GRADnet Employer Engagement Programme for Postgraduate Research Students (PGRs)


SEPnet, through its graduate network (GRADnet), aims to create a pipeline of postdoctoral physics graduates with the employability skills and understanding of the business environment and business needs to play a significant role in driving innovation in industry.

See our recent update ‘Where Do Physics PhD Graduates Go?’ to find out about SEPnet PhD graduate destinations and what employers look for in PhD graduates by clicking on the images below.

What we offer employers

GRADnet’s Employer Engagement Programme offers industry access to some of the brightest minds and skilled problem solvers through the creation of placements and other employer engagement opportunities for physics postgraduate research students (PGRs). We provide:

  • Access to physics PGRs across nine universities
  • Opportunities for researchers to carry out feasibility studies, analyse data and bring new ideas
  • Access to knowledge exchange opportunities, consultancy and collaborative research
  • Invitations to SEPnet sponsored networking events
  • A personalised approach to meet your needs

What employers can offer

  • Short consultancy projects/placements 1 to 3 weeks
  • Short block placements 1 to 3 months
  • Site visits, tours and work shadowing
  • Mentoring for help and advice – one-off or ongoing (see below for more details)
  • Technical and employability skills training and participation in residential schools

Want to know more? Download our ‘Guidance for Employers’ information sheet (pdf).

To offer an opportunity register online here:

For enquiries contact:

Click here to read about some of our PGRs’ placements.

The Data Intensive Science Centre in SEPnet, DISCnet, is an STFC Centre for Doctoral Training, providing a platform upon which we can train a new generation of data intensive scientists.The innovative DISCnet training programme will establish a mix of interdisciplinary, externally relevant data intensive science skills, appropriate domain-specific knowledge, and professional/personal development skills amongst our entire CDT cohort. At least 22 students will spend six months in a non University environment to undertake a research project that exploits their data intensive science skills, but is on new topic not directly related to their PhD project.

For more information about the DISCnet programme click here

What we offer PGRs

Through GRADnet our aim is to offer you an insight into careers beyond academia and a programme of training to develop entrepreneurship and commercial awareness informed by employer engagement with real-world, problem-solving experiences.

Academic research is one of many options open to PGRs. Research students have highly developed problem-solving skills and fresh ideas which are hugely valuable to industry in a number of sectors. Physics research students, in particular, bring strong analytical and mathematical skills.

GRADnet offers PGRs access to a bank of industry contacts and a programme of employer engagement opportunities, including short paid placements, and networking events to help develop your contacts and employability skills. See above for a list of what employers can offer.

What are the benefits?

Whether you intend to pursue a career in academia or industry, participating in the GRADnet Employer Engagement Programme will offer opportunities to:

  • develop and apply your technical skills and knowledge
  • learn new skills eg software programming
  • Improve your project management, presentation and communication skills
  • enhance your research through wider industry experience
  • find out about career opportunities, develop your entrepreneurship and commercial awareness.

For more information and guidelines for PGRs see here.

For a list of opportunities, contact:

To apply for an opportunity register online here:

For enquiries contact:

Click here to read about some of our PGRs’ placements.

Mentoring Opportunities

SEPnet strongly supports employer mentoring as a tool for developing students’ potential and enhancing career opportunities. SEPnet, through its Graduate Network (GRADnet), offers mentoring opportunities with employers for physics postgraduate research students (PGRs) across the 9 partners institutions.

“It was great to meet Jane Ireland because she works in the intersection of academia and industry based at NPL and so can give insight into both. In our first meeting we broadly discussed the sorts of career paths that I’m interested in.”– PGR student, Queen Mary University of London 

Benefits for the employer mentor

  • broadening your own skills, knowledge and personal development;
  • increasing personal and professional networks;
  • the opportunity to support students and make a valuable contribution to education, skills development and society.

Benefits to the student mentee

  • help with developing your career path or an understanding of the requirements to get into a field of interest;
  • advice on how to stand out and improve employability;
  • help with tailoring your CV so that it stands out or develop and practise your interviewing skills;
  • gaining from the knowledge, experience and expertise of someone about a specialist career area or industry field;

Want to know more? Download our Guidance for Mentors and Mentees information sheet (pdf).  You can read our recent report and case study here: SEPnet Employer Mentoring for PGRs

To offer a mentoring opportunity contact

To apply for a mentoring opportunity register online here:

For a list of mentoring opportunities, contact