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. 

For 2022, to reflect the growing interest in the award, we are increasing the prizes on offer and will award three top prizes of £1,000 and three runner-up prizes of £500, a pair in each of the three disciplines.

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 are now closed. See below for the 2022 winners.

Feeling inspired? Read the University reports on our 2020 and 2021 winners

2022 Winners

The 2022 awards were judged by Prof Jeremy Niven (Dean of the Doctoral School), Prof Gerhard Wolf (MAH Associate Dean of Doctoral Studies) and Prof Nuno Ferreira (LPS 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: Effie Makepeace (Media, Arts & Humanities), who is developing innovative methodologies for co-creation through community theatre, democratising and decolonising research practices, and reframing participants as co-researchers to allow them real interpretive freedom. Working with female co-researchers in Malawi since 2008, Effie has more recently applied the group's methods with homeless and at-risk women in the UK, via Zoom.
  • Runner-up: Riziki Millanzi (MAH), whose research into ‘Black Girl Magic’ in speculative fiction is making an important contribution to Black female representation and resistance in popular culture.
  • Highly commended: Florian Zabransky (MAH), whose unique study of male Jewish intimacy in the Holocaust is of huge importance.


  • Winner: Abigail Dunn (Psychology) is working in a new area of mental illness prevention, focusing on what can be done to reduce the risk of mental health problems passing from generation to generation in families. Abby helped establish the first NHS parent mental health clinic in the UK, set up a network for research in this growing field, and will act as PI on a £30,000 ARC-funded feasibility study of parenting intervention in an NHS inpatient setting.
  • Runner-up: Christopher Challen (Engineer & Informatics), who is applying epidemiological techniques to power systems research to improve the resilience of critical electricity infrastructure.
  • Highly commended: Eleni Ladikou (Brighton & Sussex Medical School), for developing a new model to investigate therapeutic treatments for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.

Social Sciences

  • Winner: Shalini Nair (Law, Politics & Sociology), whose ground-breaking intersectional research focuses on sexual violence survivors from marginalised groups in India whose speak-outs have been excluded from the mainstream #MeToo discourse. A trustee for Survivors’ Network in Sussex, Shalini’s research identifies specific areas for intervention in policy and media reporting, and her journalism is shaping public debate and community practice.
  • Runner-up: Kaveri Medappa (Global Studies), whose participant observation of platform-based gig economy workers in India raises urgent questions about digital technology and labour rights.
  • Highly commended: Ian Hadden (Psychology), who has developed a tool to enable schools to identify the most effective psychological intervention for reducing outcome gaps between students.


  • 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.


Jointly awarded to 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 to Ali Kassem (LPS), Alison Lacey (Psychology) and Selin Tekin Guven (Psychology). 


The inaugural winner was Swastee Ranjan (LPS), whose research focuses on the link between law, cities, and the environment.

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 Friday 20 May 2022 at 5pm.

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 2022 selection panel:

  • Prof Jeremy Niven (Dean of the Doctoral School and Professor of Zoology, Life Sciences)
  • Prof Nuno Ferreira (Director of Doctoral Studies for the School of Law, Politics & Sociology)
  • Prof Gerhard Wolf (Associate Dean of Doctoral Studies for the School of Media, Arts & Humanities)
  • Chaired by 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