Monthly Archives: April 2023


SEPnet Diversity Workshop – Embedding diversity into the curriculum

Academics, EDI champions and PGRs gathered at SEPnet’s recent annual diversity workshop hosted by Royal Holloway University of London, to share experiences and discuss challenges in embedding diversity into the curriculum. Tinashe Verhaeghe, Equality Charter at Advance HE, explained the five race equality principles that underpin the charter. Researcher Annie Lennox shared results of their study on diversity within Space Science naming conventions maintained by the IAU. Olivia Keenan and Perl John described what is meant by decolonising the curriculum and how we are approaching decolonising across SEPnet. 

Helen Gleeson OBE, Cavendish Professor of Physics, University of Leeds, Institute of Physics advisor to Council for Inclusion and Diversity, provided a personal and professional perspective on encouraging diversity and facilitating inclusion in Physics, her role in providing advice and challenging Council and the IOP more widely on inclusion and diversity issues and details of the new Inclusion Model. Professor Laura Sjoberg, Head of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy at Royal Holloway, University of London provided an insight into Substantive, and Representational Diversity, the importance of offering alternative problem-solving techniques and attention to questions of epistemology that underlie traditional techniques, irrespective of their gender, ethnicity or social economic background.

To find out full details of the event click here.


Organising a student-led conference and the benefits!

Marta Podgórny, PhD researcher (She/Her) | MSc, AMRSC, MInstP, Organiser of the Open Dialogues across Physics and Astronomy 2023 Conference, School of Physical Sciences, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM), The Open University, Milton Keynes.

The aim of the Open Dialogues across Physics and Astronomy conference was to create a friendly atmosphere and encourage PhD students to start cross-discipline conversations. With physic-related and life-related discussion panels, the unique character of the first edition of this conference back in 2022 made me want to be involved in the organisation of this year’s Open Dialogues conference.

My main motivation was to keep that friendly atmosphere and give students a chance to present their work to a general physics audience. From quantum physics to astronomy and even physics education, everyone was able to find something interesting. Moreover, by giving the audience the possibility to anonymously comment on students’ talks, young researchers were able to improve their presentation skills and prepare for a more stressful, big international conference.

As an organiser of Open Dialogues, I had a chance to meet amazing people and share not only knowledge but also experience. I learned a lot about conference details that normally we don’t pay attention to and also how to organise and delegate work. I believe that this is a valuable experience for every PhD student and a great opportunity to feel fully responsible for a project without being supervised. The feeling of pride and fulfilment after the conference is definitely worth all the work.  Thank you to Cristobel Soares and for all her help and support during the organisation and to GRADnet for funding the event.

For details of both student-led conferences in March 2023 see below: