European Space Agency internship – UoE student success

Tara Bruendl is a 4th MPhysics student here at UoE who, despite failing first time round, has now successfully gained a placement this summer at the European Space Agency (ESA).  Over the summer she will be a guest blogger, telling you about her experience. Her first post is all about how she got the placement.

How did I find out about it?

Since developing an interest for space my dream to work for the European Space Agency (ESA) was created. After being rejected for an internship 2 years ago, I decided not to be disheartened and successfully applied to work placements at other space-related institution, namely the Max-Planck-Institute for Solar System Research in 2014 and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) in 2015.

Learning from the specialists in the field of solar system research equipped me with better analytical and practical skills as well as broadened my understanding of the research. The gained experience was very useful when being invited by my then supervisor from DLR for a Space Situational Awareness conference at one of ESA’s nine establishments.

By engaging in conversation with industry partners as well as an ESA employee and expressing a genuine interest in their field of expertise, it was possible to exchange contact details, which were the first stepping stone to securing the internship.

What did I have to consider when applying?

After an extensive email exchange discussing my experience and the proposed project, a formal application needed to be submitted to the HR department  which needed approval. Besides the usual formalities such as a detailed CV and a cover letter, the application asked for past experience and projects as well as my future intentions for undertaking a placement at ESA.

Especially important at this point was to show the relevance of the other work placements to this summer’s internship and emphasise how I completed given tasks and can apply the learned skills to their organisation. Working for the biggest and most influential space agency in Europe is an honour and I am very curious and excited for this journey to start.

Find out more about the European Space Agency

Find out more about the  ESA Academy Gravity-Related Research Summer School. Apply now – closing date 2 May 2016

IT & Technology careers: not just for Informatics graduates!

Good post from my colleague Matt Vickers on Technology careers. The examples include RBS Technology where physicists are working.

The Careers Service Blog

Back in February we held our annual Careers in IT event which was attended by over 450 students; if you were one of them, we hope you found it useful.

Naturally, we used the Informatics Forum at George Square: it is a great space and is handy for the School of Informatics students wishing to attend.  But the attendees went way beyond Informatics students and indeed even beyond students of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).  That is because IT & technology careers are often open to students of all subjects, as evidenced in the Fair Guide.  Set out in a grid were the 38 employers and which degree disciplines they recruit from:

Organisations recruiting from…

  • Informatics degrees only = 8 (21%)
  • STEM degrees = 16 (42%)
  • Any degree = 14 (37%)

Even I was surprised by just how many technology employers will recruit from any discipline.

For some of them it is…

View original post 319 more words

Optima PhD Doctoral Training

I heard a great presentation recently from Dr. Kev Dhaliwal, founder of Edinburgh Molecular Imaging.  In addition to his roles as clinician and technology developer, he is also a key figure in OPTIMA which provides Doctoral Training in Optical Medical Imaging.  OPTIMA has two key elements:

  • Projects at the interface of medical and physical science
  • Bespoke training in healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship

OPTIMA students can choose from a range of exciting and innovative projects that breakdown the barriers between physics, chemistry, medicine and engineering.

They are now recruiting for the OPTIMA 2016 Cohort – closing date 1st April 2016.

More information at :

Looking for internships this summer?

It’s not too late! Gradcracker have contacted us to say there are still summer 2016 internships with a range of organisations available via their website. These include:

Finmeccanica –  Schlumberger – Rolls Royce – IBM – Siemens – Arquiva –  Cummins – Fujitsu – BAE Systems – BP – Hoar Lea – PWC

Some closing dates are very soon though so make sure you don’t miss out. More details at:

There are also aerospace, engineering, data analysis and IT opportunities where your physics discipline can be relevant too, so you can afford to search more widely than just a search using “physics”

Remember, all experience can count…you can find more help here  #ExperienceWorks

Principal’s Go Abroad Fund: £350 – £1000 grants!


Whether getting a taste for a new city whilst visiting for a conference or immersing yourself in a different culture whilst volunteering for two months, going abroad can offer life-changing experiences and opportunities for personal growth.

Many students are not short of brilliant ideas and plans to go abroad, but they are short on funding and time. The Principal’s Go Abroad Fund addresses this by allowing you to go away for as short as 7 days and providing financial support whilst you provide your ideas and create an experience unique to you. The Principal’s Go Abroad Fund is available to any undergraduate or postgraduate students looking to undertake any educational trips abroad over the summer, including:

  • research
  • conferences
  • work placements
  • volunteer opportunities
  • and any other cultural experiences.

The deadline for applications is Friday, 25 March

Details and applications at:


Inspiring future physicists

If you want to know more about teaching physics in Scotland, one of the things you can do is joining the Teaching Physics in Scotland group on LinkedIn.  Set up by Nick Hood, Teaching Fellow at University of Edinburgh (and Educator, Physicist and Software Engineer), this group:

….brings together teachers of physics in Scotland, teacher trainers and mentors, practising teachers and support networks, with those people who are thinking about being a physics teacher in Scotland. It’s an opportunity  for those considering a career in physics teaching to find out more from the group members. This group can help you connect with, encourage and support others in becoming, being and staying a physics teacher in Scotland: one of the most rewarding careers in which to apply your love of physics.

Join here:

Francis Crick Institute – funded PhDs

This multi-disciplinary research institute is keen to attract outstanding applicants with backgrounds in physics, biological sciences, chemistry and/or bioinformatics who are committed to doing a PhD, and they are able to fund EU and non-EU students.

Applications for the Spring round of recruitment  close on Wednesday 30th March 2016.

More details about the programme and application process can be found here:

Francis Crick Inst



Space scientist and science communicator

You may recognise Maggie Aderin-Pocock as she is a familiar face and voice on television news and science broadcasts. Maggie’s first role was with the Ministry of Defence, combining knowledge from her first degree in physics with her doctorate in mechanical engineering. She returned to academia to work on building an instrument to bolt on to the Gemini telescope. She is currently working in both industry and academia as a space scientist and science communicator.