Following the huge success of Interact 2017, the STFC, IOP and SEPnet, RSC, RAS, Ogden Trust and UCLan are co-hosting the event to develop an inspiring, challenging and refreshing programme on the following key themes:
Evaluation & Impact and REF 2021
Reaching under-served audiences
Sharing best and worst practice in a safe space
This event, which spans the physical and life sciences, offers something for everyone with an interest in improving their public engagement capabilities. It will provide a fantastic opportunity to learn new ways to engage with your audience, explore the barriers to engagement and discuss how the engagement landscape is changing. But above all, it will be a chance to share your experiences with like-minded people in a fun and friendly environment.
The detailed content of the day will be co-created and you will be able to vote on proposals by fellow delegates so get your thinking caps on!
UCLAN is a fantastic location with state of the art facilities, including a fully functioning laboratory for experimental demonstrations and activities, and a completely kitted-out performing arts facility including a dance stage.
The student-led conferences took place 21-23 March at the University of Southampton with over 60 delegates taking part in two parallel conferences:
Advances in High Energy Physics and Cosmology led by Simon King at the University of Southampton
From Micrometres to Megaparsecs” organised by Justyn Campbell-White from the University of Kent.
Simon King shares his views on why he wanted to organise a conference for postgraduate research students and the skills he acquired during the process:
“When I was presented with the opportunity to organise my own conference in high energy physics, I was very keen to pursue it! I was not exactly sure what would be required, but I thought it would be a great occasion to participate in the other side of conferences than just attending (many of) them!
In practise, the vast majority of the work was undertaken by the fantastic Cristobel Soares-Smith, GRADnet Administrator, who was in charge of all of the practical aspects which allowed me to focus on the scientific programme.
Me (and my co-organiser on the astronomy department) Justyn Campbell-White were the lead organisers of our respective conferences, but not without help from many other students! I would like to personally thank Sonali Mohapatra, Jack Setford and Alex Titterton for their help in finding scientific speakers and shaping the conference to what it was. There were many unexpected challenges, including dealing with last-minute changes to the programme, and trying to satisfy all participants from a wide variety of fields; but I think this was a success. Many thanks to the invited speakers who did an excellent job of providing a general introduction to their respective topics, and to the students who did a wonderful job explaining their current research.
The whole conference went very smoothly, and it was a fantastic opportunity to practise skills required for a career in academia beyond publishing papers. I am very thankful to GRADnet, and Cristobel for allowing me this opportunity and I would highly recommend it to any PhD student!”
“The student led conference Advances in High Energy Physics and Cosmology was exciting and varied. The balance of student talks to invited speakers was ideal as both a networking opportunity and as an inviting atmosphere in which to present PhD research. I was unfortunately unable to give a talk myself, however I’ve been inspired by the organisers dedication to providing an excellent experience and would very much like to organise such a conference myself! Also Cristobel is amazing.” (Azaria Coupe, third year PhD student at the University of Southampton)
See “From Micrometres to Megaparsecs” conference Twitter feed here.
This year’s Winter School, entitled “Building your leadership potential”, took place on the 14-16 February 2018 at Cumberland Lodge. The former royal residence set in the heart of Windsor Great Park was host to 25 postgraduate students who enjoyed being immersed in its fascinating history dating back to the 17th century.
The 3-day residential school focussed on the skills required for effective leadership and team-working. Different leadership styles were explored and each student attendee was given the opportunity to have their preferred team-working style evaluated using the Belbin model.
The core activity involved Columbia’s fatal final mission. The multi-media case tracks the Columbia Space Shuttle mission from launch as NASA engineers and leaders sought to understand the nature and threat associated with an anomaly that occurred on launch. Participants were given an opportunity to analyse the case using materials supplied by NASA under the guidance of Dr Trevor Long, Consultant.
Thank you to Alys Brett Data and Coding Team Leader, Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, Jan-Theodoor Janssen, Head of Science for SI Metrology, National Physical Laboratory and John Wells, VP Engineering, Leonardo Air and Space Systems Division, who participated in the employer panel session.
Students also had an opportunity to hear from the finalists of the Enterprising Ideas Competition during a “Physics Means Business” networking evening. Congratulations to the winners, Royal Holloway University of London who had a team of both undergraduate and postgraduates. Thank you to Elaine Hickmott, Elaine Hickmott Enterprises for leading the entrepreneurship training and running the 2017-18 competition.
A PGR from the University of Sussex said, “I really enjoyed the programme. It was varied and interesting. I liked the mix of presentation and workshop and having networking/discussion panels with employers was useful.”
Thank you to Trevor Long, Trevor Long Consultancy who ran the workshop, Veronica Benson, SEPnet Employer Liaison Director and Kay Pearson, Employer Engagement Advisor, for offering feedback and finally Cristobel Soares-Smith, Graduate Network Administrator for organising the event.
