Doctoral School

Doctoral Strategy

Sussex aims to train and develop diverse, pioneering and courageous doctoral researchers who will have a lasting impact, within and outside of the academy. Sussex will support the needs of doctoral researchers in the production of bold and creative research, challenging conventional thinking and tackling the global issues of our time.

Principles Governing Doctoral Study at Sussex

The Principles Governing Doctoral Study at Sussex have been drafted with input from Sussex's Doctoral Committees, including PGR elected representatives, and have been endorsed by the University Executive Group.

Principle 1: Celebrate the Nature of Doctoral Research at Sussex

i. Recognise Doctoral Researchers as partners in the research mission of the University

ii. Value the unique position of Doctoral Researchers, as both students and sometimes staff

iii. Champion Doctoral Research and the making of new knowledge.

Principle 2: Excellence and Quality

i. Enable high-quality impactful Doctoral Research;

ii. Integrate Doctoral Research with the research excellence and research strategy of the University and emphasise quality in Doctoral work;

iii. Enable, wherever possible, the award of external funding, through Doctoral Training Partnerships, Centres for Doctoral Training, research grants/fellowships, philanthropic giving or other funding sources.

Principle 3: Sussex Doctoral Researcher Experience

i. Promote the development of sector-leading practice supporting the mental health and wellbeing of Sussex Doctoral Researchers;

ii. Assure that the University listens, respects and responds to the views of Doctoral Researchers, to enhance the Doctoral Researcher experience and create an environment in which issues can be raised securely and with confidence;

iii. Recognise how the Doctoral Researcher experience differs across disciplines, and from that of both taught students and research staff;

iv. Champion the needs of Doctoral Researchers, embedding high-quality and tailored Academic and Professional Services support.

Principle 4: Research Integrity

i. Support and assure the highest standards of research integrity, including compliance with the Universities UK Concordat to support research integrity.

Principle 5: Employability and Researcher Development

i. Respond to the changing nature of the UK Doctorate, and the broader environment in which it sits;

ii. Equip Doctoral Researchers for a range of employment opportunities within and outside the academy, by providing research skills, personal and professional development through the provision of quality training opportunities;

iii. Recognise and record the wider activities and skills evidenced by successful Doctoral Researchers to enhance career opportunities.

Principle 6: Connectivity

i. Acknowledge the importance of Doctoral Research as a means to develop rich and enduring global networks and international partnerships;

ii. Promote the benefits of connecting Doctoral Researchers with students of all levels and research staff;

iii. Promote and enable the progression of the highest quality Sussex graduates to Doctoral Research.

Principle 7: Supervision

i. Recognise the importance of high-quality Doctoral Supervision and ensure appropriate training is available to Doctoral Supervisors;

ii. Foster and recognise best practice in Doctoral Supervision and promote external accreditation of Doctoral Supervision;

iii. Develop a flexible and innovative programme of support for Doctoral Supervision;

iv. Promote evaluation and feedback systems that support the quality of Doctoral Supervision.

Principle 8: Doctoral Research Environment

i. Recognise Doctoral Researchers as an essential component of cross-disciplinary research, through research centres, collaborations or groups;

ii. Promote a respectful and vibrant research culture in which Doctoral Researchers are both nurtured and empowered.

Principle 9: The Sussex Doctorate

i. Further enhance the Sussex Doctorate as inclusive, innovative and international by considering new forms of structure, support and assessment;

ii. Assure timely, efficient and transparent Doctoral admissions processes which promote the diversity of the Doctoral Researcher body;

iii. Review the University’s portfolio of Doctorates and consider opportunities to grow international partnerships and collaborations.

Help shape the Doctoral Strategy Action Plan

We are inviting all Sussex doctoral researchers to help us shape the action plan that will enable us to implement the principles governing doctoral study at Sussex. We are also keen to hear from doctoral supervisors and professional services staff who support doctoral researchers at Sussex.
There are three ways you can help shape the action plan for the Doctoral Strategy:

1. Share your ideas with the PGR rep in your area:

2. Suggest actions via our short online form

3. Attend a consultation event (details to follow)

Please share your suggestions with us by Monday 30th September 2019.

If you have any questions or queries about the Doctoral Strategy, please contact Miles Willey, Head of Research Student Administration Office and Doctoral School. Alternatively, please email 

Doctoral School