Public Engagement Forum, Weds 29 September. Bringing together centres of scientific public engagement, science festivals and SUPA researchers to connect and be inspired.

The SUPA Public Engagement Forum aims to bring together those with a passion and interest for public engagement across SUPA and beyond. Exploring current activities and illustrating what can be achieved together with external partners with whom we work to promote public understanding of science.

The event will open with a Welcome from Prof Julie Fitzpatrick, Chief Scientific Advisor for Scotland.

We will hear from key science centres about what platforms and audiences they can provide for researchers, and learn from the experiences of those SUPA researchers and projects that have engaged with science centres. Speakers include:

SUPA would like to extend a very warm welcome to all our new students for the 2021/22 academic year!

We have lots of information available for you on our New Students page, which introduces you to what SUPA is, what you can expect from us, and what we need from you, to make your time with us a great experience!

Catherine Heymans. Credit: Maverick Photo Agency.

Professor Catherine Heymans, a world-leading expert on the physics of the so-called dark universe, has been awarded the prestigious title of Astronomer Royal for Scotland, a title which dates back almost 200 years. Created in 1834, the position of Astronomer Royal for Scotland was originally held by the director of the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh. Since 1995, however, it has been awarded as an honorary title. The previous holder, Professor John C Brown, passed away in 2019.

Prof Heymans was recommended to the Queen for the role by an international panel, convened by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She is Professor of Astrophysics in the School of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh and Director of the German Centre for Cosmological Lensing at Ruhr-University Bochum. Her research seeks to shed light on the mysteries of dark energy and dark matter – elusive entities that together account for more than 95 per cent of the Universe.

Once that spark and connection with the Universe is made,

The SUPA Virtual Gathering logo and dates, with photos of the three keynote speakers underneath: from L-R Prof Sheila Rowan, Prof Heather Lewandowski, Prof Martin Dawson

This year's Annual Gathering will once again take place virtually:

Dark blue boxes fill the image, with a single bright yellow cube in the middle sticking up. In matching yellow text at the bottom of the image is the phrase "Finding Your Future"
February 2021 became Finding Your Future month at SUPA, offering PhD students and Early Career Researchers the opportunity to explore a variety of professions and discuss these with representatives from industry and academia. 

The 2021 event "Finding Your Future" opened with CV clinics for SUPA students and researchers during the first two weeks of February with support from careers advisers and experts from our universities and the Institute of Physics.

The final two weeks of February had daily discussions with guest speakers about their careers post-PhD, with each day concentrating on a particular theme. Themes included were: Research & Innovation, Research, Physics & Life Sciences, Business Development & Intellectual Property, Science Communication, Third Sector & Public Sector, Education & teaching, Computation & Coding. We opened up these daily discussions to the wider Scottish research and innovation community, inviting students from other research pools, through Research Innovation Scotland.

Icons depicting each research pool, innovation centre and Interface, with a map of Scotland made up of tiny dots

There is no single entity that can solve the complex and interconnected problems we face as a society. To overcome the grand challenges we face, collaboration and co-ordination across the Scottish Research and Innovation landscape is paramount. Research Innovation Scotland strives to depict a whole system view, to act as a catalyst for intersectionality, toward a better future; to build back better. Created as a joint activity between the Scottish Research Pools, this new resource also involves SFC funded Innovation Centres and Interface. 

The online resource includes upcoming cross-pool and multi-disciplinary activities and funding opportunities, as well as case studies of past collaborative working. 

Dr Stuart Fancey, Director of Research and Innovation at the Scottish Funding Council said

Scotland’s collaborative culture in research is a huge asset for us and connecting that with business-facing Innovation Centres and with Interface, our national hub connecting business and academia, will help us take on the challenges facing Scotland. SFC looks forward to working with the Research Innovation Scotland partnership.

Click here to visit the RIS website...

Poster image for the video on How to Access our Virtual Learning Environment, image shows a screenshot from the video with that title.

