Marks & Clerk recruiting now

Kate Adamson , physics grad and patent attorney at Marks & Clerk has let us know that:

We’re now recruiting for our 2019 graduate scheme – I’d particularly highlight that we’re looking for physics/electronics/software trainees in our Scottish offices (as well as in England or Singapore). If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a message via LinkedIn

Interested in a career as a patent attorney? Interested in working at the interface between science, commerce and the law? Applications for our 2019 graduate scheme are now open – find out more here

Engineering in the UK – graduate jobs and salaries

Good post from my colleague Alison Parkinson our Employer Engagement Adviser. Physics graduates are sought after in engineering roles – lots of opportunities

The Careers Service Blog

Alison Parkinson, Employer Engagement Adviser, summarises the state of UK engineering.

Each year EngineeringUK publishes a “State of UK Engineering” report.  It is a fairly hefty tome (some 284 pages), but to help those of us short on time there are some fascinating info-graphics which summarise topics such as: money, perception, business, demand, education & skills, employment and gender – many of which relate to careers.

For example:

  • Engineering employment has grown to more than 5.66 million.
  • The number of engineering companies in the UK grew by 6% to 687,575
  • April to June 2017 saw the highest vacancy ratio in the labour force since 2001, at 2.6 job vacancies for every 100 filled jobs.
  • Engineering generated 25% of the total UK GDP, some £420.5bn.
  • The average starting salary for engineering and technology graduates is £25,607 compared to £21,700 for graduates of all subjects.
  • Engineers are very employable: 62% of engineering and technology graduates were…

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Focus on: Arup and its services to clients

Arup is a multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy that offers a really wide rage of services to its clients. A “global firm of designers, engineers, planners and business consultants providing a range of professional services to clients around the world”. This then translates into an interesting range of opportunities and areas for graduates to  work in, including building physics, radiation protection and acoustics & vibration.

Find out more about Arup and its opportunities for our students & graduates on MyCareerHub. Check the archive to see what they have offered.

Arup services grpahic (2)

IBM Universities Business Challenge (IBM UBC)

Last year’s teams at the semi-final

I mentioned this at inductions and we are now taking names for teams.

This is a business simulation challenge that our teams of physicists have done really well in past years, winning 3rd place out of 300 UK teams in London, 2017  (many of them from Business Schools). . The School paid for travel and accommodation in London for the finalist team.

It’s a great opportunity to build work experience, commercial awareness, use the range of skills and experience that we know our physics and astronomy students have – and develop new ones. Students say it’s a great experience to be part of and brilliant for your CV. You also get a business mentor allocated to your team you can get advice from.


I am looking for thee teams in total – each team can have up to five members and must have a nominated team leader. Timing is a bit tight this year due to my work and office relocation demands so apologies for the tight turnaround and the different way of recruiting teams from last time.

If you are interested, get a team together as soon as you can  (it doesn’t have to be all physics and astronomy students in the team)

I just need 3 team leaders names and emails asap (definitely by 5pm on 25th October) so that teams can participate in the optional Trial Trading Period, during which you can familiarise themselves with the UBC resources and ‘have a go’ at running your simulated business.

I will keep in touch throughout

Best wishes


Careers in Government Operational Research Services

What is Operational Research (OR)?
Using mathematical techniques and software to solve complex organisational problems. and make better decisions! “The science of better”

Many examples worldwide include: workforce scheduling; building networks; processing queues.

GORS is the UK Government’s community of OR analysts,  600+ strong, working across 25+ departments.  Examples of their work: – Optimisation techniques to estimate the number of desks needed to minimise queues through airport immigration – Prioritise funding for development projects in rural areas

They require a numerate degree, they want physicists and they have current vacancies in Scotland.

Good case studies and more details here 

Who wants to be a Civil Servant?

Good introduction to the Civil Service Fast Stream, which includes a science route too.

The Careers Service Blog

Thanks to Sophie Finlayson, one of this year’s Civil Service Fast Stream reps, for this quick guide to the UK Civil Service Fast Stream graduate programme. University of Edinburgh graduates are usually well represented in each year’s fast stream intake, and if you are interested in this option we would encourage you to talk to the Civil Service Fast Stream reps on campus, and make use of the support we can provide too.

Has a career in the Civil Service ever crossed your mind?

Unless you know someone who works in government, it can be pretty hard to imagine what a role there might involve. Jobs like ‘Change Manager’, ‘Digitiser’ or ‘Programme Support Officer’ are hardly as recognisable as your traditional doctor, lawyer, or teacher. I can’t say I’ve seen many school children dressed as ‘Policy Officers’ for careers day.

Yet, in 2017 more than 40,000 graduates registered for the…

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Careers in Risk

My colleague Matt Vickers writes:

“Careers in risk are incredibly diverse!  So rather like saying “I want to work in finance” or “I Want to work in development”, there are so many facets to risk you need to think about what kind of role within this broad sector and what your own skill-set and qualification lends itself to.

To give you an idea, here are some areas covered in a recent event I attended:

  • Studying Risk (Postgraduate) – Institute of Hazard, Risk & Resilience, Durham University
  • Enterprise Risk Management / Business Risk – Durham University
  • Natural Hazards and Risks – British Geological Survey
  • Commercial Risk Consulting – Marsh Risk Consulting
  • Disaster Risk Reduction – British Red Cross
  • Security Risk & Crisis Management – Trident Manor Ltd
  • Fire & Rescue – Co Durham & Darlington Fire & Rescue Service
  • Commercial Risk Assurance – RSM

So everything from accounting to fire to aid work, strategic planning, insurance consulting, commercial espionage, earthquakes and terrorism!

Key points:

  • Durham MA and MSc courses are highly regarded (MSc is more on the science/eng./geosciences side off risk; MA more on the human/social/political)
  • BGS are doing a lot of work collaboratively – with UK clients (e.g. Network Rail, Met Office, private clients) and overseas (supporting less developed countries) so ability to work with others, collaborate, plan, cultural awareness etc. important.
  • Insurance risk consulting is a niche but rapidly growing area of work.  Big 4 do it, as does Marsh.  An interesting alternative to management consulting.
  • Security work is increasing with more graduates coming into the profession
  • Fire and rescue is still not a graduate entry career (except for the non-uniformed parts, e.g. HR, finance etc.) but may well become so.
  • RSM have an interesting division that looks at risk and forensic accounting in the context of aid projects, overseas development – called in to look for missing money!  Interesting work, but only a small team (15) and low turnover of staff – those who love it, love it!”

Matt has written a more detailed resource that is available on MyCareerHub

Astrobiology, Mars tartan and moths

Charles Cockell, Professor of Astrobiology in the School of Physics and Astronomy talks about his job.

Tell us about the key parts of your role?

I teach a popular undergraduate course in astrobiology that is enormously enjoyable to deliver. I also set up and run a project in Scottish prisons called ‘Life Beyond’ to get prisoners to design stations for Mars. They’ve even published a book on their work.

The other side of my role is in research on life in extreme environments, space missions and other aspects of astrobiology. I try to get into the lab at least once a week if I can. It’s difficult with other duties, but doing science is a huge pleasure and particularly helping others get on their way to doing the same.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Freedom. Provided I’ve done what’s expected of my more formal roles – the freedom to walk into a prison and propose a new way of educating prisoners, the freedom to write a popular science book, the freedom to spend my lunch break designing and registering a Mars exploration tartan.

Tell us something we don’t know about you?

When I was 24, I designed and built a moth catching ultralight aircraft that I flew at dusk over the tropical rainforest canopy in Indonesia. I suppose you might regard it as a more serious phase of my interest in butterflies and moths. I flew with night vision goggles provided by the Dambusters (617) Squadron who were our expedition Patron.

I crashed the moth machine about two months into the expedition. Actually, I wouldn’t generally recommend catching moths using an aircraft.

(Adapted from UoE CSE staff newsletter)