Posted on 12/07/2013
South East Physics network (SEPnet) and HEFCE are delighted to announce their plans to invest £13.1 million pounds to sustain physics undergraduate and postgraduate teaching provision, and world class research facilities, staff and doctoral training over the five years up to 2018.
SEPnet was formed in 2008 as a network encompassing Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and six physics departments in South East England at the Universities of Kent, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, Southampton, Surrey and Sussex. The University of Portsmouth joined in 2010. TheOpen University and the University of Hertfordshire will join the network effective the 1st August 2013. The University of Reading, about to introduce an undergraduate programme in Environmental Physics (Department of Meteorology), will join as an associate partner.
SEPnet Phase One has been tremendously successful for the partners in SEPnet and for physics in the region. The outreach programme, regarded as an exemplar for collaborative outreach, has succeeded in effectively exploiting the growing national interest in physics through its wide range of public engagement and schools activities. There has been a substantial increase in applications and intake for physics undergraduate courses and undergraduate numbers are now 90% higher in the SEPnet physics departments compared with 2007 and applications up approximately 115% - well above national trends.
Research at RoyalHolloway has received a substantial boost from SEPnet Phase One. The NExT Institute,which includes particle physicists at RHUL and which focuses on the study of dark matter and large hadron collider phenomenology, has benefitted from funding and resources from the Science and Technology Facilities Council and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL).
In addition, the Hubbard Theory Consortium (HTC) was founded by Royal Holloway within the framework of SEPnet and in partnership with RAL (including the ISIS Facilities and the Diamond Light Source) and with the London Centre for Nanotechnology. The HTC brings together condensed matter theorists in a growing and inclusive consortium to work in close collaboration with experimentalists using world-leading facilities.
Professor Brian Cowan, Head of Department, said: "RHUL has benefitted greatly from our membership of SEPnet. I am delighted that Phase Two will bring further initiatives and opportunities for the consortium. We look forward to working closely with our Partners, old and new, over the coming years.”