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 £3,203 for an 8-week placement to cover their expenses. If you are able to fund a placement for a physics student, please see below for further information and register your placement here:

Find out more

Download our booklet of success stories.

Hear from students talking about the benefits of their SEPnet summer placements.

Listen to employers talk about why they offer placements, give advice to students and talk about what students have achieved on SEPnet summer placements.

“We took SEPnet students for the second year running this year and have been very impressed with the calibre of the students, their capabilities and the general high standard. For your records (as it’s always good to hear success stories) we have just made a permanent job offer to one of the students.”

– Lesley Fewell, Head of Human Resources, Ultra Electronics

“The SEPnet scheme has been incredibly valuable to us. I had a number of excellent applicants for the post and the overall experience was very positive. I will definitely be working with SEPnet in future years to take advantage of this scheme again.”

– Phil Edwards, Director, Weald Technology Ltd and SusMobil Ltd.

SEPnet Annual Student Expo

Each year we celebrate physics students’ achievements at the SEPnet Students’ Expo. 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 £3,203 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 £3,203 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 contact See below for further information.

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 via our Placement Case studies – SEPnet  and see what one of the SEPnet universities – Southampton – says about its students’ experiences.

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 2024.

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 £3,203 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.