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IOP vice-president visit hears about nuclear energy initiatives and apprentice pathways in the East Midlands

4 December 2023 

Science and Innovation VP Professor Tara Shears FInstP led a delegation on the last VP visit of the year at Nottingham Trent and Nottingham universities.


Dr Edward Breeds MInstP, chair of the IOP East Midlands Branch committee, facilitated the final vice-president visit of the year, the events kicking off with an evening meal with committee members and a discussion of regional activities for the year ahead.

The second day, beginning at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), started with a chat with representatives from the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) programme, where the team heard from Michael Lord CEng MInstP and Katy Jarvis-Morgan as they shared an update on the progress and future objectives for the programme.

This was followed by a presentation from Dr Andy Perry CPhys MInstP and Chris Reynolds from Rolls-Royce as they delivered news of the National Skills Academy Nuclear’s objectives to train 400 degree-level apprenticeships within the next 10 years to meet demand.

The IOP East Midlands Branch Committee and Tara Shears raising glasses around a dinner table

IOP East Midlands Branch committee members and Professor Tara Shears (fourth left) enjoying a meal

Dr Breeds gave an overview of how NTU’s new physics programme works alongside industry to ensure academic pathways align with fast-moving sectors in industry. The programme has introduced a new Industrial Liaison Committee and Assessed Work-Like Experiences at the university.

The liaison committee has representatives from industry and academia and the objectives are to collaboratively identify how they can enhance student skills and open pathways for future career opportunities. More was learned from NTU MSci physics students Ethan Elkan and Airra Samson.

The final stop for the delegation was the University of Nottingham where they were greeted by Dr Nick Botterill who led a tour of the university research facilities.

Local IOP members and students then heard from Professor Tara Shears FInstP, Vice-President for Science and Innovation, as she spoke about ‘Antimatter – Matters’.

And the day finished with an open networking session, to allow members an opportunity to speak with the vice-president and IOP representatives about the Limit Less campaign, IOP strategy and regional activities.

University of Nottingham Professor of Astronomy Alfonso Aragón-Salamanca summed up the positive energy, saying: “I have never seen the B1 lecture theatre so full for an evening event in many years – perhaps never!”

Sharon Connor, Edward Breeds, Tara Shears and Nick Botterill standing in a corrdior

Sharon Connor, IOP Member Networks Support Officer, Dr Edward Breeds, East Midlands Branch Chair, Professor Tara Shears FInstP, IOP Vice-President Science and Innovation, and Dr Nick Botterill, Senior Technical Manager School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Nottingham