All posts by Veronica Benson

20Nov/20

SEPnet Expo Celebrates Students’ Placement Success

62 students showcased their summer placement projects through online presentations and posters to employers, academic tutors and peers at SEPnet’s 12th Expo and the first online.

Students described a range of varied and exciting projects with large and small employers across different industries and research areas including data science, engineering, energy, IT, satellite communication, defence and scientific research.

The event was chaired by Professor Sir William Wakeham and the keynote address was delivered by Dr Bajram Zeqiri, NPL Fellow in Ultrasound at National Physical Laboratory.

The IOP generously provided prizes for the 6 best posters. The winners included:
Katarzyna Nowak of University of Hertfordshire for ‘A bump in the outskirts of the Milky Way’s most massive satellite’ at University of Surrey;

Reiss Pickett, Open University & Megan Stevens, University of Southampton for ‘Classifying Conversations Using Voice To Text Technology’ at Trackback;

Sofia Kalamantianou, Queen Mary University and Dragos Buculei & Billy Vale, University of Surrey for ‘Live Satellite Tracking and Orbit Pass Prediction’ at Lumi Space;

Abigail Hemming, Royal Holloway University for ‘Control and Automation of a Compact Fusion Reactor’ at Crossfield Fusion Ltd;

Tomoyuki Jinno, Royal Holloway University for ‘Named Entity Recognition for Resumes’ at MeVitae and

Sai Pandian, University of Southampton for ‘Machine Learning for Long Term Event Classification’ at AP Sensing.

You can view the gallery of posters here: https://sway.office.com/tvy2DpRlk7DMyeMc

For more information about next year’s summer placement scheme email summerplacements@sepnet.ac.uk

09Nov/20

SEPnet STUDENTS’ EXPO WEBINAR – WEDNESDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2020, 09.30 – 13.00

The annual Students’ Expo provides an opportunity for summer placement students to showcase their work through presentations and posters to over 120 employers, academic tutors and peers. This will be the 12th Expo and the first online.

This year 62 undergraduate placements took place (compared with 74 last year). This is a tremendous achievement given the unprecedented situation. We are very grateful to all the organisations and supervisors for their flexibility and support and congratulate the students for their resilience and ability to cope with such uncertainty and adapt so quickly to a different way of working. They have demonstrated exactly the sort of skills and attitudes that employers value!  

As always students have had a range of interesting placements, many of them home-based, with a variety of large and small employers across different industries and research areas including data science, engineering, energy, IT, satellite communication, defence and scientific research.

The half-day webinar will include presentations from students about their projects and an online poster gallery where attendees can view students’ posters before, during and after the event. You can view the gallery here: https://sway.office.com/tvy2DpRlk7DMyeMc

The event is chaired by Professor Sir William Wakeham and we are delighted that this year’s keynote address will be delivered by Dr Bajram Zeqiri, NPL Fellow in Ultrasound at National Physical Laboratory.

For more information email summerplacements@sepnet.ac.uk

04Nov/20

Improving our research culture – Research Culture Week, 16-20 November, University of Surrey

Although academic research is an exciting endeavour we are witnessing a growing discontent with the culture within academia, with recent findings (e.g.https://wellcome.org/reports/what-researchers-think-about-research-culture) showing high levels of stress, mental health problems, discrimination, bullying, work pressure and harassment among researchers.

University of Surrey is organising a series of talks from 16-20 November during the Research Culture Week with experts who will address some of the above issues to help improve our research culture in a holistic fashion. There will be two talks per day with outstanding speakers including Angela Saini, Gelong Thubten and Jim Al-Khalili. Find out more on our webpage:
https://surreyreach.github.io/

Registration is free of charge via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/surrey-reach-research-culture-week-tickets-124385021949

28Oct/20

Taking control of your career as a woman in physics – Wednesday, 9 December 2020, 10.00–13.00

A IOP and SEPnet Joint Webinar

The Institute of Physics and SEPnet are holding an online careers webinar for women and non-binary physics students (i.e. undergraduate, postgraduate and postgraduate research), as well as recent physics graduates working in a range of employment sectors.

Our half-day panel and networking event will give you a chance to find out the variety of career options available to physicists. You will hear from a diverse range of women in physics-related careers who will talk about their roles and how they got to where they are. They will provide practical advice and information about the skills and experience you need to progress in your career.

