Physics and Astronomy

South East Physics Network (SEPnet)

The SEPnet’s Employer Programme provides placements and other employer engagement opportunities for SEPnet physics & astronomy and mathematics undergraduates, and supports postgraduate research students through its Graduate Network (GRADnet). SEPnet works with industry to address skills needs and creates opportunities for industry and SEPnet partner physics & astronomy and mathematics departments to work more closely together.

Physics BSc student Elvira Castello

2024 Summer Placements

5 students have secured a placement this summer at Oxford Immune Algorithmics, Fatfish Digital, Mevitae, Environment Agency and SW London Partnership.

SEPnet Employer Programme

Our dedicated in-house Employer Engagement Officer offers our students access to employers in a variety of ways:

  • 4-8 week funded summer placements
  • site visits and tours to employer facilities (depending on demand)
  • employer talks and workshops within the department
  • mock interview practice from an employer with feedback (depending on demand)
  • employers in the curriculum – e.g. year 2 careers course

How do I apply?

  • an easy application process – CV and covering letter (registration in March, employers select and interview in April, placements begins in June)
  • some roles are ONLY being advertised to Sussex students
  • less competition than national schemes
  • opportunities based in Sussex, London, Surrey, Hampshire, Oxford and Teddington

For further information and details on how to apply, please contact our MPS Employability Advisor/SEPnet Employer Engagement Officer, Emma Hallatt at

Placements case studies:

Students have the opportunity to carry out 8 week projects in sectors such as research, science communication, geophysics and information technology. Some of our students talk about their experiences:

Interviews with undergraduate students who completed placements in 2020

Interviews with undergraduate students who completed placements in 2021

Elvira Castello (pictured above) - placement at the National Physical Laboratory

"For this placement, I was lucky enough to work at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) which is the UK’s national metrology institute. I have been working in the EMPIR project ‘TiFoon’, which focuses on implementing time transfer and making the existing frequency transfer more reliable. This is vital for optical clocks comparisons and applications beyond metrology.

"My project in particular aimed at delivering an efficient and cost-effective RIO laser system – remote controlled, which can be extremely beneficial in the testing of time and frequency transfer. Moreover, it’s a solution that can be easily implemented in other experiments requiring a laser with vibration and noise control. The project developed both my laboratory skills and coding but also taught me new skills, such as CAD modelling. I truly enjoyed the problem-solving aspect of the project and the fact that everyone was so supportive and knowledgeable."

 Student sitting at her office desk

Caley Yardley (pictured above) - supporting Photek's R&D team test software to deal with detector cross-talk)

"I was fortunate enough to spend 8 weeks simulating a photon detector in Python using Monte Carlo methods. The goal was to create software capable of producing pseudo-realistic data output. This was to help Photek's R&D team test software to deal with detector cross-talk. Most of my placement was done remotely, but I was luck to get a few days in the lab trying to measure the speed of light using one of Photek's detectors.

"Overall the experience gave me a fantastic opportunity to develop my programming and software developing skills. What I'm most proud of is creating a random number generator that will sample from any function!"

See Caley's SEPnet Expo project poster

Caley is currently doing a PhD in the Experimental Particle Physics Research Group within the ATLAS collaboration.

Tom Webster - placement at UK Atomic Energy Authority

"The existing diagnostic software coordinator that communicates between MAST-U's (the fusion device) central Machine Control System is difficult to maintain and extend. Work was currently underway to replace the software in the diagnostic. In order to develop this program, I created a user interface and was able to program multiple unit tests to ensure that it was running as intended.

"The project was an excellent opportunity to develop my programming skills whilst also gaining an understanding of a new field of scientific research not covered in my course."

See Tom's SEPnet Expo project poster

SEPnet's Student Expo

The annual Students’ Expo provides an opportunity for students to showcase their placement project work through presentations and posters to over 120 employers, academic tutors and peers.

See project posters by Sussex students at SEPnet Expo

SEPnet logoVisit the SEPnet website for more information.

Our SEPnet video conferencing room is Room 4C10 in Pevensey 3 building. The timetable of availability for this room can be viewed on our calendar.

A calendar showing shared SEPnet lectures can be viewed here (login required).