Yearly Archives: 2021


Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics, 7-10 April 2022, Glasgow – register by 14 January!!

The University of Glasgow is very pleased to host the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics on 7-10 April 2022.

CUWiP encourages female undergraduates to continue in physics by focusing on their development as a scientist and showcasing options for their educational and professional futures.

The 3-day conference programme includes presentations by distinguished women physicists on their cutting-edge research, personal career paths by inspirational women in academia, industry and the third sector and tours of laboratories or local sites of interest.

Additionally, there will be expert panels to answer questions on graduate study and career opportunities outside of academia, workshops on effective assertiveness, imposter syndrome and microaggression as well as plenty of networking opportunities.

The application site is now open and closes on 14 January 2022.


SEPnet Summer Placements 2022 – Do you have a project/work experience for a physics or maths undergraduate or PhD student?

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: by Friday 11 February. Email for further information.


Revisiting the Leaky Pipeline – short-term contracts and career planning – 5th Annual SEPnet EDI Workshop

SEPnet partner, University of Sussex, recently hosted a half-day online workshop to share good practice in addressing barriers to career progression for women and other under-represented groups in STEM with particular focus on the impact of short-term contracts on career choices on early career researchers (ECRs). The number of people from under-represented groups reduces at each career stage of the academic career path in physics and other STEM disciplines. This workshop focused on the postdoctoral phase of an ECR’s career and explored how the typical series of short-term contracts affects their career choices.

Professor Matthias Keller, head Sussex’s School of Physical Sciences EDI committee, chaired the event. Professor Kathy Romer, also at Sussex, focused on the challenges of managing a successful academic career including dealing with imposter syndrome, the expectation to move institutions (and countries), managing relationships and competing academic careers and dealing with childcare issues. Dr Gregory Ashton at Royal Holloway gave the early career researcher’s perspective highlighting some of the benefits around flexibility and opportunities to travel and gain broad experience and provided tips for ensuring job security and avoiding stagnation. He drew attention to the need for better structural support through clear policies, pointing out that ‘heroes are often examples of failed policy’.

Rana Marrington, ECR Career Consultant at Surrey discussed the value of mentors, the expectation that under-represented individuals are expected to ‘fit in’ and adapt to an existing culture which favours only a few and the benefits of the UKRI’s narrative CV which helps to recognise individuals’ broad skills and experience beyond research. She went on to highlight the benefits of unconscious bias training, transparent progression routes and the importance of having a team of personal and professional individuals on your side. Finally Annika Lohstroh, Lecturer and EDI lead in the School of Physical Sciences at the Open University, identified some of the steps needed to address these issues including the need to move beyond box ticking and truly embed inclusive working practices, clear incident report mechanisms and effective training for managers and supervisors.

Group discussions following the presentations included recommendations for mandatory training for supervisors in supporting their PhD students, addressing the top down culture within universities and regulations regarding processes that can hamper effective communication eg lack of transparency relating to career progression opportunities, complaints procedures etc.

To contribute to this discussion, request to join SEPnet’s Equality & Diversity Champions Network here: SEPnet Equality & Diversity Champions Network | Groups | LinkedIn. To sign up to SEPnet’s Diversity jiscmail group to share information on EDI events and initiatives, email


SEPnet Expo 2021 celebrates its summer placement students!

85 students showcased their summer placement projects through online presentations and posters to employers, academic tutors and peers at SEPnet’s 13th Expo and the 2nd online.

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 was delivered by Dr Mark Richards, Academic, Entrepreneur, Diversity Champion & DJ. An employer panel including representatives from Thales, ISIS Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, AP Sensing and TruLife Optics shared tips and advice with students on career opportunities and skills needs within their fields.

The IOP generously provided prizes for the 6 best posters. The winners included:
Naivasha Williams, University of Kent for her project ‘Monitoring changes in snowfall in Kyrgyzstan using satellite earth observation’ at eOpshere

Mary Sturch, University of Sussex for her project ‘Gamma Camera Calibrations for Molecular Radiotherapy Dosimetry’ at Royal Surrey County Hospital

Mariya Mollova, Royal Holloway for her project ‘Mutual coupling investigation by analysis of the S-parameters in a microstrip antenna’ at Aveillant

Sara Perez Vizan, Royal Holloway for her project ‘Design and Build of an Opto-mechanical Experimental Rig’ at Opsydia

Rosanne Hasan, Royal Holloway for her project ‘ATLAS High Level Trigger’ at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

Grainne Wrigley, University of Surrey, ‘Online Resources Development for Discovery Planet’ at University of Kent.

You can view the gallery of all the posters here: SEPnet Students’ Expo 2021 (

For more information about next year’s summer placement scheme email


GRADnet Induction Day welcomes new SEPnet PGRs

GRADnet welcomed over 100 new PGRs to their online induction day on Wednesday, 20 October 2021.  Dr Olivia Keenan, Acting SEPnet Executive Director and Outreach Director and Cristobel Soares, Graduate Network Manager, led the event with an introduction to what SEPnet is and what GRADnet has to offer postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers.

Thank you to Lukas Gunthermann, University of Sussex and Matthew Grayling, University of Southampton who gave presentations on their SEPnet PGR placement experience and the advantages of taking up such an opportunity during their PhD.

