The student experience

My placement was a wonderful opportunity to learn about the key questions being answered in science through the use of innovative technology.

Gayathri Eknath

 BSc Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics

"I spent my Professional Training placement year with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). Funded by the UK government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the STFC looks after important national facilities such as the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Sci-Tech Daresbury Laboratory and UK Astronomy Technology Centre.

STFC is the hub of world-class science project operations and my placement there was a wonderful opportunity to learn about the key questions being answered in science through the use of innovative technology, and to be able to meet the people behind these innovations.

Working in the External Innovations and Global Challenges department, my main project was to capture and record the scientific impact of STFC-funded projects. For example, how will the project help the UK economy, how will it affect society, and has a spin-out company been formed as a result of the programme? I also wrote case studies on a wide range of fascinating projects including the use of space technology to build a hospital diagnostics unit, the impact of computational radiotherapy, and a hybrid gamma ray camera used for cancer diagnosis and treatment.

I improved my networking and team-working skills hugely during my Professional Training year, getting the opportunity to attend a number of collaboration events. Through these events I was able to build a good rapport with academics from external institutions.

The Professional Training year was a big factor in my decision to study at Surrey and I would recommend taking up this option to anyone looking to study my subject. Getting a taste of the graduate world whilst you are still a student is so worthwhile.

My programme at Surrey has allowed me to study a subject I’ve always been fascinated by – astrophysics – and to consolidate my understanding of core concepts in physics, which I’ve sometimes found challenging. One of the great things about Surrey is that there’s so much to get involved in outside your course. I joined the Ultimate Frisbee club in my first year which has both helped me to improve my athleticism and enabled me to balance my degree with something completely different.

After I graduate, I want to pursue a career in research or work in the space industry. I’d like to contribute to solving key global challenges and answering challenging questions in the field of astrophysics through science and technology."

Find out more about our physics programmes, including our BSc Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics

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