SEPnet Summer Placement Scheme – Information for Employers

Employer Engagement

Placement Case Studies

For Employers

SEPnet Summer Placement Scheme


Each year, SEPnet arranges for undergraduates in their 2nd and 3rd year to conduct eight week placements. The scheme not only provides a transfer of knowledge across the South East of England, it increases the employability of physics students too.

A two-way street

The scheme is highly rewarding to both students and employers. It introduces students to the scientific workplace and acts as an invaluable resource for employers looking for a fresh perspective on their business challenges.

Students receive £3,200 for an 8-week placement to cover their expenses. If you are able to fund a placement for a physics student, please contact:

Find out more

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 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
  • Funding available!

What employers have said:

‘Very satisfied with the whole process, organised, straightforward and very able 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. We have just made a permanent job offer to one of the students…’

SEPnet Annual Student Expo

Each year we celebrate physics students’ achievements at the SEPnet Students’ Expo held in London. The event offers students the opportunity to give presentations and display posters about their summer projects. Over 100 students, academics and employers attend this networking event to hear from inspirational industry speakers and visit employer stands.

Information for Employers


Could your business benefit from a bright and enthusiastic physics undergraduate this summer? As part of the SEPnet Summer Placement Scheme we are seeking employers to sponsor physics undergraduate students for approximately £3200 per student to conduct research or complete a project as work experience for a period of eight weeks during their summer break. Students will use the £3200 payment to cover their costs during this period. If you have a placement project which you think would be suitable for a physics student, please register your placement project and see below for further details. Register your placement project (or projects), online here:

A win-win situation

Simply provide a description of your placement, then, if your project is chosen by the SEPnet board, we will advertise your project to our pool of 1,700 2nd and 3rd year physics undergraduates and ask them to apply direct to you for the placement. We will support both you and the student to minimise your workload and ensure the process is as smooth as possible. Read about some of our students’ recent experiences here:

How it works

From the beginning of March, the details of selected projects will be advertised to eligible students through the SEPnet website and physics departments at SEPnet universities.

During March interested students will be invited to apply direct to you by sending their CV and a covering letter. You are then invited to select and interview students.

Any placements not filled will be advertised to applicants again in April.

Employers inform us of the successful student by end of April and all placements are filled by mid-May.

Placements take place from June to September although specific start and finish dates are mutually decided between you and the student. For further details on registering projects and dealing with student applications, take a look at the SEPnet Summer Placement Handbook 2023.

For an overview of the timelines involved in the summer placement scheme please see the Quick Guide to the right.

You must abide by the agreed terms and conditions.

If you’d like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email at

Summer Scheme FAQs

How much do I have to pay the student?

Students are paid a minimum of £2,900 for an 8-week placement. Employers who fund a student may be entitled to a 2nd student placement funded by one of the SEPnet university partners. There is some match-funding available from SEPnet university partners. Match-funded placements will be advertised to students at the SEPnet partner university who is funding the placement.

Do I need to include the student on my payroll?

You should treat your student as an employee for the period they are working with you so they are covered by an employment contract and protected under your insurance and health and safety policies. If you are unable to employ your student other working arrangements may possible on a case by case basis.

What if the student or supervisor has booked a holiday in the middle of the summer?

The period of work is mutually agreed by you and the student. All we ask is that the student is with you for eight weeks in total. If you wish to schedule a break, just let us know.

I’d like to host a student but a block of eight weeks over the summer doesn’t suit me. Can we make alternative arrangements?

Yes. The standard placement is eight weeks in the summer. However if you have a requirement for an alternative structure (for example half a day per week for six months and three weeks over Easter) then we will be happy to consider it providing the total amount of work is equivalent to eight weeks.

What happens if I want to keep the student on for more work after the eight weeks?

You can agree with your student for them to work for an additional period. You should pay them for their additional time on a pro-rata basis.

What if there are any problems?

SEPnet strives to ensure that the scheme works well for the organisations and students involved. However, as issues are sometimes unavoidable, we conduct a site visit during the placement to ensure that everything is going smoothly. We also offer pastoral care to the student if needed, in addition to the support of your own Human Resources department, and liaise with you during the placement to ensure there are no problems.

What skills would Physicists bring on their placement?

Here is an example of some of the skills Physics students current have, they may have others not listed here.

  • Ability to conduct experiments.
  • Ability to develop theories.
  • Ability to perform calculations.
  • Ability to prepare technical reports.
  • Knowledge of mathematical modelling.
  • Some knowledge of specific software C++/ Python
  • Machine Learning/ AI knowledge
  • Ability to use computer technology/software/coding skills.
  • Ability to research and gather information.
  • Ability to analyse and organise data (data handling skills).

What type of projects have been submitted in the past?

Click here to see a few recent projects.