Monthly Archives: November 2022

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.