Celebrating Career Project Success

Students, staff, industry and supporters met to celebrate project achievements and award the presentation for the best summer student poster.

The School of Physics and Astronomy runs a Career Development Scholarship programme, funding and supporting students to undertake research projects over the summer period.

This year 41 undergraduate students took part in the programme.  Students can undertake an academic project based in the School or a project based in industry.  Projects have a duration of around 8 weeks, and students are provided with a stipend of £1,500.

These projects enable students to gain new skills, experience different workplaces and create a network of contacts.  In many cases, students also get the opportunity to work on problems with immediate real world applications.

Anna de Graaff, who is currently in year 5 of an MPhys Astrophysics degree was presented with £1000 for the best project poster.

Anna de Graaff commented:  "My summer project topic originates from my Senior Honours project, of which the results appeared to be of potentially high significance. During the summer I learned how to analyse large volumes of data and I wrote my first paper together with my supervisors. It has been a very rewarding experience to see the project progress from the very early stages to the submitted paper. This project has motivated me to apply for PhD positions, and winning the prize for the best poster is extra encouragement to continue doing research in astrophysics."

Anna's project supervisor, Dr Yan-Chuan Cai, reported:  "Anna's project tackles the missing baryon problem of the Universe, which is one of the most important questions in cosmology. Her search for gas filaments in the cosmic web has yielded interesting and significant results. A paper for this has been written and submitted to a major journal. The work has attracted multiple media coverage."

Bright Ascension, one of the industry contacts commented:  "Hosting a student was a great way for us to explore and learn more about a problem area that was really interesting but which would have been difficult to spend time on otherwise. We were able to set the student to work largely independently and I think we benefited from the analytical skills, focus, fresh perspective and enthusiasm the student brought to the project."