEPnet’s 3rd annual diversity workshop, hosted by Surrey this week, focused on a  range of key issues facing universities today. Professor Averil Macdonald OBE led the day by describing the systemic barriers to attracting female and BAME students to do physics pre-16 and beyond and explained why equality of experience isn’t equality of opportunity. Peter Main, Head of Physics, King’s College London went on to challenge myths about the BAME attainment gap suggesting traditional explanations such as choice of curriculum and unconscious bias in assessment sit uncomfortably with recent data that show that attendance and attainment may be linked.

Alex Johl, Head of Operations for Student Experience and Wellbeing at Birmingham, reflected whether HE is making our students unwell and offered practical solutions for embedding wellbeing into the undergraduate, PGR and staff experience.  Empowering and supporting PhD students was the focus of discussion where ‘imposter syndrome’ can be a real barrier for some students. Noelia Noel in Astrophysics at Surrey suggested we need to change the medical practice approach of ‘I went through this so you should too’ and support students to share concerns about coping as well as giving them the option of leaving academia to pursue other careers without feeling they’ve failed.

Finally, Sally Jordan, Head of School and Josie Fraser, DVC at The Open University, gave practical advice for addressing lack of diversity at the top describing how choice of language in recruitment adverts can discourage women from applying for roles and setting an example to staff by adopting a healthy work life balance is crucial to changing a long hours culture.


IOP/SEPnet careers panel event for physics students gets very positive feedback!

IOP hosted an inspiring networking event for physics undergraduates and PhD students yesterday. Panellists from Centronic, Deloitte, Equiniti, University of Surrey, Queen Mary University, Santander, NPL, Leonardo, Micron Semiconductor and Science & Technology Facility Council shared their career journeys and offered valuable tips and advice.

Students loved the round-table format as it made networking less ‘scary’ and enjoyed hearing about the diverse range of career options open to them. They learned that it’s possible to move from academia to industry and that developing and recognising your transferable skills is key to success.

#physics #sepnet #iop