2023-24 University and research news

University news

News in brief

News stories

Sussex maintains momentum in world sustainability rankings

The University of Sussex has been ranked eighth in the UK for sustainable institutions and 26th in the world for overall sustainability performance in the second edition of the QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024.

The rankings feature 1,397 institutions globally and are measured by assessing the different ways in which universities are taking action to tackle the world’s greatest Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues. Read more

In addition, Sussex has joined the International Universities Climate Alliance, working with the world’s most esteemed universities to publicise research, improve collaboration and help global leaders tackle climate change. Read more

Centres of Excellence launched to tackle research which is ‘impossible until it’s done’

At a parliamentary reception in the House of Commons, hosted by Caroline Lucas MP, the University of Sussex launched 12 new Centres of Excellence to accelerate progress in areas of existing research strengths. Each of the flagship centres focuses on areas of international importance and will enable researchers to address a range of societal challenges.

The Centres build on existing research strengths at Sussex, including advancing quantum computing and artificial intelligence, better understanding genome damaging diseases, developing initiatives that contribute to global sustainability, and enhancing access to education across the globe.

Research from the Centres of Excellence features in this issue of Falmer, where Professors Anil Seth and Alice Eldridge, and Dr Liam Berriman, explain the thrust and global impact of their groundbreaking work. Professor Julie Weeds also gives her opinion on the latest developments in AI. Read more and find out more about the Centres of Excellence 

Government ministers, MPs, peers and students in the House of Commons during the launch of the University’s 12 new Centres of Excellence.

Sussex awarded Silver in 2023 Teaching Excellence Framework

Sussex has been awarded Silver in the 2023 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), an official rating by the Office for Students (OfS) of the quality of universities’ teaching and education, in particular the student experience and students’ outcomes. Read more 

Sussex recognises those outstanding in their field

Six ceremonies were held at the Brighton Centre in January 2024, with 4,369 guests in attendance from 39 countries, to celebrate the University of Sussex’s winter graduates, including those from Brighton and Sussex Medical School.

The University’s Chancellor, TV actor Sanjeev Bhaskar OBE, was present to confer the degrees on 2,154 graduates. BBC presenter and doctor Chris van Tulleken (pictured below), and economist and journalist Paul Johnson CBE – two highly-respected names who carry links to the region or the University itself – were also awarded honorary degrees.

The winter ceremonies followed the summer graduation ceremonies, which saw over 3,500 finalists from over 126 countries celebrate the end of their studies.

A further six honorary degrees were awarded to inspirational people during the summer ceremonies, including Baroness Valerie Amos, the first Black woman to lead a university; Dr Gail Lewis (IDS 1979), a leading Black feminist academic, activist and psychotherapist; award-winning interdisciplinary artist, Dr Katrina Palmer (Philosophy and Literature 1986); Paul Barber OBE, deputy chairman of Brighton & Hove Albion; engineer Richard Atkins, who advanced race car engines (and taught at Sussex); and Lord Peter Hain (Politics and International Relations 1973), former apartheid activist and Cabinet Minister. Read more 

Chris van Tulleken speaking at graduation where he was being awarded an honorary degree.

First-of-its-kind quantum technology degree launched by University of Sussex

In November 2023, Sussex launched a new quantum technology degree. It’s the first course in the UK to offer undergraduate students quantum technology research experience from day one of their degree.

A shortage in UK quantum graduate skills, identified by the emerging British quantum technology industry sector, was a motivating factor behind the development of this innovative degree programme. Read more

Student constructs virtual Sussex campus in Minecraft

Fourth year Computer Science student Tom Harwood has painstakingly built and recreated the entire University campus on the virtual platform, Minecraft. 

Now with a team of 20 Sussex students behind him who have requested to work on different interiors of the building, Tom sees this as an ongoing collaborative effort from students, staff, alumni and the wider Sussex community: “It would be great to see more people get involved and make every part of campus recognisable to those who have studied or visited the University." Read more 

Research news

Research with impact is at the heart of Sussex’s strategic framework. Our interdisciplinary and collaborative approach brings creative and innovative solutions to local, national and global issues. Here, we profile some of the latest developments and findings to come out of Sussex.

News in brief

Research stories

Sussex launches UK’s first centre on the study of kindness

In March 2023, the University publicly launched the UK’s first academic research centre dedicated to the study of kindness.
The Sussex Centre for Research on Kindness brings together researchers from across the University with expertise in psychology, business, education, social work, medical practice and media to investigate the impact of kindness on people and communities.

The formation of the Centre builds on existing expertise and various research being conducted into the study of kindness at the University. This includes The Kindness Test, a project led by a team of researchers in the Centre, in partnership with BBC Radio 4.

Its aim is to learn more about how people’s attitudes and experiences might vary across different groups, and how experiences of kindness might relate to health, wellbeing and other social and psychological experiences. Read more

Professor Robin Banerjee, Dr Gillian Sandstrom and BBC broadcaster and Visiting Professor Claudia Hammond at the public launch of the Sussex Centre for Research on Kindness.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Professor Robin Banerjee, Dr Gillian Sandstrom and BBC broadcaster and Visiting Professor Claudia Hammond at the public launch of the Sussex Centre for Research on Kindness.

A step towards early cancer diagnosis

New research by Professor of Cancer Cell Signalling Georgios Giamas and his team could be the first step towards facilitating early cancer diagnosis, as well as the development of more effective treatments in combating the disease.

Professor Giamas’ current research focuses on breast cancer and brain cancer, especially glioblastoma, one of the most aggressive types of brain tumour with extremely low survival rates. Early diagnosis is crucial, yet glioblastoma is often diagnosed late. Read more

Furthermore, in January 2024, Georgios’ and Professor John Spencer’s spin-out biotechnology company, Stingray Bio, entered into an evaluation agreement with ValiRx – a life science company focusing on early-stage cancer therapeutics and women’s health – to test the suitability of a cancer treatment technology for commercialisation. Read more

‘Maths anxiety’ causes students to disengage

A new Sussex study has revealed that ‘maths anxiety’ can lead to student disengagement and create significant barriers to learning.

According to the charity National Numeracy, over a third of adults in the UK report feeling worried or stressed when faced with maths, a condition known as maths anxiety. Read more

Capturing the coloured world that animals see

Researchers at the University of Sussex and colleagues from the George Mason University, Virginia, USA, have developed a new video camera system that accurately replicates the colours that different animals see in natural settings. Read more 

Vasas et al. (2024) unveil a new camera system and software package that allows both researchers and filmmakers to capture and display animal-view videos. This image of three male orange sulphurs Colias eurytheme is an example of one such depiction.

Four ‘super’ actions for keeping on top of work emails

A new study conducted by the University of Sussex Business School, together with academics from Loughborough University and ESCP Business School, Madrid, has analysed 25 years of academic research to identify the four actions people should take to improve wellbeing and productivity while staying on top of emails. Read more 

Toolkit to help children deal with climate change uncertainty

A team of Sussex researchers has published a free toolkit for teachers to educate and help school pupils manage uncertainty in modern life, with a particular focus on climate change.

The toolkit, called ‘Creating with Uncertainty: sustainability education resources for a changing world’, includes teaching resources, activities and films for teachers at both primary and secondary schools, and can be accessed via the University’s Open Access publishing platform. Read more

One small material, one leap towards sustaining life on Mars

Sussex researchers have discovered the transformative potential of Martian nanomaterials, potentially opening the door to sustainable habitation on the red planet. Read more 

Image shows mars rocks and nanobelts.