Doctoral School

What do you do?

There are many staff in professional services across campus working to support doctoral researchers. In this regular item we highlight a staff member and service supporting the doctoral community & tell you a bit more about their role, and how they can help you.

Image of Christina MiaritiName: Christina Miariti
Role: Research Impact Officer
Department/Division: Research Quality & Impact Team

What do you do?

I work as a Research Impact Officer in the Research Quality & Impact (RQ&I) Team, based in the Research and Enterprise division of the University.

Research impact is of increasing importance in Higher Education. It is now included as a funding criterion, and it is an important part of the assessment criteria used in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) - the national framework that assesses research outputs from academic institutions.

I work across the University to support researchers in understanding and achieving research impact, and my role includes:

  • liaising with funders on policies and guidance for research impact
  • developing and updating detailed guidance on writing the impact sections of grant applications
  • providing support to researchers to develop their impact statements in applications for funding
  • promoting and supporting opportunities and initiatives around research impact

What support do you offer to doctoral researchers?

I am able to provide advice and guidance to doctoral researchers who are interested in understanding the impact stemming from their research, and who are seeking advice about what activities they can undertake to effect that impact (for example, considering activities that involve engaging with non-academic stakeholders).

I can also offer practical support to later stage doctoral researchers who are in the process of applying for postdoctoral funding, in terms of reviewing and providing advice on their impact statements in grant applications.

Doctoral researchers who would like to find out more about research impact are also invited to attend any of the events taking place as part of Sussex Impact Day on Tuesday 16th June. There are a range of daytime workshops taking place designed to stimulate discussion around impact, and an evening ceremony including presentation of the first ever Sussex Impact and Research Awards.

How can doctoral researchers get in touch?

Doctoral researchers can get in touch with the RQ&I team with any general enquiries relating to research impact by sending an e-mail to

Later stage doctoral researchers who are in the process of applying for postdoctoral funding can contact me at for advice on completing the impact section of their grant application form.

What's the most common question you are asked by doctoral researchers?

The question I am most commonly asked by doctoral researchers is “What is research impact?”

There are a range of impact definitions and terms explained in the Research Impact Toolkit on the Sussex website, but broadly speaking, research impact can be defined as the difference that a given piece of research makes to society and the economy, beyond academia.

Are there any useful online resources doctoral researchers need to know about?

There are lots of useful online resources available that doctoral researchers might be interested in taking a look at, and a good place to start is the RQ&I Team webpages on research impact.

Doctoral researchers might be particularly interested in taking a look at the Research Impact Toolkit which includes lots of information about research impact, and a Funders’ corner section which offers funder-specific guidance and case studies on impact.

Within the toolkit, you can also download a useful guide to Research Councils UK (RCUK) Impact Requirements Frequently Asked Questions.

Doctoral School