As we start the 2020/21 academic year under challenging circumstances, SUPA finds itself well placed for online learning, with our experience and knowledge of video classrooms already well developed. Having moved our Annual Gathering online back in May, we now find ourselves supporting lecturers providing our courses on different platforms, in different modes to previously. Many of our courses will continue to run as in previous years, with live lectures broadcast through our video conferencing tool, VScene. Others will be switching to using pre-recorded materials. 

At SUPA Central, we are busy preparing to Welcome the new intake of PhD students in October, with an online Welcome Event on the morning of Tues 20 October. Details will be circulated to the students in due course. 

We have introduced new videos introducing how to get the best from the SUPA student experience. 

Watch this short video on accessing our Virtual Learning Environment, My.SUPA (1min 48s, can watch with or without sound). 

Watch this short video to find out about the courses we offer, and what we require of our students (2min 26s, can watch with or without sound).

SUPA Virtual Gathering Tue 26 - Thu 28 May 2020
Tue 26th to Thu 28th May 2020

Due to the current pandemic, the 2020 SUPA Annual Gathering scheduled for Wed 27th May has been replaced by online events of interest to the whole SUPA community under the title "Virtual Gathering". While reflecting as far as possible the tradition of sharing, inspiring and engaging our community by showcasing and celebrating internationally leading research, daily screen times have been minimized by stretching the single-day AG into a three-day VG.

1. Inspirational Talks 

Three lunchtime talks will be presented by research leaders from SUPA and beyond.

Tuesday 26/5/2020 - 1pm: Keynote Talk, "Attosecond Science"

Paul Corkum, U. Ottawa and National Research Council of Canada

We invite all members of SUPA – student, professor and everyone in between – to showcase a highlight from the last year for the SUPA community online. Your highlight could be about your research project, a scientific or technical breakthrough, a report on a recent paper you’ve published, a collaborative initiative between SUPA or other partners, a creative interdisciplinary project, an industry placement, an outreach or public engagement activity, or a research visit.

We will bring together these highlights of the last year in an online showcase format, to share, inspire and engage our community in the absence of being able to network and exchange information at the cancelled 2020 SUPA Annual Gathering, 27th May 2020.

More information is available on the Event webpage.

Collage of logos of the research pools and partners of the European Crucible

Calling early/mid-career research leaders from life, physical, engineering, computational, mathematical, environmental and social sciences, arts and humanities in Scotland and Europe!

Scottish Research Pools, the University of Luxembourg and other partner institutions have joined together to form European Crucible, an international research collaboration event gathering together Scottish future research leaders with their counterparts from across Europe.

Recognising the importance of international research collaboration, and following the success of Scottish Crucible over the past decade, this European Crucible will stimulate new international research collaborations between Scottish and European researchers. The meeting will create a new network for research leaders between Scotland and Europe, and enable international collaboration on interdisciplinary research and innovation topics with additional engagement with policy-makers and industry. This first European Crucible event will have an emphasis on innovative collaborations at the interfaces between Life Sciences and other disciplines.

Participants at the 2019 SUPA-Cormack meeting read research posters

The annual SUPA-Cormack meeting took place on the 9th of December 2019, at the RSE in Edinburgh. The meeting welcomed over 70 members of the SUPA Astronomy community, both student and staff, for a day of science and networking.

In a departure from previous years, the programme this year included two invited keynote talks. Dr Pamela Klaassen (UK Astronomy Technology Centre) gave an overview of the James Webb Space Telescope, and the role of Scotland in this mission, and Dr Sara Shinton (University of Edinburgh) led two sessions on Resilience and Wellbeing. Both talks served the desired purpose of promoting a sense of community. Dr Shinton’s talk led to extended discussions on the future role of the meeting, and of SUPA, in helping promote wellbeing within the Astronomy community in Scotland.

20 participants presented their posters in 1-minute flash talks, and seven participants gave longer twenty-minute talks. All SUPA Astronomy institutions were represented in the talks and posters: Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow, St Andrews and Strathclyde. 

