Doctoral School

Business Boost Funding

Thanks to the ESRC, we are able to offer funding for doctoral students to engage with business or industry.

Student Business Engagement Fund (up to £750)

Open to social science-funded students at Sussex, this fund offers grants of up to £750 for students to explore ideas for engaging with business or industry.  This could be by:

  • Identifying business contacts through stakeholder mapping
  • Meeting people from industry to discuss innovative ideas for collaboration
  • Attending events to understand business needs and develop approaches to collaboration

Within this fund, we also have a specific programme of residencies at the FuseBox in Brighton. The FuseBox provides studio and desk space for local digital companies (usually 1-3 person companies), as well as collaborative R&D workspace, facilities, opportunities and expertise to innovators through their residency programme.

The businesses at the FuseBox are usually in the fields of immersive (e.g. Virtual / Augmented Reality), connected (e.g. 5G / LoRaWAN), intelligent (Artificial Intelligence/Collective Intelligence) and data driven technologies. The FuseBox also houses the Brighton Immersive Lab, a 5G testbed and a holoportal.

The Student Business Engagement Fund is able to fund a limited number of residencies for University of Sussex social-science PhD students to have a desk in the FuseBox. This provides an opportunity for PhD students to take their laptop and work in an amazing office in the centre of Brighton, bumping into creative people and striking up conversations with businesses who value the perspective research can shed on their business. It also means students can informally gain insight into what it’s like to work in a small business and the collaborations these involve.

Residency Visit – we’re organising a 2 hour visit to the Fusebox in October for those who may be interested in applying. If you would like to find out more about the FuseBox and what a residency would entail, please get in touch to book a place.

If you are interested in applying, please read the Guidance Notes, and return your completed Application form to  If you would like to discuss your ideas before making an application we'd be happy to hear from you (contact details below).


Industry Engagement Fund (up to £5,000)

The aim of this funding is to support ESRC PhD students in the SeNSS network – as well as other social science PhD students - in engaging with businesses, whether this means developing new relationships, or continuing established links.

The funded activities of the Industry Engagement Fund should be based on your social science research with an aim to explore collaborations that could lead to long-term positive changes in the ‘real world’. This could encourage activities such as:

  • Exploring and understanding business needs and how they can be incorporated into research
  • Understanding how to better collaborate and co-produce knowledge with industry partners, including through existing collaborative research
  • Undertaking social science-informed projects and activities to support an identified business user-need
  • Organising or attending collaborative events

 Key dates:

  • Applications deadline: 5pm Monday, 15 October 2018
  • Outcomes of applications announced: week commending 29 October 2018
  • Activities can begin from: 1 November 2018
  • Activities must conclude by: 28 February 2019

 Forms & supporting information

Please click here for the guidance form and application form. This funding is organised centrally by the University of Essex (the lead SeNSS university), but we are also happy to chat to you about your thoughts and application (see Contacts below).

Both of these funding options are available for a limited time only


Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce hold regular events that might be a good starting point if you've not had much interaction with business before.  You can find out about the events they are holding here: 


If you would like to discuss any of the funding streams above, or the events listed, please contact either:

Shelley Jenkins, Senior Doctoral School Coordinator:, 01273 877376

Megan McMichael, ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) Project manager:, 01273 678178

Doctoral School

T: 00 44 (0)1273 87 7767