Attendees were invited to participate in the following workshops:

  • Intro to Basic Python and Intro to Scientific Python delivered by Dr Tim Kinnear, University of Kent
  • Science Communication Skills led by Dr Claudia Antolini, SEPnet/Ogden Senior Officer for Outreach and Public Engagement, Department of Physics, Royal Holloway, University of London and Hannah Tonry, SEPnet/Ogden Engagement Officer, Division of Natural Sciences, University of Kent
  • Understanding Software for Research delivered by Claire Hepwood, Royal Holloway, University of London

Thank you to our workshop leads for running these informative sessions online and dealing with challenges this entails.  Feedback from one of the attendees:  “It was a really good talk. Astonishing how much Tim could fit into one hour of introduction.”

GRADnet hopes to welcome the next cohort in October 2022 with a face to face event at One Park Crescent in London!


HE STEM Equality, Diversity & Inclusion – Revisiting the leaky pipeline – short-term contracts and career planning

5th Annual SEPnet Workshop – Wednesday 1 December 10.00 – 13.00
Hosted online by University of Sussex

The number of people from under-represented groups reduces at each career stage of the academic career path in physics and other STEM disciplines. This workshop focuses on the postdoctoral phase of an ECR’s career and explores how the typical series of short-term contracts affects their career choices and what can be done in support of ECRs.

While this issue affects all ECRs, the workshop will focus, in particular, on support for ECRs from under-represented groups. This event is aimed at ECR representatives, HE STEM staff responsible for diversity and inclusion including Athena SWAN, Project Juno and diversity champions, HR managers and academics.

10.00 Chair’s introduction
Professor Matthias Keller, University of Sussex

10.10 The challenges of an academic career in physics – overcoming the barriers to career progression
Professor Kathy Romer, University of Sussex

10:35 The effect of short-term contracts on career planning and choices: early career researcher perspective
Dr Gregory Ashton, Early Career Researcher, University of Portsmouth

11:00 Challenges and strategies for career management; supporting underrepresented groups and promoting EDI
Rana Marrington, Careers Consultant (Postgraduate & Early Career Researchers), Doctoral College, University of Surrey

11:25 Break

11:35 Short term contracts and career planning – what are the solutions? An HEI perspective
Dr Annika Lohstroh, Staff Tutor, School of Physical Sciences (SPS), The Open University

12:00 Breakout group discussions
12:30 Group feedback and panel discussion
13:00 Close of proceedings

The workshop is FREE to join. Places are limited. Please register for a place below on a first come, first served basis.

Revisiting the leaky pipeline – short-term contracts and career planning Tickets, Wed 1 Dec 2021 at 10:00 | Eventbrite



The annual Students’ Expo provides an opportunity for students to showcase their work through presentations and posters to over 120 employers, academic tutors and peers. This year over 80 undergraduate students secured industry and research placements and will present their posters at the Expo.

The event will include presentations from students about their projects and you will get a chance to view students’ posters before, during and after the event.

Prizes will be awarded for the best posters based on visual style, scientific content and effective communication.

The event is chaired by Professor Sir William Wakeham and we are delighted that this year’s keynote address will be delivered by Dr Mark Richards – Academic, Entrepreneur, Diversity Champion & DJ.

For further details contact


Taking Control of Your Career as a Woman in Physics Wednesday 27 October 2021, 10.00–12.00 IOP and SEPnet joint online career panel

The Institute of Physics and SEPnet are holding an online careers webinar for university physics students (ie undergraduate, postgraduate and postgraduate research), as well as recent physics graduates working in a range of employment sectors.

Our half-day panel and networking event will give you a chance to find out the variety of career options available to physicists. You will hear from a diverse range of women with physics-related backgrounds who will talk about their roles and how they got to where they are. They will provide practical advice and information about the skills and experience you need to progress in your career.

Places are limited. Please book IOP-SEPnet Joint Webinar: Taking control of your career as a woman in physics ( as soon as possible to guarantee your place!


Tracey Berry, Senior Lecturer in Physics, Royal Holloway University of London
Rhiann Canavan, Scientific Project Manager, Crossfield Fusion
Azaria Coupe, Associate Scientist, QinetiQ
Katie Ley, Communications Manager, Sopra Steria
Charlotte Massey, Strategy Development Manager Net-zero Ecosystems, National Physical Laboratory
Heather McAslan, Data Science Lead, InCrowd
Chantal Nobs, Senior Radiometric Researcher, UKAEA
Sam Weston, SEPnet Outreach Officer, University of Surrey


SME-DTN Online Sandpit Event on Defence and Security

SEPnet’s SME-DTN funded by Research England Development Fund held their second online sandpit on Wednesday, 15 September 2021. Led by Professor Stephen Sweeney, Academic Lead, University of Surrey and Cristobel Soares, Project Manager for the SME-DTN, the aim of this event was to explore industry relevant collaborative PhD research projects in defence and security.

Thank you to our industry partners Airbus, AWE, DSTL, the National Physical Laboratory, Quantum Dice and Thales who attended the sandpit event.  Representatives from each company presented their research problems to SEPnet academics to identify synergies and  viable future PhD research projects.

Research England Development Fund is supporting this scheme and providing funding for 12 PhD projects from 2020-2024.  If you are a small, medium or large company and would like to collaborate with a SEPnet institution in developing an industry relevant PhD research project in physics, engineering or computer science  please visit: for further information or email