First Accelerators for Security, Healthcare and the Environment Summer School held at CI

The Cockcroft Institute hosted the first of hopefully many summer schools as part of the Accelerators for Security, Healthcare and the Environment (ASHE) centre for doctoral training starting on Tuesday 22nd May.

Dr Graeme Burt, Head of the ASHE programme said “Particle accelerators are a vital part of UK industry and we hope this school provides the training to future PhD graduates in how to innovate these vital machines to keep UK at the forefront of high tech industry. STFC’s strong commitment to funding this programme is expected to have significant impact for years to come.”

The school focused on smaller industrial accelerators used in radiotherapy, medical imaging, cargo scanning, irradiation of wastewater, mass spectrometry and radioisotope production, as well as many other applications. The two week-long training event was split into three sections covering technical accelerator design, applications of accelerators and transferable skills. Speakers were drawn from industry, giving students a chance to interact with experts outside of academia from ASHE industry partners Antaya, Elekta, Rapiscan, Adaptix, NHS Christie and Waters, as well as from E-beam, Tech-X, Alliance Healthcare, Anacail, NPL, and the Surrey Ion Beam Centre.

STFC Innovations, ASTeC and Manchester University also provided lectures on project management, market surveys, business plans, IP management and industrial project costing. A visit to the Christie Proton Beam Therapy Centre rounded off the varied programme.

The school featured two practical assessments, one held at Manchester University on nuclear techniques and another where students created a business plan for a technical innovation. A panel discussion session featuring (left to right on picture) James Ollier (Rapiscan), John Allen (Elekta), Graeme Burt (Cockcroft), Declan Diver (Glasgow University/ Anacail), Jonny Smith (Tech-X), and Hari Menon (STFC Innovations), where students were able to ask questions to be discussed by the panel including employment, working with industry, and commercialising research, was also part of the training.

Dr Hywel Owen, Head of the postgraduate teaching programme at CI said: “Our ASHE school this year has augmented the already world-leading integrated training programme offered to the 70+ postgraduates within our Institute, complementing the other training tracks with this new one focused on industrial applications of particle accelerators. As well as delivering our programme of research, we aim to provide our PhD graduates with the skills they need to work effectively within the high-technology workplace of the future.”

Prof Peter Ratoff, Director of the Cockcroft Institute, strongly endorsed the school, stating: “This event was a first of its kind at the Cockcroft Institute, bringing together academic and industrial experts to excite and inspire our students about the numerous opportunities for the application of accelerators beyond the research lab.”