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.



No smoke without fire…fire engineering opportunities for MPhys finalists

Interesting opportunity on MyCareerHub:

JGA Fire Engineering are actively looking for fire engineers – final years and recent graduates – and targeting physics students. You should have a minimum 2.1 BSc + MSc OR on be on track for a minimum 2.1 MPhys.

“Considerable advances in the understanding of fire and smoke movement, and the effects of fire on buildings, has led to a fire engineering approach to building fire safety that has allowed more efficient design of highly complex buildings. A successful fire engineering approach requires the application of scientific principles to engineering problems.

JGA are looking for graduates who can apply their education and knowledge to developing solutions to those problems. As a Design Engineer you would be responsible for the fire engineering analysis of buildings including shopping centres, airport terminals and large office buildings. This would include modelling of fire growth, smoke movement, structural fire resistance and occupant behaviour, using software packages including Computational Fluid Dynamics, and the production of technical reports.

JGA are a specialist fire consultancy with offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Dublin, Belfast and Galway. One of their current projects is the fire engineering for the St. James Centre redevelopment in Edinburgh, but they also undertake much smaller projects – so quite a range.

They encourage early responsibility in engineers and you will be given the opportunity to progress rapidly. Working with experienced engineers you would rapidly gain experience and knowledge. JGA actively encourage engineers to achieve chartered status and offer any help they can with the process.”

More info on MCH

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

Graduate physicists needed!

Are you keen to apply your scientific and mathematical knowledge to solving creative and technically challenging problems?

Cambridge Consultants are looking 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. The job involves:

  • working with data from sensors or unstructured data
  • developing algorithms to extract valuable information
  • clear presentation of results both internally and to clients

They recruit for summer internships too.

Find out more here

From Astrophysics to Data Science at First Derivatives – Edinburgh grad profile

Henry Noonan

Thanks to Henry Noonan, an Edinburgh astrophysics graduate, for this great profile

I recently graduated from the University of Edinburgh in July with a degree in Astrophysics. Following the completion of my time at university I began my professional career at First Derivatives. First Derivatives (FD) is a consulting firm based in Northern Ireland specializing in their high speed database technology, kdb+. This technology is used in a number of different fields including finance, pharma, F1 racing and even the space industry.

However in my opinion, the most appealing part of working for FD is the ability to travel around the world and work on these interesting projects. Almost all of the Data Scientists I entered the company with back in August have been deployed around the U.K. and the world (including New York, London, Singapore and Hong Kong).

After joining in August, I was sent to New York in September to start on a surveillance project with a hedge fund. I am in a technical role, which for the moment involves testing a wide variety of the back-end code the team has developed. This project has not only helped develop my technical skills but has introduced me to the financial world, specifically to that of U.S. equities and options markets. Working at FD is a great opportunity to get into and experience the financial world, even if you did not study any finance at university.

How physics helps

Studying physics prepared me well with what I have faced in the professional world so far. Specifically, the coding modules (like computer modelling) and statistical analysis courses I took at the UoE helped me with the coding that I am doing on the job. Completing my senior honours dissertation (amongst other projects) helped show me how to balance time in a long-term project as well as deliver a professional result, all while effectively communicating with my supervisor. Communication is a big part of working with FD; you are expected to be able to interact in a professional setting with clients (it is not just sitting at an isolated desk coding!). This balance of a technical environment mixed in with face-to-face interaction is something I was looking for when I was searching for a job after university. FD has certainly delivered with regards to this.

Application process

In terms of applying to First Derivatives, the application process was quite easy, easier than other jobs I applied to. I found FD through the UoE’s career services website and applied online. I had three interviews: a phone call, a skype call and finally a technical “shared screen” interview on skype where I had to demonstrate some basic coding abilities in a windows command prompt terminal. Following these three interviews I received an offer.

Advice to UoE students

Start early. I started my job search back in October of my final year and I am so happy that I did it then. Many of my friends waited until the summer of graduation and regret waiting so long. Additionally, a lot of the grad-scheme applications close by January so starting on the job applications early is highly beneficial. I know there is a lot of work in the final year of the degree; finding a good balance between university work and the applications is important. My last piece of advice is to understand what role you are applying to. What I mean by this is know what the job entails before you apply for it, especially if you get invited for an interview. All in all I would say that it may seem daunting applying for jobs but know that there are plenty of opportunities out there for you to flourish in.”

First Derivatives are currently recruiting for graduate data science roles & other roles .  Closing date 30 November

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.

Curios about technology in finance? BlackRock uncovered

BlackRock are running an information evening on Thursday night to help you find out more.  Details on MyCareerHub

They offer insight weeks for early years students as well as summer internships and grad roles.  BlackRock offer Graduate Analyst, Summer Internship and Insight Week Programmes across the following business areas:

• Advisory & Client Services
• Analytics & Risk
• Corporate Functions & Business Operations
• Investments
• Relationship Management & Sales
• Technology

#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.”