SEPnet’s vision and aims

The partners in SEPnet are committed to a common vision and set of aims:

Vision: Working together to deliver excellence in physics




Advancing and Developing our Undergraduate Population

Engaging undergraduates with industry and its needs 

Engaging with industry to ensure physics graduates are qualified to meet employers’ skills needs through the delivery of summer placements, employer talks and site visits.

Ensuring progression and success for physics undergraduates into employment and research by developing their transferable skills and raising awareness of career opportunities.

Benefits: More SEPnet physics graduates into physics-related employment and research for the benefit of the UK economy.  Improved employment statistics will help SEPnet physics departments attract the best students.

Increasing the diversity of physicists / widening participation

Addressing the under-representation of women, ethnic minorities and students from low income families in the physics student population. Disseminating best practice amongst academics and outreach practitioners.

Benefits: improves social mobility and increases the quality of physics students and academic colleagues as SEPnet departments draw from the full talent pool.

Nurturing the UK’s future generations of physicists

Developing and growing SEPnet’s well-established outreach programme to schools. The core activities targeted at GCSE students will be strengthened to focus on current research. Over the next three years new evidence-based projects will be developed targeted at under-served audiences in physics of girls,  students from disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented ethnic minorities. SEPnet Outreach will also explore how best to support science at primary schools.

Benefits: improved diversity and quality of students applying for physics degrees, sustaining and growing undergraduate numbers.

Ensuring a quality physics education that is fit for purpose

Exploiting SEPnet’s academic and employer expertise to provide a regional voice to influence institutions developing, establishing, delivering and accrediting physics programmes. Sharing good practice on course and professional accreditation, standards for physicists, and employer needs. Delivering the latest research to teachers across the network though varied CPD sessions. Supporting institutions establishing courses combining teacher training and physics.

Benefits: provides shared expertise to help deliver an up-to-date and evolving undergraduate curriculum which keeps pace with industry and research skills needs.  Ensures best practice is shared to create innovative teaching programmes to attract the best students. Enhances physics as a profession. Ensures that teachers continue to identify themselves as physicists, making them part of local physics communities.


Outstanding Researcher Training

Breadth and Depth

Delivering an innovative, collaborative and world-beating graduate researcher physics training programme. The combined academic and facilities resources of the GRADnet partners ensure that the very broadest programme can be delivered spanning all fields within the discipline. The facilities available to SEPnet allow us to offer excellent experience through residential schools, workshops, lecture series as well as through innovative use of peer learning, video-conferencing and on-line delivery.

Benefits: improves employability statistics for PhD students and thus improves the number and calibre of applicants for PhD places. Improves opportunities for funding of cohorts of PhD students. Improves opportunities for the PhD students themselves.

Entrepreneurship, Professional Skills and Employer Engagement

Offering a highly developed professional skills development programme targeted at physics researchers as an integral part of GRADnet’s training programme. Actively promoting and enhancing researcher engagement with industry, developing the talent to address the national skills gap in scientific innovation and leadership. Encouraging entrepreneurship by providing opportunities for research students to build contacts through mentoring, industry consultancy challenges, networking events and industry placements. Producing STEM leaders of the future for the benefit of the wider UK economy. Increasing employer engagement with SEPnet HEIs to enhance students’ and researchers’ business awareness and skills and create opportunities for knowledge exchange. Offering short placements to research students to build knowledge of physics applications, develop skills and raise awareness of different career options.

Benefits: enhances the value of PhD courses, improves the employment prospects of  postgraduate research students, offers opportunities for research collaboration with industry and access to funding. Enhances industrial collaboration, increases funding opportunities for sustainability, raises awareness of the value of physics and physicists in industry. Improves employability , ensures physics students at all levels are better able to obtain graduate-level employment and that SEPnet physics departments attract the best students.

Early Career Researcher Development

Supporting PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and fellows offering access to skills training and development. Sharing best practice across the network on career development support for ECRs through SEPnet’s diversity strategy.

Benefits: contributes to culture change, improved morale and retention of research staff.

Research Communities

Facilitating building of physics research communities across partner institutions through GRADnet’s programme of workshops and SEPnet-supported studentships.

Benefits: facilitates collaboration in research; shared expertise and joint working improves competitiveness and grant attracting power .


Innovation through Research

Public Engagement with Research

Engaging the public with the latest research in physics, advocating innovative methods to bring the latest from our institutions to a variety of audiences.

Benefits: Promotes research activities. Improves public awareness of research. Encourages integration of physics departments within their local communities.  Increases the opportunities for impact in REF.

Developing Impact and Collaborative Research

Strengthening SEPnet research via a network-wide impact strategy that ensures effective knowledge exchange and delivery of a wide range of impacts from our research. Facilitating the collaboration and sharing of best practice in preparing for REF 2020.

Benefits: ensures impact opportunities are maximised, creates more grant-pulling opportunities. Aim to improve rankings of all SEPnet partners in the REF, increase the potential for more  funding.