Changes to the CDT Management

2018 starts with some changes to the CDT in Metamaterials management:

Alastair Hibbins is taking on the role as Director from Roy Sambles as of 1 Jan 2018.

Roy Sambles has successfully led the CDT in Metamaterials since its beginnings in 2014. It has grown to a significant size with almost 100 researchers, consisting of about 30 supervisors and 65 post graduate research students  (PGR) in 2017/18. After decades of intensive research, management and leadership roles, most recently in the CDT, and as President of the Institute of Physics, Roy has handed over more of the CDT leadership responsibility to Alastair during the past year with the aim to formalise the handover from 1 January 2018 as approved by the institution and EPSRC. Roy will continue to support the CDT as a member of the Management Board and as a supervisor with his expertise and a strong network of academic and industry partners.

Alastair is now building on a strong foundation to evolve the CDT programme and Exeter’s reputation as an institution that provides postgraduate researchers with the skills and understanding to become tomorrow’s leaders in industry, as well as in academia. He is passionate about providing an outstanding experience for talented, early-career researchers to prepare them for a variety of career pathways, as today’s PhD graduates are more likely than ever to find careers outside of academia, and the job roles for academics is evolving rapidly as well.

Alastair, the CDT management and the supervisors are working together to provide our graduates with the ability to design, harness and exploit the potential of functional and meta-materials, maintaining and furthering the UK’s position in this rapidly-developing field.

Isaac Luxmoore is formally included as Co-Director as of 1 Jan 2018.

Isaac is a Lecturer in Engineering (Nano-photonics) at the University of Exeter.  He has supported the CDT investigator team since November 2016 whilst Bill Barnes was on study leave in 2016/17, pushing forward major aspects of the training programme development and implementation and providing valuable additional representation of the Engineering department in CDT management discussions. Bill returned from his study leave in September 2017 to take on CDT specific teaching duties in science and soft skill training, and Isaac will drive the development and further implementation of the overall training programme, including industry visits and invited talks from academic and industry representatives to enhance understanding of careers pathways and provide a broad range of insight into employment requirements. The institution and EPSRC approved the request to include Isaac as Co-Investigator on the CDT grant EP/L015331/1.

Ian Hooper is leaving his role as Technical Director as of 3 Jan 2018

Ian has provided exceptional support to the CDT management and the PGRs in his role as Technical Director over the past years. He has recently secured a new position on the Prosperity Partnership project Tailored Electromagnetic and Acoustic Materials  (TEAM-A) which will allow him to focus his time, energy and intellectual resource fully to research. We are very sad to see Ian go, but understand his drive to fully commit to science. As the TEAM-A and CDT research topics complement each other we look forward to work together with Ian on more exciting and challenging research projects in the future.

The beauty of Science & Art – Roy Sambles’ Christmas lecture

Prior Christmas, the Cornubian Arts & Science Trust (CAST) presented a lecture by Roy Sambles, Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Exeter and artist David Batchelor at Helston College.

Roy demonstrated some of the ways in which light and colour may be created. He was joined by David Batchelor, an internationally acclaimed artist whose work experiments with colour as it is experienced in the modern urban environment.

CAST aims to promote participation, appreciation and learning in the visual arts and to encourage interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration across the arts and sciences.

The lecture has been organised in partnership with the Institute of Physics.

Exeter Microwave Metamaterials Meeting

The second Exeter Microwave Metamaterials Meeting was held in Reed Hall just before Christmas.  Organised by Dr Ben Tremain and Prof Alastair Hibbins, around 50 delegates from industry and academia, across the UK and Europe, took part in this collaborative workshop.  The first day focussed on research presentations from PhD students and Early Career Researchers,  and included talks on glide-symmetric metasurfaces (Ebrahimpuri, KTH, Sweeden), the conversion of propagating waves into surface waves (Tcvetkova, Aalto, Finland), leaky-wave devices (Martinez-Ros, Seville, Spain) and photonic topological materials (Yang, Birmingham, UK).  There were also talks from XM2 post graduate researchers Lauren Barr, Miguel Camacho and Yulia Dautova.  The delegates were rewarded with a drinks reception and three-course meal in the evening, providing an opportunity for networking with senior academics and industry leaders.

Our industrial colleagues took centre stage on Tuesday morning, with talks from Flann Microwave, Johnson Matthey, MBDA, Plextek, QinetiQ, NPL and Metaboards, covering wide ranging topics including material fabrication, defence applications, measurement facilities, antennas and wireless power transfer.  The workshop finished with presentations from senior academics from Queen Mary, Navarra (Spain), Birmingham and Sheffield, and included Dr Darren Cadman from Loughborough, talking about the EPSRC Grand Challenge ‘SYMETA’ (involving Exeter) and Exeter’s own  Dr Feodor Ogrin who discussed his group’s work towards magnetically tuneable microwave devices.

Throughout the meeting, research posters were on display, and these were judged by Dr Simon Berry and Dr Chris Preddy from QinetiQ.  Exeter researcher Lauren Barr won the best poster prize!