This event is open to IOP members and non-members. To register for a place, please click here: http://iop.msgfocus.com/q/119Ae11xyIfK/wv

07Oct/20

SEPnet Diversity Webinar: Nurturing community & belonging – particularly during Covid-19

Wednesday 2 December 2020, 10.00 – 13.00   Hosted by University of Kent

Building an inclusive community within universities where students and staff feel heard and supported is more important than ever in the current climate. Universities need to consider the impact of remote working and studying as well as dealing with future uncertainty for different groups including, for example, 1st generation students, those from different BAME backgrounds and those with physical and mental health issues. Early career researchers can be forgotten and feel a lack of empowerment and anxiety about their future. Understanding how different groups engage with their working and learning environment is key to helping them feel a sense of belonging and enabling them to achieve their potential.

This annual workshop will explore how we can engage students and support early career researchers through specific interventions aimed at addressing these challenges. This event is aimed at all STEM staff, PGRs and student representatives and those responsible for diversity and inclusion including Project Juno and diversity champions, Athena SWAN representatives, HR managers and academics.

The webinar is FREE to attend. Places are limited. Please register for a place here on a first come, first served basis.

PROGRAMME
10.00 Chair’s Introduction – Professor, Nigel Mason, Head of School and E&D Committee

10.15 The effect of online/remote learning on widening participating students,
Amy Low, Service Delivery Director, AbilityNet

10.40 Understanding attainment differentials at a London-based university: student engagement through a mixed-method lens,
Dr Diego Bunge, Independent Researcher and Dr Daniel Hartley, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

11.05 Early Career Researcher Mental Health in Academia,
Dr Zoë Ayres, Research Scientist and Mental Health Advocate

11.30 Panel discussion
11.50 Break
12.05 Breakout group discussions
12.35 Summary and questions
13.00 Close of proceedings

02Oct/20

SEPnet launches new careers resource for schools!

We have developed a set of careers postcards showcasing a range of careers which use physics qualifications or skills. These highlight employers in the SEPnet region which offer relevant roles and give information on the levels of qualifications needed.

The new Gatsby Careers Benchmarks, especially benchmark 4, highlight the expectation on teachers to embed careers into their classroom teaching. These cards are an easy way to introduce STEM careers into classrooms, and all are mapped to the KS3 curriculum.

We owe a huge thanks to NUSTEM as these were developed based on NUSTEM resources, and they have been fantastically generous and supportive throughout the process. We have utilised the 15 STEM attributes laid out by NUSTEM, based on previous work of the WISE Campaign and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

We are also very grateful for the support of all the organisations who have contributed including: AWE, Brady Mallalieu Architects, CGG, Fat Fish Games, Forest Learning Alliance, Framestore, Jacobs, The Met Office, Millais Alliance, NPL, RSSL, Surrey Satellite Technology, Thames Water and University of Surrey.

The cards are available to download and print for free here. If you would like any more information about the cards, or advice on how to use them, please email outreach@sepnet.ac.uk.

28Aug/20

Inspirational EDI Online Workshops for Staff, ECRs and Students!

Professor Averil Macdonald OBE, Diversity & Inclusion Consultant and former SEPnet Diversity Lead, has developed a set of 7 short (50 min max) inspirational online (Zoom) EDI workshops for students, ECRs, academics and professional staff respectively.

Trialled at Birmingham and Southampton with very positive feedback, these sessions are now available to other universities to roll out across departments and are a great way of developing stimulating discussion, sharing good practice and creating effective support communities between students, ECRs and staff across departments especially while working away from campus.

Sessions include:
• Micro-aggressions: a risk for everyone – UB workshop set in the academic context for all staff covering recruitment, teaching, research and staffing strategy.
• The Language Trap: how to recruit the best – this talk explains how language and vocabulary can make a difference – for all staff
• Taking the Chair – training offering tools to manage meetings well (and not to be overlooked)
• Top Tips for Success- it’s never too late! – workshop for anyone – academic & professional services staff- at any age.
• Making it Fair: navigating university and more in an unfair world – training for u/g & p/g students to see how to progress at uni and beyond
• Keeping it Fair: keeping your teaching fair for everyone – UB training for PhD students and ECRs covering teaching / supervision and job applications
• Top Tips – finding the job you were born to do – student workshop, especially effective for female students, covering how to take the next steps into a career.

