Connecting Industry and Researchers – what a PhD graduate learned from our recent GRADnet networking event at Surrey.
On the 9th of June 2016, GRADnet held the fifth in a series of “Meet the Employers” events in which Physics and Astronomy Postgraduates and Researchers meet with regional and national employers.
The recent Surrey event was a great occasion to hear about a wide array of opportunities in physics-related industries – from medical diagnostics to satellite systems – and to get invaluable advice from employers. There are many R&D roles in industry where a company needs problems solved eg product design, creating innovative methods of quality testing etc. Companies need people who can develop analysis techniques to make sense of data and physics postgraduates can offer these skills.
Employers don’t necessarily expect you to have the expertise required for a specific job role. They need people able to research new techniques, to be curious and flexible and to learn fast – familiar territory for postgraduate researchers who have to cope with fast-paced, unpredictable situations during their PhD. Employers want good problem-solvers. They want to know what challenges you have overcome during your PhD and what you have gained – both technical knowledge and skills. Perseverance and resilience are highly valued.
In applied physics, the word ‘engineer’ is often used in a job description but physicists should not be discouraged from applying – it is likely you already have the skills required! It is really important to find out what are you passionate about because enthusiasm and passion will shine through any role you choose. Talking to experts from the field can help you to identify ‘what makes you tick’.
The event was a great success and we’re now planning the next one at the University of Hertfordshire on October 19th.