Yearly Archives: 2023


Topological states in solid-state devices as a resource for quantum computing workshop 4-5 May 2023

The Topological states in solid-state devices as a resource for quantum computing workshop is taking place on 4-5 May 2023 in Oak Suite 1 & 2, Stag Hill Campus, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey. This workshop is in collaboration with the University of Surrey and Imperial College London and funded by SEPnet.

Dr Malcom Connolly, Imperial College London and Dr Eran Ginossar, University of Surrey will be hosting a dinner for the invited speakers on 3 May in central London.  Malcom will be giving a tour of his laboratory the following morning and all the speakers will join the student delegates at lunchtime in Guildford.

The 2-day event will include the following talks and workshop dinner for both invited speakers and student delegates:

Thursday, 4 May:

  • Jaewoo Joo & Eran Ginossar: Ice breaker followed by Introductory talks
  • Steven Simon: Topologically Ordered Matter and Why You Should Be Interested
  • Andrew Higginbotham: Routes and challenges for engineering exotic superconductivity in hybrid structures
  • Kristof Moors: Modelling topological material-based hybrid devices for quantum applications
  • Craig Knox: Where’s the surface? Topological Insulator materials and devices
  • Erwann Bocquillon: Microwave transport in HgTe topological insulators

Friday, 5 May

  • Eytan Grosfeld: Signatures of Andreev and Majorana Excitations in Hybrid Superconducting Circuits
  • Guanzhong Wang: Minimal Kitaev chains using coupled quantum dots in nanowires
  • Delegates 2-minute presentations
  • Beatriz Perez: Engineering topological phases with classical and quantum light
  • Mathieu Delbecq: Zero energy states clustering in an elemental nanowire coupled to a superconductor
  • Malcolm Connolly and Eran Ginossar: Research themes at ICL and Surrey

Thank you to Dr Eran Ginossar, University of Surrey and Dr Malcolm Connolly, Imperial College London for organising such a comprehensive programme on behalf of GRADnet.


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:


Student-led Conferences 2023

The Student-led Conferences took place 27-29 March 2023 at the Open University and Kents Hill Park Conference and Training Centre in Milton Keynes.  The parallel conferences this year were:

Over 45 delegates attended the conferences and welcomed the opportunity to network at the welcome drinks on the first evening and conference dinner on the second night.  Delegates were treated to an array of inspiring talks, posters, and cross-discipline panel discussions.  Visit the links above for full programme details book of abstracts.

Thank you to all the invited speakers:

Catxere Casacio, University of Surrey
Payel Das, University of Surrey
Alyssa Drake, University of Hertfordshire
Pierre Ghesquierre, Michelin
Vincent Graves, The Open University
Zhen Guo, Universidad de Valparaiso, Nucleo Milenio de Formacion Planetaria (NPF)
Charanjit Kaur, University of Manchester
Stacy Kim, University of Surrey
Michael Kuhn, University of Hertfordshire
Annika Lohstroh, VacuTec Meßtechnik GmbH
Rob Yates, University of Hertfordshire

Well done to Katarzyna Nowak, University of Hertfordshire and Marta Podgorny, The Open University and their committee members for organising two successful student-led conferences.

The call for proposals for next years student-led conferences will be in October 2023.



International Women’s Day 2023 campaign theme: #EmbraceEquity

For International Women’s Day and beyond, let’s all fully #EmbraceEquity. Equity isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.  A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society’s DNA. And it’s critical to understand the difference between equity and equality.

The aim of the IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme is to get the world talking about Why equal opportunities aren’t enough. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action.  All IWD activity is valid, that’s what makes IWD inclusive.

So give equity a huge embrace:

See how our SEPnet partners are celebrating IWD2023:  Herts; Kent; The Open; Portsmouth; QMUL; RHUL; Southampton;  Surrey; Sussex



Turning Science into Business: A really good idea!

Are you thinking about how to commercialise your research? Perhaps you already have an idea and want to get started? Or maybe you just want to get insights that will help you transition from academia into a business environment…

The hook to get SEPnet PGRs to attend a 2-day workshop on 15-17 February 2023 at the IOP, run by Julia Shalet, author of “The Really Good Idea Test” and an experienced innovator who has brought many new propositions to market.

Over the two days, delegates worked in teams with a real case study, taking a tried and tested step-by-step process to find a viable commercial opportunity. In their teams they were able to practise a set of common business skills that employers are looking for.

Thank you to Julia for sharing toolkits and stories from her experiences working with start-ups through to corporates.

Thank you to the following SEPnet employer contacts for joining us at the networking evening event on day one at the IOP in London: Yash Balaji, Nanofabrication Engineer, Oxford Quantum Circuits; Matt England, Trainee Patent Attorney, WP Thompson; Phil Goddard, Head of Data Science, Kindred Group; Rupert Mellor, Trainee Patent Attorney, WP Thompson; Mitchell Peaks; AMO Physicist, Quantum Engineer, Riverlane; Renuka Pothuraju, Nanofabrication Engineer, Oxford Quantum Circuits; Stuart Revell, RTACS;  Sam Rowley; Higher Data Scientist, BEIS; Durga Sankar, Founder & CEO, Arcus News and Rosh Sellahewa, Senior Manager, Deloitte.  Your insight and advice on working in industry was much appreciated by all attendees.

These workshops are always very highly rated and delegates particularly like how interactive and practical they are.

“Great workshop, really appreciated having the first day in person it made a huge difference to my ability to engage with the resources.”

“Julia was very engaging and personable, really made us feel welcome”

“Excellent workshop, clear, concise and interactive.”


Interact 2022 Roving Reporters Observations Published

Interact 2022 was held at City Hall in Cardiff on September 14th 2022. Interact is a series of biennial sympossia on Public Engagement in the Physical Sciences and are a space for researchers and engagement professionals to meet, share expertise, network, and promote best practice. The 2022 event was a fantastic return to the face to face format for the conference and was attended by 195 delegates across multiple universities, research institutions, outreach organisations, learned societies, industry partners and those from other sectors. Interact 2022 was co-organised by SEPnet, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Astronomical Society, the Ogden Trust and Cardiff University. 

For Interact 2022 we introduced the role of Roving Reporter and put a call out to delegates to apply for these paid positions. Roving Reporters were tasked with attending the conference as they would have done anyway, selecting the parallel sessions of their choice, and writing us a report summarising their experience of the conference and the content of the sessions they attended. This will serve as a record of the conference, enabling those who could not attend to engage with the conference content, and providing those who attended different parallel sessions to find out about those they couldn’t attend. 

A big thank you to our Roving Reporters for their hard work on the report: Stewart Eyres, Ghada Jameel, Claudia Antolini, Holly
Cave, Eliza Hunt and Emmy Amers. The report is available to read and download here


Physics World publishes SEPnet/WRIPA findings.

Physics World recently published an article on the “Future of Physics Degrees”. This joint SEPnet/WRIPA paper discusses the findings gathered through webinars across the Higher Education sector identifying five key questions that need to be answered when building a physics degree for the future.

Veronica Benson, Andrew Mizumori Hirst and William Wakeham explain why physics degrees need to be revamped so that physicists can better tackle these vital issues. Read the full article here.