Doctoral School

Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme

The University of Sussex invites applications for PhD studentship awards within the University's newly created Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme entitled 'From Sensation and Perception to Awareness', co-directed by Professor Jamie Ward and Professor Anil Seth. Projects are offered within and across the following disciplines:

  • Psychology
  • Neuroscience
  • Physiology
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Robotics
  • Philosophy
  • Digital humanities
  • Music

About the programme

The University of Sussex has been awarded one of 12 Leverhulme Trust grants, totalling £1.05 million, to create a Doctoral Scholarship Programme entitled 'From Sensation and Perception to Awareness'.  This brings together researchers and doctoral students from across neuroscience, robotics, psychology and the arts. The ultimate aim of this research programme is to advance our understanding of the interactions between sensing, perception, and awareness in humans, animals, and machines.

Our doctoral scholars will be immersed in an inter-disciplinary training environment including monthly seminars and an annual student-led conference on a topic related to the theme.  A strong emphasis is placed on developing technical skills, and we will provide specialist training in areas such as programming and use of virtual and augmented reality. Students in this new scheme will benefit from links with existing research groups within Sussex such as Sussex Neuroscience and the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science.

As part of this programme, Sussex will be providing fully-funded studentships for three cohorts of seven students. The first of these cohorts will started at Sussex in September 2018. Each successful applicant will receive a tax free stipend at Research Council rates (currently £14777 per annum), a Home/EU fee waiver and generous research and training costs. On completion of their PhD, our the programme alumni will be eligible to apply for one of several 12 month postdoctoral research fellowships at Sussex, available only to completing Leverhulme DSP scholars.


Applicants should be UK or EU citizens and should have/expect to have at least a 2:1 undergraduate honours degree. A master's degree in a relevant discipline is strongly desirable.

Applicants must have a willingness to participate in interdisciplinary training and seminars relating to 'sensation, perception, and awareness'.

How to apply

Applicants should select ONE of the advertised research projects, and develop this into a more detailed research proposal. Guidance on writing a research proposal can be found here.  Find out what projects we are recruiting to this year here:

Applicants will need to apply, through Sussex's online PhD application form, to the PhD course linked to the department of your chosen supervisor (e.g. Psychology, Life Sciences) and enter 'Leverhulme' in the sources of funding box. 

Your completed application should include your project proposal, your CV, and any other information requested e.g. degree certificates and transcripts and English language qualifications.

You will also need to complete the Leverhulme Funding application, you can request this by emailing


31 January 2019 - Deadline for applications.

25 - 27 February - Interviews (note that all interviews will be conducted by the programme management committee, which is cross-disciplinary in nature).

4 March - Applicants notified regarding the outcome of their application.


Any questions concerning your chosen research project should be directed to the project supervisor, as listed on the project description.

Any questions relating to the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme, or the application process, can be sent to Shelley Jenkins, Senior Doctoral School Coordinator, at

Doctoral School

T: 00 44 (0)1273 87 7767