GRADnet held their first “Moving forward for second years” event on Wednesday 18 October in London which was attended by over 65 postgraduate researchers.
There were workshops on: Creating impact, How to write a successful fellowship application, Research data management, Unconscious bias and Writing better software for better research.
Thank you to all our speakers, Julia Shalet, Product Doctor, Professor Peter McDonald, University of Surrey and GRADnet Director, Juan Bicarregui, Science & Technology Facilities Council, Dr Alice Motes, University of Surrey, Professor Averil MacDonald OBE, SEPnet Diversity and Impact Lead and Dr Mike Jackson, Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre.
Feedback from delegates was very positive. Comments received:
“Interactive, fun, insightful, inspiring – challenged the ideas we had, made us think about real world application”
“Fantastic as I think it dealt with some of the fundamental problems I have in communicating my research in a concise manner.”
“I learned that bias is far more ingrained in our minds than I previously imagined….Overall, it raised my awareness of the subject which I very much appreciate.”
The GRADnet Induction Day was held on Wednesday, 25 October in London and attended by 120 first year postgraduate students from across SEPnet.
Workshops on LaTeX, MATLAB, Python, IOP Getting your research published and Organising meetings and conferences were run in parallel during the morning and afternoon.
Thank you to our speakers Dr Dave Faux, University of Surrey, Dr Tim Kinnear, University of Kent, Professor Peter McDonald, University of Surrey and GRADnet Director, Simon Harris and Tom Sharpe, Institute of Physics – Publishing and Mrs Kay, Pearson, University of Surrey.
Feedback from delegates was very positive. Comments included:
“It was very good to get someone working in the industry to share their knowledge”
LaTeX: “Worked well doing the exercises in chunks with supplied coding….”
“Very nice and interactive session. I enjoyed group work and the time allocated for the exercises as appropriate. Very useful tips about organising a meeting/conference.”
Delegates were introduced to the forthcoming GRADnet events taking place during this academic year.
SEPnet hopes to run the same event for first year postgraduates in October 2018.
GRADnet is pleased to announce its programme of physics postgraduate researcher training for the next academic year. The programme for the year can be downloaded here: GRADnet Brochure 2017-18 Final
We have developed yet another comprehensive programme for 2017/18 comprising a mix of academic physics workshops and student-led conferences; residential schools with real life industrial content, leadership and professional skills training; targeted professional skills modules and more peer-learning opportunities.
This year, GRADnet is focussing on the following residential workshops in the following research themes of its partner physics departments. For 2017/18 we are offering:
Numerical Modelling in Condensed Matter (14-16 January 2018)
For some of these events we will return to the Old Thorns Manor Hotel which offers impressive leisure facilities in the middle of our region.
For Second Year PGRs
The whole programme kicks off with “Moving Forward for Second Years” training on 18th October in central London. The training day includes the following workshops:
How to write a successful fellowship application
Research data management
Writing better software for research
For First Year PGRs
For the second year running there will be a GRADnet Induction Day on 25th October in central London. The Induction will include a choice of workshops for new PhD students:
Introduction to LaTeX
Python for beginners and more advanced users
Introduction to MATlab
Getting your research published
Organising meetings and conferences
Induction Day 2016
For all PGRs
The Winter School in 2018 at Cumberland Lodge (14-16 February) focuses entirely on the 2003NASA Columbia disaster: a popular case-study element of last year’s school. It takes students through exercises in leadership and team-working, skills rated highly by employers.
The 2018 Summer School at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex (2-5 July) explores suggestions to “What can I do with my PhD?”– this is a mix of employer-led workshops and consultancy challenges.
There will be a student-led conference covering Advances in High Energy Physics and Cosmology and From Micrometres to Megaparsecs. There will be cross-over lectures which are relevant to students of both particle physics and astronomy at the University of Southampton on 21-23 March 2018 and a one-day workshop on Science Communications Skills on 24th April 2018.
For more information on these courses and to register, logon to the GRADnet VRE.
Who: 2nd Year Physics PhD students. All SEPnet Departments expect all students to attend.
When:18 October 2017, 10.30-16.30
Where: Park Crescent Conference Centre, 229 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 5PN.
Deadline to register is 11 October 2017.
Numbers: This event is strongly recommended by all SEPnet partner Departments. Circa 100 students are expected to attend. Students are to sign up for two workshops on arrival and attend one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
What: A one-day training session, an opportunity to meet fellow researchers from across the network and to participate in two from five short workshops designed to get you started in key areas of activity.
