Doctoral School

The Adam Weiler Doctoral Impact Award

Recognising and celebrating outstanding academic impact among doctoral researchers

The Adam Weiler Doctoral Impact Award is available to exceptional researchers currently registered for a doctoral degree at Sussex who have demonstrated the potential to achieve outstanding academic impact in their field.

The award is offered as a result of a generous donation to the University in memory of Adam Weiler, a former student at the University of Sussex. 

The annual award includes a top prize of £1,000, to go towards the winner's research, and three runner-up prizes of £500, one in each of the three disciplines. Doctoral researchers must be nominated by their doctoral supervisor or the Director of Doctoral Studies in their School.


The 2021 awards were judged by Prof George Kemenes (Director of Doctoral School), Prof Kate Lacey (Director of AHRC CHASE DTP) and Prof Aleks Szczerbiak (LPS Director of Doctoral Studies). Congratulations to our winners and to everyone who was nominated, we had some exceptional entries this year.

First place

  • Chantelle Rizan (Brighton and Sussex Medical School) for timely and innovative work measuring the carbon footprint of hospital surgery, particularly the use of disposable PPE, and strategies to mitigate environmental harm.
  • Maria Bjarnadottir (Law, Politics and Sociology) for work on human rights law, privacy and online sexual images legislation, including drafting the Sexual Privacy Act 2021 for the Icelandic government.


  • Arts and Humanities: Shalini Sengupta (Media, Arts and Humanities) who is taking an intersectional approach to the concept of difficulty in late modern and contemporary poetry.
  • Sciences: Jenny Terry (Psychology) who coordinates the Many Anxieties Project on statistics and maths anxiety across 150 labs in 45 countries.
  • Social Sciences: Cassandra Wiener (Law, Politics and Sociology) who is researching the law around coercive control from the survivors' perspective.

Previous winners include Swastee Ranjan (LPS), whose research focuses on the link between law, cities, and the environment; Sunayana Bhargava (MPS), whose pioneering work seeking the existence of dark matter particles affected an entire sub-field in physics; and Halldor Ulfarsson (MFM), whose collaborative approach to the design of a new musical instrument, the halldorophone, is truly innovative. Three commendations were also awarded in 2020 to Ali Kassem (LPS), Alison Lacey (Psychology) and Selin Tekin Guven (Psychology). Read about their success in this University news article.

Nominations for the 2021 award were open Monday 26 April - Monday 24 May and are now closed

Feeling inspired? Read the University news article on our 2021 winners

Guidance for nominations

Doctoral supervisors or Directors of Doctoral Studies are invited to submit nominations for doctoral researchers who are able to demonstrate the following:

  • Notable innovation in research (e.g. use of innovative methods for conducting research, or conducting research on a highly innovative topic)
  • Ability to conduct high-quality research with significant or ground-breaking implications for theory or practice
  • Evidence of outstanding public engagement or knowledge transfer activity
  • An exceptional track record of academic achievements

The deadline for nominations is Monday 24 May 2021.

If you have any questions about the nomination form or the award, please contact

Selection process

Nominations will be assessed according to the degree to which the researcher meets the eligibility criteria outlined in the Guidance for nominations section above.

Membership of the 2021 selection panel:

  • Prof. George Kemenes (Director of the Doctoral School and Professor of Neuroscience, Life Sciences)
  • Prof. Kate Lacey (Director of the CHASE AHRC DTP and Professor of Media History and Theory, MAH)
  • Prof. Aleks Szczerbiak (Director of Doctoral Studies for the School of Law, Politics & Sociology)
  • Miles Willey, Head of the Doctoral School
Terms and conditions

Awards are offered subject to the following terms and conditions:

  • The recipient must identify an existing School or department budget code to which the funds will be transferred, or work with their School/department to set up a new budget code. Funds cannot be transferred directly to recipients.
  • The awarded funds must be used towards the recipient's research (for example conference attendance or purchase of essential equipment).
  • Award recipients will be asked to contribute to a news story for the Doctoral School blog and University website, where the recipient will be interviewed about their research and the impact of winning the Adam Weiler Award.


Doctoral School