Published: 17 January 2014

Surrey offers SEPnet Physics PhD scholarship

New PhD funding targets some of the ‘grand challenges’ of physics.

The University of Surrey is one of nine universities that form SEPnet (the South East Physics network), a collaborative regional programme that aims to find solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in physics today.

Supported by a ten-year HEFCE grant of £15.25m, SEPnet brings together the expertise of the physics departments of the Universities of Hertfordshire, Kent, Portsmouth, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, Southampton, Surrey and Sussex, and the OU. It aims to develop highly qualified physicists with the technical, professional, employability and leadership skills that will allow them to contribute to the UK’s economic growth.

Under the ‘Grand Challenge’ programme, the SEPnet consortium of universities will each offer a PhD scholarship for the 2014 student intake. These scholarships are offered for key areas of research in astrophysics; particle physics; quantum technology and condensed matter; medical and bio-physics; theoretical physics; and atmospheric and climatic physics. Covering the broad spectrum of expertise across the universities, the scope includes specialist areas for Surrey’s Department of Physics such as nano-technology and materials, photonics and medical imaging. A full list of the research areas is available on the SEPnet website.

The application process for SEPnet PhD scholarships is designed to maximise each applicant’s opportunity to enter their preferred field of research: prospective PhD students can submit a single application that will be considered by all nine universities in the consortium.

SEPnet is also supported by a physics post graduate training network, GRADnet, which provides PhD students with technical support, broad-based skills training and opportunities to attend events, engage with potential employers and reach out to the wider community.

Paul Sellin, Head of the Department of Physics, said, “Surrey Physics is delighted to be part of this initiative to create a world-class Physics doctoral school in the South East of England.”

Those interested in applying for a SEPnet PhD scholarship, beginning in October 2014, should submit their current CV and a short statement of their research interests (maximum 200 words) to Cristobel Soares-Smith, SEPnet Graduate Network Administrator, The closing date for entries is 3 February 2014. Selected candidates will be invited to attend an Open Day in late February/early March to meet potential supervisors and learn more about GRADnet, with final awards expected to be made before the end of April.

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