Creating impact: Thinking about how to commercialise your research, or an idea, and turn it into an exploitable product or service? Perhaps you are interested in a career in business or knowing how businesses are created. Would you like to start thinking like an entrepreneur, or as someone that wants to change the world through innovation?
How to write a successful Fellowship Application: This workshop is aimed at those students who are considering an academic career. Most often this starts with a period of postdoctoral study during which the researcher is supported by a Fellowship. The workshop focusses on what is required to prepare a successful research council or similar fellowship application.
Research data management: Research data management is increasingly important in all fields of research. Presented by Research Council and University experts, this workshop asks what is required for good data management and examines some of the common problems and issues that researchers face.
Unconscious Bias: Almost no-one thinks that they are unconsciously biased. Yet white males and many non-white students perform less well in their degrees than white females – it could be due to bias in assessment systems – while females rarely get to the top of their profession – is this bias in the promotion systems? Something is going wrong if we don’t appoint and promote the best person for the job.
Writing better software for research: Whether you have 10 lines of shell script, 100 lines of R, or 10,000 lines of C, the quality of your research, and reproducibility of your results, depends upon the quality of your code. In this course, Mike Jackson from the EPCC (formerly Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre) explores the qualities of good code, discusses blockers, and presents practical tools and techniques that help you to write better code, in less time, and with less effort.
Travel expenses and refreshments are covered by SEPnet.
Registration Now Open!
We look forward to seeing you at the School!
Are you an experimental physicist? Are the lab gremlins getting you down? Does none of your data make sense? You could give up and end it all… but you should come to the QLM Summer School 2017! There are a limited number of places for PGRs from SEPnet institutions.
Now in its third year, the QLM Summer School is a chance to receive practical, hands-on advice to develop new skills, improve your lab productivity and kickstart your future career. Taking place at Bournemouth University Talbot Campus from the 30th August – 1st September 2017, we are offering a varied selection of talks, workshops and activities to help unleash your full scientific potential whether you’re just starting your PhD and feel completely lost, or approaching the end of your PhD… and feel completely lost!
Accommodation, travel to and from the summer school and meals are provided!
ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL GRADNET SUMMER SCHOOL AT NPL!!!
The fourth GRADnet Summer school took place on 3-6 July 2017 at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington, Middlesex. The school comprised a broad menu of workshops and challenges led by different employers designed to offer students an insight into opportunities beyond their PhD. A consultancy challenge took place on the last day and students worked in teams to create solutions using the skills they have learnt in their PhD.
AN EMPLOYER-LED PROGRAMME: Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Fourth State Medicine; IBM; Magnox; National Physical Laboratory; Oxford Instruments; RBA Acoustics; Things We Don’t Know; Surrey Satellite Technology Limited and WP Thompson.
SPEAKERS: Dr Paul Stevenson, Reader, University of Surrey; Jane Burston, Head of Climate and Environment, NPL and Dr Michael de Podesta, Principal Research Scientist, NPL.
Thank you to NPL staff in particular Richard Burguete and Gill Coggins from the Postgraduate Institute, Dr Julie Reeves, University of Southampton, Dr Laura Christie, Royal Holloway, University of London and Kay Pearson, SEPnet Employer Liaison Officer, University of Surrey and last but not least, Cristobel Soares-Smith, GRADnet Network Administrator for making this such a successful event!
WHAT THE STUDENTS SAID:
“This was a fantastic opportunity to work on a real problem. Getting to talk to a real employer about their project of choice and thinking how to solve this problem was very valuable.”
The most valuable thing they would take away from this year’s summer school was “knowledge and the value of careers outside the PhD. The number of interesting fields is limitless”.
“This has been a very good summer school, pitched at the appropriate level and a good base to meet fellow students!”.
WINNERS OF THE CONSULTANCY CHALLENGE:
Centre for Integrated Photonics (Huawei)
Team 1: William Evans, University of Sussex, Timothy Eales, University of Surrey, Tong Liu, Queen Mary University of London and Erika Cortese, University of Southampton with Michael Roberts, Research and Collaboration Manager, Centre for Integrated Photonics (Huawei).
Fourth State Medicine:
Team 2: Miroslav Mlejnek, University of Sussex, Katie Ley, Laila Gurgi, University of Surrey and Giulio Violino, University of Hertfordshire with Tom Harle, Chief Technology Officer, Fourth State Medicine.
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd:
Team 3: Joseph Allen, University of Surrey, Sam Rowley, James Richings and Azaria Coupe, University of Southampton.
People’s Choice: Nicola Abraham, University of Sussex, Filippo Contenta, Tom Coates, University of Surrey and Kerri Loughney, St Mary’s Twickenham with Peter Shaw, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited.
Congratulations to all the winners!
The Students also had great fun building water rockets after the barbecue:
Photographs from the Summer School are available here: