Bridge between academia & industry: Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

What is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme helps businesses in the UK to innovate and grow. It does this by linking them with an academic or research organisation and a graduate.

A KTP enables a business to bring in new skills and the latest academic thinking to deliver a specific, strategic innovation project through a knowledge-based partnership.

The academic or research organisation partner will help to recruit a suitable graduate, known as an Associate. They will act as the employer of the graduate, who then works at the company for the duration.

The scheme can last between 12 and 36 months, depending on what the project is and the needs of the business.

KTP is one of the UK’s largest graduate recruitment programmes. There are over 300 job opportunities each year . It supports career development and often leads to a permanent job.  For more information and national vacancies, visit their website

You can find more about KTP Scotland opportunities here:

Be aware, even if they don’t specify a Physics degree, the criteria for many vacancies connect well to a Physics degree so it’s always worth discussing with them if you are interested.



The physics of beer

beer soc

Dr Anne Pawsey is from the Institute for Condensed Matter and Complex Systems (research area Soft Matters Physics). She will be presenting with The Beer Society to show the science in your pint.

Interested? Sign up here

To tie in with this event next week, I thought you’d enjoy a few more stories about the physics of beer tapping, beer and physics, 5 physics facts you didn’t know about beer and the science behind the perfect pint. If your taste runs to champagne, see my earlier blog post

There are many opportunities for physicists in research & development in the food and drink industries.

Our very own Dr Tiffany Wood, Director of the Edinburgh Complex Fluids Partnership works with companies from a wide range of industries including the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food and drink and agrochemical sectors. Dr Wood is also on the Member’s Advisory Group of the Society of Chemical Industries (SCI) which brings together physicists, chemists, engineers, biologists and other disciplines working in a range of academic and industry contexts

The SCI has a number of Technical Interest Groups, providing opportunities to exchange ideas and gain new perspectives on markets, technologies, strategies and people. The Food group is one of the largest and it:

actively encourages university-level students to take up careers in food related subjects through competitions and through our programme of topical, challenging and interesting meetings”.


Astrophysics & success with the Hyperloop Team HYPED

Elisha Jhoti, 4th Year Astrophysics student, describes how studying physics helped her technical work with The University of Edinburgh Hyperloop Team.

Hot on the heels of Elon Musk sending one of his Tesla cars into space, the (rather successful) UoE student Hyperloop team are running an event next week around designing a hyperloop track.  More here

HYPED social media:

I am a 4th year Astrophysics student and I joined The University of Edinburgh Hyperloop Team, HYPED, this semester. Even though I have only been in the society for one semester, I am already consumed by all things Hyperloop.
As a physicist I was unsure how I could be of much help when I first joined HYPED. On the contrary, physics is the foundation of every engineering decision we have to make. How much force can this material take? What is the pressure force exerted on this vessel? How thin can this part be? All of these questions require basic physical principles to be answered.

My knowledge of physics has helped me provide a different angle to tackle problems from, in addition to conventional engineering methods. Rewind four years and if you told me I would be involved in an engineering focused society at university I would have never believed it. Before university I wasn’t really sure what engineering was. However, I knew that I wanted to learn everything I could about astrophysics.

From the age of 14 I was obsessed with all things space; and so I applied to study Astrophysics at Edinburgh. I chose Edinburgh because I knew they had a lot of flexibility in their degree program; allowing you to pick and choose from a wide range of courses, and I knew that studying at a prestigious, research-led university would give me opportunities that would not be available to me at other universities, for example, studying abroad. Last year I was studying abroad on the international exchange program.

When I came back I realised I wanted to get more involved in societies at my university which I had previously overlooked. I discovered HYPED at the Societies Fair at the beginning of my first semester of my fourth year. After attending the first meeting, I realised how passionate HYPED members were; it was unlike anything I had ever seen at any other university society; they actually cared
about what they were working on. I decided I wanted to be a part of the team.

After attending the first technical meeting, I decided to join the static team; their responsibility is to design the static components of the pod, including the structure and body. This seemed the most relevant team for my skill set at the time, and getting to design the structural components of the pod sounded like a welcome challenge. I joined the Pressure sub-team within Static; we design the pressure vessel that will house the dummy, and eventually passengers. I was very interested in this component, as the team had not tried to design a livable environment in the pod last year, so we were starting from scratch. The inside of the pressure vessel will be at atmospheric pressure; whilst outside the pod it will be close to a vacuum. I was interested in how our design ideas could be applied to other applications, such as space travel and
hyperbaric chambers; the possibilities could be endless.

Over the course of the  semester I became more involved in HYPED; after presenting on behalf of the Pressure team at our first society-wide meeting I was given the opportunity to attend the InnovateUK 2017 conference to which HYPED had been invited. This was an invaluable experience and allowed me to gain insight into the overview of the whole project and what the future plans for HYPED were.

Whilst speaking to engineering experts and industry delegates at the conference I realised the effect the idea of Hyperloop had on other people outside of our society. Many were excited and impressed at the prospect of Hyperloop becoming a reality, some did not even believe we were only university students. The reaction from these delegates made me realise the importance of the society; if we could already make industry experts begin to question their ideas about the future of transport then we were already beginning to change the game.

Being a part of the technical team in HYPED has made me realise how physics can be applied to a wide range of problems, and how the problem solving skills perfected during the physics degree can be used in any number of situations; from modelling completely abstract concepts to designing parts in an engineering project, such as HYPED. This is the reason I love physics; it can be used as a tool to solve almost any problem, as long as you have the physical laws in place, you can predict and model behaviours of particles, materials and forces.

When I chose to study astrophysics I did consider that perhaps I was choosing a very specialised field, which I knew I would enjoy studying, but that it may limit me. However, I have found this is not the case; concepts and skills I have learnt during my degree I have realised are applicable anywhere and everywhere, from solving engineering problems, to carrying out astrobiology experiments. I am looking forward to what new projects HYPED will bring my way and I hope that reading this blog has shown you how studying physics can allow you to use it as an interdisciplinary tool, helping you solve a wide range of problems that can help make the world a better place

Focus on: Cambridge Consultants

Cambridge Consultants are a leading supplier of innovative product development engineering and technology consulting.

  • Facilities: over 100,000 sq ft of fully equipped laboratories and prototyping facilities on their own premises in Cambridge and Boston
  • Scale: more than 500 staff, including scientists, mathematicians, engineers and designers, able to bring multidisciplinary technology insight to client problems
  • Breadth of operation across medical technology and pharmaceuticals, wireless communications, consumer and industrial, energy and transport, and defence and security, enables insights and solution approaches to be transferred efficiently between sectors

Are you keen to apply your mathematical and scientific knowledge to solving creative and technically challenging problems? Join their team of talented mathematicians, physicists and engineers to develop future leading edge information systems.

They are currently recruiting for a graduate physicist or mathematician to work on client assignments and provide key ideas for projects involving the design, implementation and test of a wide range of products and systems. This will involve working with data from sensors or unstructured data and developing algorithms to extract valuable information. Clear presentation of results both internally and to clients is also important.  Full vacancy details here

They also offer summer internships and have some good videos on their site giving a  flavour of their projects

CERN Summer programme now open

CERN are now recruiting for their summer programme.  Details here and advertised on MyCareerHub. Closing date 28 Jan 2018

I noticed they specify in their eligibility: “You have completed, by summer 2018, at least three years of full-time studies at university level.”

Recalling what they said at their recent campus presentation – if you are a direct entry student, you will have to give an explanation of your circumstances. Show you gained direct entry on academic merit so by the end of two years university study you will have the capacity to perform at a similar (if not higher – quick learner!) than someone with three years.

Finance to cancer research: student story

MPhys graduate Michal Tomaszewski  graduated as the top student on Mathematical Physics degree. Here he shares his story of gaining experience from various financial institutions before changing his path to cancer research.


When I was starting the masters year of my degree in Edinburgh, I was not sure what I would like to be doing. The several summer internships in the trading departments of investment banks, definitely helped my soft skills and business awareness, but I did not really feel like this is the work I would like to be doing for the years to come.

The idea of doing a PhD came to me as soon as I started the MPhys project I did with Dr Bartlomiej Waclaw in experimental biophysics. The exploratory nature of the work we did on the growth patterns of 3D bacterial colonies, trying to put together the various experimental and theoretical observations to make a coherent picture really appealed to me and I started looking online for PhD opportunities combining physics and biology.

While one needs to consider multiple factors such as the project formulation, research focus of the group and group leader, location and financial arrangements, the choice of a suitable PhD very much comes down to meeting the people and seeing the lab and the town – after all this is the environment you would be spending the next three to four years of your life in.

I graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an MPhys in Mathematical Physics in 2014 and went on to a PhD in cancer imaging at Cambridge University. I focus on the development of a new imaging technique to visualise the blood vessels in cancer tumour and measure their condition. The technology we are working with is called optoacoustics, and it relies on generation of ultrasound in the tissue following laser illumination. When the laser light gets absorbed, especially by strong absorbers such as haemoglobin in the blood, a small amount of heat is generated, causing thermal expansion and creation of a pressure wave which can get detected the same way as in traditional ultrasound imaging. During my work in Cambridge, I’ve developed a way to use this technology to gain insight into how well the tumour vasculature works, which gives doctors an indication of the aggressiveness of the disease and can guide the treatment.

Just like my work involves a mixture of physics and cancer biology, my affiliation is joint between the Department of Physics and the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. The latter is where my experiments are, and where I spend most time. Working for Cancer Research UK is a great pleasure, as a generously funded Cambridge Institute greatly supports our research. Especially in the field of imaging, where open access to large and expensive scanners is essential, a well-equipped centre helps the researchers greatly.

I find the work I do incredibly exciting and fulfilling for many reasons:

  • the wide scope of the project, involving working with in vivo tumour models
  • using various imaging modalities and learning to use the equipment as well as
  • being involved on the technical side of signal and image processing
  • writing code…….makes the work very varied and interesting.

Working directly with a cancer research charity, collaborating with clinician scientists provides great motivation as we can feel our advances, although preclinical, could in the future make a real difference in clinical care.

#ExperienceWorks campagn week beg 6 November

Week beginning 6 November is our focus on work experience and the breadth of things that can count.  I’ll be running two sessions via Collaborate on getting work experience – details on MyCareerHub events. I’ve captured a few students’ very different experiences and what they gained as a result. For more details on the #Experience Works campaign, visit the webpage

Michal Tomaszewski graduated as the top student on Mathematical Physics degree and  is currently working on his PhD in cancer research at Cambridge.  Michal did a business internship in the City and gained experience from various financial institutions before he changed his path to cancer research.   Having done a purely theoretical degree he is now at home in a wet lab. It just shows:

  • it’s good to try different things to work out where your preferences lie
  • starting in one area doesn’t mean you have to stay there
  • no matter what you do, you develop personally and professionally from it

Tara Bruendl (astrophysics)

“In the 2 months that I worked at the European Space Agency, I learnt about the professionalism in the agency and how important good communication between colleagues is. I learnt what it’s like to work independently besides one of the best mission analysts in the world and also receive constructive criticism once in a while.

I was afraid that my programming wasn’t up to scratch but luckily I could pick up the most common routines  fairly quickly. With the help of my very patient supervisor I learnt how to make code more elegant and use as little of it as possible. When I wasn’t debugging the Fortran 5000-plus-liner (yes, in the space sector everything gets recycled, including ancient programs from the 70s) tea breaks would take up second priority, as many staff would joke. The canteen was the meeting place of different sections, ages and nationalities.

If you can, I would always recommend gaining some work experience in the summer, since it not only gives you a head start in job applications but also teaches you a lot about if the job is right for you in the first place. That said, I’m considering a career in the space sector more than ever before and could imagine working as a trainee for ESA or in the space industry after graduating.

Sara Rigby (MPhys)

This summer, I was able to carry out two internships that helped me formulate my career plans much more solidly.

 First of all, I spent a month at a secondary school in York doing a physics teaching placement, arranged by the Ogden Trust. While I started out simply observing lessons, by the time I left I was treated like a teaching assistant: not only did I work with individual students and small groups regularly, but I also got the chance to plan and deliver a whole lesson. On top of this, I ran an extracurricular club with the other intern, and of course I also had to put up a few displays. This gave me a well-rounded view of the different elements of a teacher’s job.

Having a strong foundation of physics knowledge helped me to explain things in a way I found intuitive, and sometimes to link different subject areas together to make useful analogies. I would definitely recommend the Ogden Trust’s Teach Physics internship to anyone who is considering a career in teaching, however unsure they are. The month I spent there gave me a realistic view of life as a teacher, allowing me to make a very well-informed decision about my future career. Even though I won’t be pursuing a career in teaching, I’m really glad I got this opportunity. I really enjoyed the time I spent at the school, and I gained a lot of confidence in myself and my ability to communicate effectively.

Shortly after this, I travelled to Bristol, where I spent two weeks doing work experience with BBC Focus Magazine, a science and technology publication. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I got to write while I was there. Most of what I contributed was published on the website, but one very short ‘Eye Opener’ piece – an extended caption to accompany a striking image – made it into the most recent print issue. I wrote a feature on weird and wonderful pain relief; I contributed to the ongoing ‘This Day in Science History’ series; I interviewed a renowned cosmologist from MIT about his new book on artificial intelligence.

One skill that came in useful in particular was the ability to research a topic, quickly understand the basics, and distil it down to the essential and most interesting parts; for once, I was thankful that I’d done the group project the previous year! I loved my time at the magazine: I was fascinated by the day-to-day organisation, especially leading up to their publication day, and I realised how much I love writing about science. This helped me to decide that I want to pursue a career in science communication once I graduate.”

Nanotechnology: research & possibilities

Lewis Lappin from the Edinburgh University Physics and Astronomy Society invites you to this student-led event.

Join PhysSoc, ChemSoc and ChemEngSoc with the University of Cambridge’s Nanotechnology department for a talk on Nanotechnology and its applications! 

This event will feature a talk from Tommaso Busolo and Taylor Uekert, both PhD students at the University of Cambridge, who will discuss their research experience in nanotechnology and what the future could hold for someone working in this multidisciplinary field.

They will describe the properties and cutting-edge applications of materials specific to the nanoscale, their PhD projects, and what it’s like studying at the Nanoscience & Nanotechnology Doctoral Training Centre at Cambridge.

The breadth and depth of science that may be explored in the field of nanotechnology is limitless, so this is a chance for you to get a feel for the state of the art and see where your interests fit in, as well as to find out more about opportunities for PhD study in this area

When: 16:00-1700, Friday 27th October

Where: Lecture Theatre B, JCMB

More info:

CERN @ KB: grad roles & work experience offers

CERN will be on campus on 4th October – full details and signup will be on MyCareerHub

CERN offers tremendous opportunities for the right students to develop their skills and understanding through some of the most exciting and cutting edge projects in engineering, computing and physics.

Research STFC

Come along to this event to get an insight into engineering at CERN, with a talk from a senior CERN engineer on the experiments, facilities & what their work involves. This will be followed by a Q&A for which he will be joined by a representative of the CERN HR Talent Acquisition team who will introduce all opportunities at CERN.

CERN’s Summer Student Scheme and Technical Studentships are being advertised now on the Science & Technology Facilities Council site. Find out more on the STFC website.

How light and sound give physicists a clearer picture of cancer – UoE alumni success

Michal Tomaszewski, who graduated as the top student on Mathematical Physics degree, is currently working on his PhD in cancer research at Cambridge and you can listen to him explain his ground breaking work in this video clip

Michal followed an interesting path. He did a business internship in the City and gained experience from various financial institutions before he changed his path to cancer research.   Having done a purely theoretical degree he is now at home in a wet lab.

It just shows:

  1. it’s good to try different things to work out where your preferences lie
  2. starting in one area doesn’t mean you have to stay there
  3. no matter what you do, you develop personally and professionally from it