For more information, please contact a.m.macdonald@bham.ac.uk

31Jul/20

From physics degree to graduate work – SEPnet & WRIPA’s recent webinar discusses the challenges for graduate employability in the current climate

Over 80 academics, careers professionals and industry representatives joined SEPnet and WRIPA’s webinar on embedding employability to discuss the mobility of physics graduates’ and how to develop their career-ready mindset – particularly in the current challenging climate.

Presenters included Brooke Storer-Church of Office for Students, Charlie Ball of Prospects; academics Al Buckley at University of Sheffield, Mike Edwards at Keele University, Sinead D’Silva from Universidade de Lisboa and Samantha Pugh at Leeds. Professor Sir William Wakeham chaired the event. The presenters were joined by a panel of employers – Rikki Douglas, Ultra Energy; Adrian King, AWE; Riham Satti, MeVitae and Bill Stafford, BAE Systems.

Some of the key points arising from the discussion included:
• Hard to fill graduate roles persist in programming, software development and engineering and this is not expected to change post-COVID-19.
• Employers report graduate vacancies are hard to fill due to candidates lacking technical/practical skills including complex problem-solving skills; complex numerical or statistical skills and role-specific specialist skills. High-level communication skills was also highlighted as an area where STEM/physics graduates need to improve.
• Approximately 85% of physics students study within 100km of home and about 65% end up working within 20km of home
• ‘Physics Stayers’ do really well in terms of graduate-level work. (A ‘Stayer’ travels to a different region from their domiciled address to study and remains in the same region to work).
• “Science ego” (a combination of science capital (influences at home), feeling of belonging and knowledge that studying physics makes you highly employable) can work against students who feel they do not have to work on their employability skills.

You can view the presentations here: D’Silva and Pugh-WRIPA_SEPnet 23 July SEPnet WRIPA Storer-Church MEdwards Presentation Slides  WRIPA presentation_AB  SEPnet 230720_Charlie Ball

A fuller report will be made available to attendees at a later date.  For more information contact employerengagement@sepnet.ac.uk

20Jul/20

SEPnet launches new model for SME collaborative PhD studentships!

Following the success of SEPnet’s PhD SME Consortium in Radiation Detectors (RADnet), SEPnet has successfully won a £370k funding bid from the Research England Development (RED) fund to roll out collaborative PhDs with SMEs. The collaborative project will be led by University of Surrey.

Funding a PhD with a university can be an effective way of conducting research but the cost of research for knowledge-based SMEs can be prohibitive. By building collaborative networks we are able to create a critical mass of research to support both regional activity and national science priorities.

The aim is to recruit a total of 12 PhDs over 3.5 years. As well as radiation detectors, we will explore developing projects related to condensed matter, numerical modelling, simulation and gaming, data science, quantum technologies, medical imaging, photonic materials and sensors – all areas where SEPnet universities have expertise.

This scheme will enable companies to share the costs of PhD studentships with university partners and government funding. Companies will work with academics to shape the projects to ensure that work carried out is in line with each company’s business strategy. SMEs will have regular contact with the academics and the student throughout the 3.5 year programme to ensure the research remains relevant to their needs.

The project is scheduled to start this summer. A part-time project manager will be recruited to coordinate the programme. The first PhD students will be recruited in 2021.

For more information contact Veronica.Benson@sepnet.ac.uk

25Jun/20

SEPnet Career Development Webinar for Physics and Maths Students – Marketing Yourself using the Power of LinkedIn

Thursday 16 July, 12.00 – 13.00

Now is a great time to focus on identifying your employability skills. This session will help you understand the skills you’ve gained on your course and in extra-curricular activities and how to show evidence of these in your social media profile.

This is an interactive webinar for physics and maths undergraduate and postgraduate students and will cover:
• How to create a winning profile
• How to develop your personal brand
• How to actively engage with LinkedIn

It would be helpful to set up a LinkedIn profile beforehand so you can work on it during the session.

Hosted by Jenika Karsan, a physics postgraduate, analytics and marketing consultant. Jenika has a strong background in the in financial sector and has worked for a number of years with SEPnet, recruiting students for placements and presenting at SEPnet employability events.

Places are limited. If you would like to join this Zoom webinar, please email employerengagement@sepnet.ac.uk for further details and instructions for how to join the meeting.