This workshop forms part of an series of XM2-sponsored discussion meetings, which included an infrared sensing and imaging workshop in November, and will continue with the Exeter Acoustic MetaMaterials Meeting (XAM3) on 16th and 17th April 2018.


Careers event 25 and 26 January 2018

On 25/26 Jan 2018 there will be opportunities to network and talk to the research and HR representatives of various companies about what roles there are, what they do, what it’s like to work in these companies, and what you should consider when applying for a job.

Please see below the list of businesses that will be present.

The event is open to all final year UGs, PGRs and postdocs in EMPS and related Sciences. Spaces are limited to 80 attendees (first come first served).


Time Thursday 25 Jan 2018 Company description
10.00 – 11.00 Arrival coffee & networking/manned stands for student enquiries
11.00 – 11.30 Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory (HCL) research aims at creating new concepts of advanced electronic and optoelectronic devices. Its research initially focused on microelectronics using transport techniques. Work has also been carried out on Single-electron parametron memory cell which led to the development of a major activity on quantum computation. Aside this, research on magnetism led in particular to the discovery of Coulomb blockade anisotropic magnetoresistance as well as Spin injection Hall effect.
11.30 – 12.00 Flann Microwave Flann Microwave Ltd is a market-leading designer and manufacturer of Antennas, Precision Microwave Components and Test and Measurement products operating between frequencies of 2 to 500GHz and above.
12.00 – 12.30 DSTL The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory is an executive agency of the Ministry of Defence of the UK. DTSL recruits scientists, engineers, analysts, programme and project managers, and finance, logistics, medical and communications personnel. While each role will have its own individual qualification and technical requirements, there are some standard requirements and personal qualities they look for in their candidates. You must be a UK national and have resided in the UK for the past 5 years.
12.30 – 13.30 Lunch networking session/manned stands for student enquiries
13.30 –  14.00 NPL The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is the UK’s National Measurement Institute, and is a world-leading centre of excellence in developing and applying the most accurate measurement standards, science and technology available. NPL sits at the intersection between scientific discovery and real world application. Their research supports innovation in science, industry and medicine. Their scientists make real differences to people’s lives through research in fields as diverse as quantum physics, medicine and climate change.
14.00 – 14.30 Dyson Dyson – solving problems that others ignore. There are over 3,500 engineers and scientists at Dyson, dedicated to inventing and improving Dyson machines. Some are leaders in their field. Others are fresh out of university. They’re drawn from a broad spectrum of disciplines: design, electronics, motors, fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, robotics, prototyping, scientific research, manufacturing, machine learning, AI, quality testing, lighting, compliance, procurement… And others. Together, they engineer Dyson’s future.
14.30 – 15.00 Thales To help create a safer world, Thales serves five keys sectors: Aerospace, Space, Ground Transportation, Defence, and Security. It recruits to a total of 15 generic job families, from Marketing to Research & Development, legal and finance.
15.00 – 16.00 Afternoon coffee & networking/manned stands for student enquiries
Time Friday 26 Jan 2018  
10.00 – 11.00 Arrival coffee & networking/manned stands for student enquiries
11.00 – 11.30 MBDA MBDA is a world leading, global missile systems company, operating in all of the major world markets. They’re the only company able to design and produce missiles and missile systems for army, navy and air forces.
11.30 – 12.00 QinetiQ QinetiQ is a company of scientists and engineers who deploy their scientific and technological knowledge, proven research capabilities and unique, purpose-built facilities to provide both services and products that meet the needs of a wide range of global customers. They operate primarily in the defence, security and aerospace markets and their customers are predominantly government organisations, including defence departments, as well as international customers in other targeted sectors.
12.00 – 12.30 Huawei Huawei is a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider with 180,000 employees. Driven by a commitment to sound operations, ongoing innovation, and open collaboration, they have established a competitive ICT portfolio of end-to-end solutions in telecom and enterprise networks, devices, and cloud technology and services. Their ICT solutions, products, and services are used in more than 170 countries and regions, serving over one-third of the world’s population.
12.30 – 13.30 Lunch networking session/manned stands for student enquiries
13.30 –  14.00 Nature Publishing Group Nature Publishing Group is a division of the international scientific publishing company Springer Nature that publishes academic journals, magazines, online databases, and services in science and medicine. Nature Publishing Group’s flagship publication is Nature, a weekly multidisciplinary journal first published in 1869. As they continue to develop and expand their portfolio, job opportunities arise in all departments, including: editorial, production and design, sales, marketing, advertising, IT, web publishing, business development, and administration.
14.00 – 14.30 Synopsys Synopsys technology is at the heart of innovations that are changing the way we live and work. The Internet of Things. Autonomous cars. Wearables. Smart medical devices. Secure financial services. Machine learning and computer vision. These breakthroughs are ushering in the era of Smart, Secure Everything―where devices are getting smarter, everything’s connected, and everything must be secure.

