Doctoral School

July 2015

Doctoral Connections

About this issue


In this special issue of Doctoral Connections, we’ve brought together a range of resources, information and tips to help you prepare for the conference season.

We’ve also changed the format of the newsletter, so that all the information you need is now on one page, delivered to your inbox. We’d love to know what you think of the new format, so please take a moment to send us your feedback.



    PRES Update

    Summer Graduation

    Summer Researcher-Led Initiative Fund Award

    Former Sussex doctoral researcher recognised for innovative research

    Call for Applications: Newton Bhabha PhD Placements 2015

Academic Conferences

    Find the right conference

    Fund your attendance with the Doctoral Overseas Conference (DOC) Grant

    Develop your Sussex Online Profile (in case someone looks you up)

    Conference Resources and Top Tips

Keep in touch & get involved



PRES Update

The Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) report of results from the Higher Education Academy is due in early July. We will be sharing details of the results in the next issue.

In the meantime, if you chose to receive a £5 catering voucher in return for completing the survey which you have not yet collected, please pop into the Doctoral School to pick up your voucher.

Catering vouchers will expire on Friday 14th August.

Summer Graduation

This year’s Summer Graduation ceremonies are taking place between Monday 13th and Friday 17th July at the Brighton Dome.

We’d like to congratulate all of the researchers whose doctorates are being conferred at this year’s ceremonies.  

Read more about Summer Graduation

Summer Researcher-Led Initiative (RLI) Fund Award

We are pleased to announce that Marie Rogers, doctoral researcher in the School of Psychology, was awarded funding following the Summer call for RLI Fund applications, for the symposium ‘5 Minute Thesis: Cognition in brains, animals and machines’.

Visit the funding pages of the Doctoral School website to find out more about the Researcher-Led Initiative Fund and other funding opportunities for doctoral researchers at Sussex.

Former Sussex doctoral researcher recognised for innovative research

In June this month, former Sussex doctoral researcher Dr Sandy Kilpatrick was featured in a University news item after he was chosen as a finalist for the international Reaxys PhD Prize competition for young chemists.

Sandy, who completed his PhD at the end of 2014, will present his research in Hong Kong this September at the 2015 Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium.

Read the full news item

If you've got an innovative idea, why not take a look at the StartUp Sussex Entrepreneurship pages of the Careers and Employability Centre (CEC) website. CEC collaborates with the Sussex Innovation Centre to run a range of activities and events to support enterprising Sussex students and graduates.

Call for Applications: Newton Bhabha PhD Placements 2015

Applications are now being accepted for the Newton-Bhabha PhD Placements programme.

Jointly funded by the British Council India and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the programme offers up to 30 short-term (3-6 months) PhD placements for Indian and UK PhD scholars in any Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects to spend a period of their study at UK and Indian higher education or research institutions.

The deadline for receipt of applications is Friday 31st July.

Find out more

Academic Conferences

Find the right conference

Attending a conference is a great opportunity to present your research, hear about current research in your field and meet fellow scholars. With busy schedules and tight budgets doctoral researchers think carefully about which conferences to attend. Finding out what, when and where upcoming conferences are taking place is the first step. Most will have two rounds of promotion: the call for papers followed by the invitation for delegates to sign up, so there is usually plenty of time to discover forthcoming events. Conference organisers tend to promote through a range of channels and there are a number of ways that you can find out about conferences in your subject area:

Your colleagues

The people you work with and see around campus are an invaluable source of information. Ask your colleagues and your supervisors which conferences they attend or organise, and find out if they know about conferences that are relevant to your research. Talk to scholars working in other disciplines too, try using training courses and events as an opportunity to learn which conferences your fellow researchers attend. Online research communities such as, ResearchGate and Piirus are a useful way to extend your research network. Making online connections with researchers with similar interests increases your chances of discovering the latest conference news in your field.   

Your school/department

Many conference organisers advertise by contacting academics or University departments directly, and your Research & Enterprise Co-ordinator will share this information with doctoral researchers.  So, read those emails and keep an eye on notice boards in your department, common rooms and the Research Hive.

Conference databases

There are a number of conference databases that are freely available to search online, they rely on conference organisers adding details of events. You can search by keyword, subject area or location. In many cases you can create an account for free and set up alerts for specific topics or keywords, so that you will be notified when new conferences matching your search criteria are advertised.


Twitter is one of the largest social networks in the world and many researchers use it to promote their work and connect with others. Follow interesting people, organisations and research groups to see their tweets in your news feed, this is a great way to find out about upcoming conferences.

