Monthly Archives: June 2016

Vania Almeida: Career development plan

If you are preparing (or intend to prepare) a MSCA-Individual Fellowship your proposal should include a career development plan. It means that in addition to research objectives, the proposal should include the researcher’s training and career needs, including training on transferable skills (e.g. communication, time management, organizational, leadership), supervisory and teaching, planning for publications and participation in conferences.

Why is it important? A clear plan will help you to maximise the training and development opportunities, as an on-going process.

Career development is most effective when it is started early, preferably during your PhD. This process will be most effective as you have a clear perspective about your career objectives in a short term and/or long term. You can start thinking about your skills, personality, and your past and current work experience. But, do not forget to think about what really motivates you!

Finally, but no less important, look at the employability. The following data are referring to what physical sciences and engineering doctorates holders do 3.5 years after the graduation. Numbers from Vitae [1] suggest that 70 % work outside of higher education (HE) while 30% work in the HE sector. These numbers are not surprising for me due to the importance of doctoral graduates in business sectors built on science and technology. More information about biological, biomedical, social sciences, and arts and humanities is available here [2]. What is more surprising, for me at least, it is how PhD holders are employed in HE sector: 16% in teaching roles, 35% in research and 49% in other occupations.

A teaching position is probably the main goal of most of us who intend to pursue a career in HE, but these numbers suggest that probably we are underestimating the number of opportunities in “other occupations”. Do not forget to prepare yourself to these opportunities along your career path.

At Aston, you can book the Careers and Personal Development Planning training. Our HR team will help you to delineate what suits best for you.



[2]   (an account is required to access this information)


Amos Martinez: From LiFi to metamaterials to microscopy, a look at AIPT’s seminars

This year I have been asked to help with the organization of the seminars at AIPT and I am enjoying the experience so far. If you are ever asked to get in charge of organizing the seminars, go for it!

Sure, it takes away much needed time working in the lab, working on proposals and collaborations or just reading or writing papers, but, on the other hand, it gives a great opportunity to interact with scientists and researchers from all walks of life “light”.

After a slow start of the year the seminar series is truly gaining momentum. Just have a look at the breadth and depth of topics and invited speakers over the past few weeks and some of the upcoming talks at the end of this post.

I believe the broad range of topics  clear reflects AIPT’s broad range of interests, something that impressed me when I first came back to Aston.

But it all starts and ends with the speakers, all of whom I must thank for taking time of their busy schedules to visit us and delivering such interesting and inspiring talks.

PANO_20160531_113250 Picture: Prof. Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh sharing his vision on how LiFi can change the world. Also attending the seminar Yuri Kivshar, another of our  upcoming speakers and distinguished visitors. Photo credit: Srikanth Sugavanam


Dr Arun Harish and Dr Tom Harvey Healthcare Photonics at CPI

Time: 11.30am, 7 June 2016


Prof.Yuri Kivshar, Nonlinear Physics Centre, Australian National University, Canberra

Metamaterials and metasurfaces

Time: 10.30am, 10 June 2016


Prof.Zhipei Sun, Department of Micro- and Nanosciences, Aalto University

Nanoscale nonlinear optics with low-dimensional nanomaterials

Time: 11am, 13th June 2016



Professor Harald Haas, the University of Edinburgh

LiFi: Conceptions, Misconceptions and Opportunities 


Prof. Nikolay Zheludev, Optoelectronics Research Centre, Southampton, Photonics Institute, NTU,Singapore

Metamaterials: Optical Properties on Demand


Dr. Oleg Mitrofanov, University College London

Terahertz near-field microscopy: methods and applications


Dr.Irina Kabakova, ICJR Fellow at Imperial College London

Brillouin microscopy and endoscopy for stiffness measurements of biological tissues


Dr. Nikola Alic, UCSD

State of the art frequency combs and their applications in optical communications


Dr. Lina Persechini, Associate Editor in Nature Communication

Introduction to Nature Communications: Aims and Scope


Dr Donald Govan, Oclaro Technology Ltd, UK

CFP2: Coherent Pluggable Optics 


Prof. Moti Fridman, Bar Ilan University, Israel

Spontaneous PT symmetry breaking with topological insulators

Dr. Haider Butt, Micro Engineering and Nanotechnology, University of Birmingham,UK

Holographic laser ablation for nanophotonic devices 


Prof. Tiegen Liu, Opto-electronic Information Technology,Ministry of Education,China

Hybrid Optical Fibre Sensing Theory and Methods 


AIPT Half-day Meeting: Orbital Angular Momentum in Optical Fibre Communications

Prof Siddharth Ramachandran, Boston University, USA

Singular light in fibres: beams that can do what Gaussians cannot

Dr Martin Lavery, Glasgow University, UK

Orbital Angular Momentum – past, present, and future

Dr Mirco Scaffardi, CNIT Pisa, Italy

Revolutionising optical transmission and networking using the OAM of light

Prof. Kestutis Staliunas, ICREA,Barcelona, Spain
Photonic crystals for spatial filtering

Dr. Pascal Del’Haye, National Physical Laboratory, UK
Self-Referencing of a Microresonator Optical Frequency Comb