Powering this new era of technology are advanced silicon chips, which are made even smarter by the remarkable software that drives them. Synopsys is at the forefront of Smart, Secure Everything with the world’s most advanced tools for silicon chip design, verification, IP integration, and application security testing.

14.30 – 15.00 Met Office The Met Office carries out a broad range of research which underpins all their products and services. From weather and ocean forecasting to climate prediction, their research and development team are at the forefront of scientific research.
15.00 – 16.00 Afternoon coffee & networking/manned stands for student enquiries


CDT office / University closure

CDT Christmas holidays/University closure arrangements

The CDT office will be closed from 20 December 2017 until 1 January 2018.

  • Deb will be away from 21 Dec and return on 2 January 2018
  • Karen will be away from 21 January and return on 2 January 2018.
  • Anja will be away from 20 Dec and return on 9 January 2018.

The formal University closure days are 25 Dec 2017 – 1 Jan 2018

Further information on building access on Campus during closure times:

SoapBox Science – call for female speakers is now open

Soapbox Science is a novel public outreach platform for promoting women scientists and the science they do. The next call for speakers is now open, you can sign up for one of their “classic” Soapbox Science events here.

Application deadline: 23rd February 2018. 

Lauren Barr took to the streets last summer (the Event runs in Exeter every June) and is happy to offer information and advice! Read her story about the experience.


In addition to their usual events, Soapbox Science’s 8th year is set to bring innovative, awe-inspiring, and mind-boggling science to arts festivals around the UK. Soapbox Art & Science embarks on its second year of uniting female scientists with artists from local research/education institutions to explore fresh and engaging ways of communicating scientific ideas through art, and testing them out on audiences at arts festivals.

Are you a female scientist who is passionate about your work, and eager to explore your topic in

Interested in volunteering? Contact me: Lauren Barr,

creative ways? If so, then Soapbox Art & Science needs YOU! They are looking for active scientists in all areas of science, from PhD students to Professors, and from entry-level researchers to entrepreneurs, to take part in this cutting-edge project to

  • Help  improve the visibility of women in science
  • Develop engaging and innovative ways to communicate science
  • Make valuable connections with artists and other scientists
  • Engage with people who might not otherwise encounter science

Find out more and apply for the Soapboax  Art & Science events here. 

Application deadline: 3rd January 2018.

Training and other events in January 2018

Date Training/Event Cohort Time Venue
10.01.18 LTHE 1 1st Years 9.30 – 16.00 Laver LT6
11.01.18 CDT Group Meeting Group 2 14.30 – 15.30 Phy124
12.01.18 Metamaterials Colloquium All 12.30 – 13.30 Newman Red
15.01.18 Fabrication & Characterisation of functional materials 4th Years 10.00 – 15.30 HAR 170
17.01.18 CDT Group Meeting Group 3 13.30 – 14.30 Phy124
19.01.18 Write about Science 1st Years 9.00 – 16.30 WSL219
19.01.18 Cohort meeting with the CDT Director & Programme Manager 4th Years 9.00 – 10.00 G33
22.01.18 Fabrication & Characterisation of functional materials 1st Years 10.00 – 15.30 HAR 170
24.01.18 CDT Group Meeting Group 4 13.30 – 14.30 Phy124
25/26.01.18 Industry Careers Event All (optional) 8.30 – 17.30

Both days

Reed Hall
31.01.2018 Leadership & Team Building Workshop (1st day) 3rd Years 9.00 – 16.30 Washington Singer 219

Christmas dinner & presentation prize winners

Congratulations to this years’ month 13 & month 25 presentation prize winners, Kieran Walsh, Ned Taylor, and Joshua Hamilton, who demonstrated excellence in both presentation style and scientific/technical content. All presenters were scored by their peers and academic assessors. Well done!

What’s more, Joshua is apparently not only a good presenter but also a good organiser: he successfully accomplished the challenge of pulling the PGR’s Christmas dinner together, which we used as an opportunity to announce the presentation prize winners.

Thanks to everybody who contributed to the presentation series and the Christmas dinner.

P.S.: We heard Santa’s elf whisper something about a secret gift giving ceremony in the PGR office Physics G33 on Friday… if you’re on Harry Penketh’s nice list, don’t forget to drop the prezzies under the G33 Christmas tree by 1.30pm on 15 Dec 2017.

Prof Roy Sambles at the UK Acoustics Network

Image (right to left): Our CDT’s Director, Prof Roy Sambles in discussion with Dr Ben Hodder (QinetiQ) and Duncan Williams (DSTL).

The first meeting of the EPSRC funded UK Acoustic Network took place on Monday 27 November 2017. This network provides a platform for about 100 academics, Government researchers and industrialists to get together and explore the future pathways for UK acoustics research.  In January 2018 the UK Acoustics Network Steering Committee will meet to roadmap the future of acoustics reserach in the UK with Prof Alastair Hibbins as a member of the group.