Conference organisers usually establish a hashtag to help twitter users track tweets about a conference in real time. This is particularly useful if you’re not able to attend an event you are interested in, conference tweets often include details of the speakers, key points and links to slides and proceedings.

Organise your own conference!

Using these tools you should be able to find out about conferences that are relevant to your research. If you haven’t found your dream conference perhaps you could consider organising your own. For some useful guidance take a look at Tips for organising your own conference” on the Research Hive Blog, and if you’re looking for some funding for a conference you’re organising that will benefit a broad range of researchers, you can also apply to the Doctoral School’s Researcher-Led Initiative (RLI) Fund.

- Bethany Logan (Research Support Supervisor - The Library)

Just had a paper or presentation accepted for a conference taking place overseas? You may be eligible to apply for a Doctoral Overseas Conference (DOC) Grant from the Doctoral School.

These grants support overseas conference attendance for doctoral researchers at Sussex who will be active participants in the conference with either a paper or presentation accepted. Payment includes a contribution towards travel costs, accommodation and conference fees only - expenses for visas or subsistence are not included.

Funding is limited to a maximum amount of £1,000 for any one student during the period of their registration.

The current call closes on 30th September 2015

For further information including details of how to apply, please visit

Develop your Sussex Online Profile (in case someone looks you up)

Before attending a conference, it’s really important to think about how the people you will meet can stay in touch and find out more about you and your work. An effective way of doing this is to set up and develop your Sussex Online Researcher Profile, which rank highly in web search results.

Sussex Online Profiles are available to all doctoral researchers and are a really good way of promoting yourself to the academic community and wider public.

By setting up and developing your Sussex Online Profile, you’ll be able to present yourself through your departmental webpages, and you’ll also appear alongside other doctoral researchers from across the University in the Directory of Doctoral Researchers on the Doctoral School website.

For more information on how to set up and develop your online profile using Sussex Direct, take a look at our Developing your Sussex Online Profile online module.

You can find out more about promoting yourself and your research online in our Building your academic Web presence online module.

Conference Resources and Top Tips

We’ve collected together a range of online links with lots of useful information about conferences - from planning and preparing your presentation, to making the most of the event.

Planning and preparing for your conference

Patter - Survival essentials, questions of etiquette, dealing with questions - see Professor Pat Thomson's conference blog for some helpful tips in preparing

theguardian: How to make the most of academic conferences – five tips – Do the legwork, don’t put your entire thesis in your paper, plan the conference like a military operation and other helpful tips

gradhacker: Preparing for Conferences -  'Athletes practice; academics prepare' - Advice on preparing for a conference from the gradhacker 

The Thesis Whisperer: Four Ways to Rock your Next Talk – Read about four ways to rock at public speaking

TED – Get inspired by TED talks

Technology Enhanced Learning at Sussex: Using Creative Commons images in your teaching – Whatever images you use in your presentations, take care not to breach copyright

The London School of Economics and Political Science: Your essential 'how-to' guide to using Prezi in an academic environment – Prezi or PowerPoint?

Technology Enhanced Learning at Sussex Blog: Top tips for designing presentations - Design your slides for the person sitting in the back row and other useful tips for presentation design

PhD Posters: Gallery – Get some inspiration for your academic poster

Elsevier: Infographic: Tips for designing better research posters – The do’s and don’ts of preparing posters

Sussex Estates and Facilities: Services for students - Organise printing your poster and contact/business card

Making the most of the event

The Research Whisperer: Build your conference karma – How to be a great conference participant

theguardian: Live-tweeting at academic conferences: 10 rules of thumb and Social Media for Learning: Tips for tweeting at conferences – Does the conference have a hashtag? Consider your twitter etiquette…

The Research Whisperer: Networking and other academic hobbies – ‘A successful networker is responsive, active, dependable, and has initiative’

Read about other peoples’ experiences

My First Time: Researchers' First Experiences in Academia - My first time...submitting to a conference, giving a conference paper, going to an international conference…

Resources from the Sussex Research Hive Blog

Back in January, the Sussex Research Hive Scholars hosted a Doctoral Discussions event on Conferences and Networking. Read the event review here on the Hive Blog.

And for those of your involved in organising a conference, some tips from our Hive Scholars.

Keep in touch & get involved

Doctoral Connections is produced by the Doctoral School, for all current doctoral researchers at the University of Sussex. You can find out more about the Doctoral School through our webpages, and keep up-to-date with what's going on by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

If you'd like to send us some feedback or have a suggestion about Doctoral Connections we'd love to hear from you!


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