2019 Welcome Event participants at the TIC, Strathclyde

In October we welcomed nearly 90 of our latest cohort of PhD students from across our member institutions. Meeting at the Technology & Innovation Centre at the University of Strathclyde, the day introduced the group to the SUPA research themes and the fantastic research within them, had a research highlight talk from Daniele Faccio (Glasgow) on his ground-breaking research into quantum and computational imaging, heard from final year student Araceli Venegas-Gomez (Strathclyde) on her career journey and how to get the most from your PhD, and a talk from Stuart Reid (Strathclyde) on the benefits of public engagement. There was also a quiz (some trivia, some important information about SUPA processes!), and a 'mystery box' activity where the students learnt about undertaking collaborative research, communication and got to know one another.

Group photo of attendees of SUSSP75 at St Andrews

The joint 75th SUSSP and 20th STFC Summer School in Nuclear Physics and its Applications was held at St Andrews University, 5th-17th of August, organised by Daria Sokhan (Glasgow) and Alessandro Pastore (York). It followed the International Nuclear Physics Conference which ran in Glasgow and we are delighted to report that it was a great success, with the largest number of attendees to date: 59 students, out of which 46 were from the nine UK nuclear physics groups (33 of them STFC-funded) and 13 came from institutions outside of the UK: Armenia, Germany, India, Italy, Poland/Russia, Slovenia, South Africa and Switzerland.


David Ireland opening the INPC 2019 conference in Glasgow

The 27th International Nuclear Physics Conference (INPC 2019) was held in Glasgow this summer (29 July to 2 August). Held every three years,
INPC is the biggest conference in the world for fundamental nuclear physics, and is overseen by the International Union of Pure and Applied
Physics (IUPAP). This was the first time it had been held in Scotland, with previous conferences having been in locations such as Adelaide, Florence and Vancouver.

Over 650 delegates from 32 countries were welcomed by Baillie John Kane, representing Glasgow's Lord Provost, and to Scotland by Ivan McKee MSP, representing the Scottish government. The programme covered the very latest work across the whole range of topic areas in Nuclear Physics, from the study of hadrons to the heaviest nuclei, and the role of nuclear physics in our understanding of the universe. The importance of applications of nuclear science was also highlighted. In addition to the SUPA-sponsored public lecture, an outreach programme was put together by teams from Glasgow and York, featuring amongst other things a chart of nuclides built from lego.

2018 new SUPA students at Welcome Event at St Andrews

The SUPA Welcome Event 2019 - 17 October 2019

17 October 2019, Technology & Innovation Centre, University of Strathclyde.

The Welcome Event is a chance for new students to meet fellow new students, hear about what SUPA is and what we do for our students through the Graduate School, hear about the research highlights across our seven themes, hear from current PhD students, and discover the benefits and opportunities of public engagement.

International Nuclear Physics Conference banner image

The International Nuclear Physics Conference is coming to Glasgow at the end of July, SUPA is sponsoring the public lecture given by University of Surrey's Professor Jim Al-Khalili, and everyone is invited!

Nuclear Physics and the Making of the Modern Periodic Table

Tuesday 30 July 2019

SEC, Glasgow

Nothing epitomises the field of chemistry more than the periodic table of elements, a classification and ordering of all the different types of atoms in existence on a grid that can be found on the walls of every school chemistry laboratory in the world. And yet, for more than half of the 150 years since the periodic table was first proposed by the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869, it has been nuclear physicists, not chemists, who have been adding elements to it. To date, in nuclear accelerator labs around the world, 26 transuranic elements have been discovered, the heaviest of which being element 118, named Oganesson.

Through this SFC-supported collaborative project involving SUPA, life sciences pool SULSA and medical imaging pool, SINAPSE, we are exploring ways to build on Scotland’s existing research and industry strengths in this important cross-disciplinary area.  A range of activities are mapping current university and industry activities and trialling ways of supporting new collaborative activities across academia and industry.

SUPA was shortlisted for a 2019 Herald Higher Education Award, in the 'Innovative use of technology' category. The shortlisting recognises our video classroom network, enabling physics doctoral students from all over Scotland to learn from experts in any of the eight SUPA universities. 

The award ceremony took place on 5 June 2019 in Glasgow. We lost out to the University of Edinburgh,  but it was fantastic to be shortlisted alongside some excellent and innovative projects.

More information on the awards can be found on the event website.