All posts by Cristobel Soares


The Future of Quantum Computing Lecture on 12 July 2023

Public Lecture: The future of quantum computing, by Oliver Dial, Chief Technology Officer, IBM Quantum

Who:  All welcome!

What: Public Lecture: The future of quantum computing, by Oliver Dial, Chief Technology Officer, IBM Quantum

When: 7:00pm 12 July, 2023

Where: Clore Lecture Theatre, Huxley Building, Imperial College, London

Oliver Dial, CTO of IBM Quantum will speak about the challenges, the science and the technological potential of quantum computing. He is the Chief Quantum Hardware Architect Technology Officer at IBM Quantum in New York, an IBM Fellow well known for his work in on large superconducting quantum processors, leading the development of IBM’s first 20- qubit quantum processor.

All welcome: the talk is free but you need a ticket. Register here by 7 July.

Click to access Oliver_dial_flyerQR.pdf


Condensed Matter Physics in the City 2023: “Quantum Materials: Information and Technology” 10-14 July

Registration now open for Condensed Matter Physics in the City 2023: “Quantum Materials: Information and Technology

Who: This conference is open to all PhD researchers and early career postdocs

What: Condensed Matter Physics in the City 2023: “Quantum Materials: Information and Technology

When: 10-14 July 2023Hybrid mode, with talks delivered in-person at our London venue (Roberts Building, Room 508, UCL) and online on Zoom.

Where: University College London,  WC1E 6BT, Roberts Building, Room 508

We acknowledge gratefully funding from ICAM and Institute of Physics.  We proudly announce a great line-up of confirmed Speakers: 

  • Sasha Balatsky (Nordita/U Connecticut)
  • Erez Berg (Weizmann)
  • Tony Carrington (Bristol)
  • Amalia Coldea (Oxford)
  • Oliver Dial (IBM Yorktown)
  • Shuqiu Wang (Oxford)
  • Pablo Jarrillo-Herrero  (MIT)
  • Vidya Madhavan (UIUC)
  • Jegeun Park (Seoul National University)
  • Aline Ramires (PSI)
  • Joaquín Fernández Rossier (INL, Portugal)
  • Frank Schindler (Imperial College and Princeton)
  • Steve Simon (Oxford)
  • Ashvin Vishwanath (Harvard)

A provisional schedule for the meeting is now available here. In addition to the scientific program, there will be a public evening lecture on 12 July (speaker: Oliver Dial; venue Clore Lecture Theatre, Huxley Building, Imperial College London). More details later.

Register here:

Please note that there is a registration fee of £10 to complete the registration (see above website for more info). Junior Scientists (PhD students and early career postdocs – within 5 years of getting the PhD) may request financial support, with preference for participants from ICAM nodes. Deadline for funding applications (part of registration process) will be on 9 June 2023. More details are on the registration webpage linked above.

We will consider contributed submissions from Junior Scientists made by 19 June 2023 for contributed talks. Please have an abstract and a short one-slide presentation to hand should you wish to apply for one. Please look for more details on the registration webpage linked above.

You can find further information on confirmed speakers and other useful information on our conference website:


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.


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.”


Call for SEPnet Summer Placements 2023

SEPnet Summer Placements 2023

Do you have a project/work experience for a physics or maths undergraduate or PhD student?

SEPnet (South East Physics Network) is a consortium of university physics departments – Hertfordshire, Kent, Portsmouth, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, Southampton, Surrey, Sussex and Open University.

The scheme

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

Email Michelle Limbert for further information or for an informal chat about the scheme.


SEPnet Employer Engagement Officer Role

School of Physics & Astronomy

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   £32,348 to £39,745 Pro rata per annum
Part Time 17.5 hpw Permanent
Closing Date:  Friday 23 December 2022
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  2074722WF

You will be based within the School of Physics and Astronomy, actively engaging with industry to develop and maintain a regional and national employer partnership network, which will enhance the employability of Physics graduates and meet the needs of employers. This will include the delivery, at Southampton, of the collaborative regional SEPnet* Employer Engagement programme, with a focus on organising the student placement scheme and physics-specific careers sessions for Southampton students. The role includes championing our students to employers and working with university careers and placement services.

*The South East Physics Network SEPnet is a network of nine universities in the South East of England, working together to deliver excellence in physics. It formed in 2008 and is overseen by senior representatives of the member universities and external advisors.

You will work under the guidance of the SEPnet Employer Liaison Directors and the Head of Physics and Astronomy.

This is a permanent post offered on a part-time basis (0.5FTE) with a flexible working pattern.

To make the most of this incredible opportunity, you will need skill level equivalent to the achievement of HND, Degree, NVQ4 or basic professional qualification in science or engineering discipline or equivalent industry experience. You will have great communication skills with the ability to engage both students and external partners.

Committed to tackling gender inequality, the School of Physics and Astronomy is Athena SWAN silver award recognised. We are particularly determined to address the under-representation of women in Physics and Astronomy, so we are delighted to have been awarded Project Juno Champion status.

We are committed to all of our staff achieving a healthy work-life balance, with flexible working hours available. With a generous benefits package that includes a contributory pension scheme, competitive holiday allowance, subsidised health and fitness facilities, a cycle-to-work scheme and a range of discounts, this is a place where you are sure to excel.

To take this fascinating next step in your career, informal enquiries to our Head of Physics and Astronomy, Prof Mark Sullivan on are very welcome.

Application Procedure 

You should submit your completed online application form at Please also upload a full CV. The application deadline will be midnight on the closing date stated above. If you need any assistance, please contact Michelle (HR Recruitment Team) on +44 (0) 23 8059 2750 or email  Please quote reference 2074722WF on all correspondence. 


SME-DTN success features in NCUB Report 2022

The National Centre for Universities and Business presented their State of Relationship Report 2022 on 1st December and delighted to announce they published our case study on the success of SEPnet’s SME-DTN collaborative PhD scheme funded by Research England Development Fund.  See here for a copy of the report and our case study appears on page 41.

Having faced many challenges and issues launching this scheme during a pandemic, with the commitment and support of SEPnet HEIs, employer contacts and RED Fund, we now have 8 industry-relevant PhD projects underway!

Our list of amazing and innovative PhD projects: can be found here: SME-DTN PhD Scholarships October 2021-2022 – SEPnet

Looking forward to working with our new PhD students!