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 annual 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. 

On offer are four top prizes of £1,000 and four runner-up prizes of £500, a pair in each of the three disciplines plus a new award for clinical projects. Winners will also get the opportunity to present their work at Sussex Doc Fest on Thursday 8 June.

Researchers must be nominated by their doctoral supervisor or the Director of Doctoral Studies in their School, and the prize money must be put towards the recipient's research.  

Nominations for the 2023 Adam Weiler Doctoral Impact Awards has now closed.

Read about the winners from 2023 Adam Weiler Doctoral Impact Awards and see below for more info.

2023 Winners

The 2023 awards were judged by Dr Miroslav Chlebik (MPS Director of Doctoral Studies), Prof Lucy Robinson (Associate Dean of Doctoral Studies for MAH) and Dr Natalia Slutskaya (Business School Director of Doctoral Studies). Congratulations to our winners and to everyone who was nominated.

Check out the University news story to read more about the incredible research being carried out by our winners.

Arts & Humanities

  • Winner: Sam Harrold (Media, Arts & Humanities), uses a highly original synthesis of interdisciplinary methods, fusing scientific and practice-led approaches across disciplines from medicine to creative writing to explore how art and music can support care home residents with memory loss. Her close work with residents, family members and care workers has led to new insights into how we view the changing status of memory at end of life, how we can respond more respectfully to residents’ complex needs, and how serenity can be found within the noisy chaos of the care home environment.
  • Runner-up: Ali Ramsey (Media, Arts & Humanities)whose of-the-moment research into media representation of the menopause considers the relationship between feminist grassroots activism and neoliberal concepts that fuel the wellness industry.


  • Winner: William Roper (Mathematical & Physical Sciences) has been instrumental in developing new computer code to speed up numerical simulations that are used to gain an understanding of how galaxies, stars, gasses, dark matter and black holes form and evolve. This faster code makes it possible to process larger volumes with higher resolution, something which has limited discoveries to this point.
  • Runner-up: Hon Wing Boaz Chan (Life Sciences), for designing novel reaction systems in two exceptional projects that will impact the fields of chemistry and sustainable technology.
  • Runner-up: Sebastian Oakley (Life Sciences), for exciting research into the mechanisms of Alzheimer’s and a small molecule drug that may prevent progression of the disease.

Social Sciences

  • Winner: Phillippa Groome (SPRU, Business School)is exploring how organisations can successfully promote equality, diversity and inclusion, specifically gender equality, within the demanding context of the UK construction sector. She is taking an innovative approach to develop research initiatives collaboratively with industry and policy stakeholders, and advocating for participant-led methodologies within the project delivery field.
  • Runner-up: Chloe Anthony (Global Studies), whose research focuses on UK environmental law and predicts the current move towards collaborative landscape-level ‘nature recovery'.

Clinical Sciences

  • Winner: Arran Pack (Brighton & Sussex Medical School), our inaugural Clinical Sciences winner, takes an innovative and interdisciplinary approach to blood cancer research, pioneering a way of integrating mutations into computational simulations of healthy cells to predict how cancer cells will respond to their environment in the body and to drugs.
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)

  • Conducting high-quality research with significant or ground-breaking implications for theory or practice, or important implications beyond academia

  • Evidence of outstanding public engagement or other knowledge transfer activity, going beyond the simple dissemination of their research

  • Evidence of exceptional achievement during their doctoral studies (e.g. writing journal articles or conference papers, leading research groups, involvement in national bodies, influencing policy etc.)

Evidence or a clear statement must be provided for each criterion. See the list of previous winners for examples of the impact PhD researchers can make.

A nominee may not meet all four criteria but can still receive an award if they are exceptional in other categories.

This year's deadline for nominations is Monday 22 May at 17.00.

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 PhD researcher meets the eligibility criteria outlined in the Guidance for nominations section above.

Membership of the 2023 selection panel:

  • Prof Jeremy Niven, Dean of the Doctoral School and Professor of Zoology, Life Sciences
  • Dr Miroslav Chlebik, Director of Doctoral Studies for the School of Mathematical & Physical Sciences
  • Prof Lucy Robinson, Associate Dean of Doctoral Studies for the School of Media, Arts & Humanities
  • Dr Natalia Slutskaya, Director of Doctoral Studies for the Business 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 organise reimbursement of funds from the Doctoral School once items have been purchased. 
  • The awarded funds must be used towards the recipient's research (for example conference attendance or purchase of essential equipment).
  • The awarded funds must be spent in a timely manner, within six months of the award at the latest.
  • Award recipients will be asked to present their work at an event during Sussex Doc Fest in June, and to contribute to a news story for the Doctoral School blog and/or University website, where the recipient will be interviewed about their research and the impact of winning the award. 


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