Sussex Researcher School


Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES): Launched 2nd March

The Postgraduate Research Experience Survey gives you a chance to share your views on what it’s like to undertake doctoral research  at Sussex. We need to know what you think works well and what we could do better...

Why is it important?

PRES is the only national survey of postgraduate research students and so the only way for us to compare how we are doing against the national average, and to make changes that will improve your experience in the future.

The survey asks you about things like supervision, resources, research culture, progress and assessment, responsibilities, research skills, professional development, opportunities and overall experience.

However, robust results depend upon a high response- your participation is therefore very important.

How do I take part?

You can take part via our website

As a thank you for your time, everyone who completes the survey will receive a £5 food voucher to spend on campus (instructions on how to claim your voucher appear at the end of the survey), or can choose to donate your £5 to the University's Hardship Fund for Students administered by the Student Centre.

The survey is open until 14th May 2015, and all responses are anonymous.

An invitation to complete the survey was sent out from Professor Michael Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) to all doctoral researchers on March 2nd via their Sussex e-mail account (e.g.

If you are a doctoral researcher and have not received your invitation to participate in the survey, please ensure that you have an auto-forward set up from your Sussex e-mail account to the account that you normally use.

You can find detailed instructions on the ITS pages regarding how to auto-forward your e-mail.

What happens to the results?

Survey results will be disseminated to the Doctoral Studies Committee (whose remit is to oversee the delivery of provision for doctoral researchers) and to the Directors of Doctoral Studies within each School. Results will also be shared with the doctoral community.

You can find out more about the 2013 survey, results and subsequent actions. 

Who should I contact for further information?

Please contact Helen Hampson for further information at

Items from the Doctoral School Forum

On the 12th February we held our first Doctoral School Forum at the Meeting House. I would like to thank all those who attended and shared their thoughts and experiences.

There were a number of items that we are following up, including:

  • Work to support the visibility of online doctoral profiles including moving to an opt-out model rather than an opt-in one (see this months feature item for more information on creating a web profile) and some development work to allow keywords searches of them (which would be especially valuable for those based off-campus);
  • Adding a help wanted section to Doctoral Connections (e.g. Doctoral student looking for fellow researcher to give advice on 'x' piece of software – can offer 'y' research methods expertise);
  • The further evolution of the doctoral school website

The forum also received a briefing about the support available from the Student Centre (which offers advice ranging from finances to mental health) and information on the action the University was taking to improve doctoral space and facilities.

Having a strong steer from doctoral students is very important to the success of your Doctoral School and I look forward to seeing many of you at the next doctoral forum in the summer term.

Paul Roberts,

Assistant Director of the Doctoral School


Starting to Teach for Doctoral Researchers

Academic Development and Quality Enhancement (ADQE) have provided an update on Starting to Teach training for doctoral researchers.  The six workshop module will be repeated at the end of May and again at the beginning of June, and ADQE will allocate places from the waiting lists. 

Doctoral researchers with current assigned teaching responsibilities and less than 3 years’ HE teaching experience can access starting to teach, as can those without prior experience or current teaching. 

Completion of the full module including assessment is required for all doctoral researchers with current assigned teaching responsibilities and less than three years’ HE teaching experience. 

Doctoral researchers without current teaching responsibilities can take the first three sessions of the module, organised as an intensive introductory taster held over three consecutive days, before deciding whether to proceed with the full module including assessment. Doctoral students without teaching responsibilities can only participate in the module during their first or second year.

For further information and contact details see the ADQE website.


Doctoral research into dementia receives recognition from Alzheimer's Society

A new Doctoral Training Centre has been launched to support eight doctoral students in researching the genetic risk of Alzheimer's disease.

The Centre has been funded by a substantial grant from Alzheimer's Society, alongside investment from the Doctoral School and the Schools of Life Sciences and Psychology.

Read the full Sussex news item on the new Doctoral Training Centre.


Call for Proposals: 'Researching the World: Performance, Adaptation and Impact'

Researchers from the School of Education and Social Work are delighted to announce the Call for Proposals for this year's student research symposium 'Researching the world: Performance, Adaptation, and Impact' which is taking place on Thursday 18th June 2015, with support from the Doctoral School's Researcher-Led Initiative (RLI) Fund.

The schedule of the day is designed to be engaging, to be dynamic, and to generate discussions about social science research in the present and in the future. Additionally, the second half of the day will be set up as workshops in which participants can actively create impact around their research.

For further details of the Call for Proposals, take a look at the symposium website:


Cumberland Lodge Scholarship Scheme now open for applications

The Cumberland Lodge Scholarship is a two year programme designed to fit around the studies of doctoral researchers, offering a unique opportunity for students from any discipline to develop skills in communication, public engagement and interdisciplinary collaboration.

The scholarship involves:

  • An annual weekend retreat
  • Participating in two conferences per year
  • Facilitation and public engagement roles at conferences
  • Collaborating with other scholars for a public presentation of the key findings of conferences
  • Attending the Annual Lecture and dinner
  • Writing articles and blogs following conferences
  • Acting as an ambassador for Cumberland Lodge

The closing date for applications for September 2015 is 14th April 2015.

Further information and application forms are available from the Cumberland Lodge website.

Cumberland Lodge Scholarship Leaflet [PDF 1.65MB]


Researchers in Schools - now recruiting for September 2015

Researchers in Schools (RIS) is an exciting new programme which recruits, trains and places researchers from all subject backgrounds to teach in non-selective state schools in a number of locations across the country.

Applications are open to all researchers who are completing or have completed their doctorate, and those who have worked on fields in Maths, Physics and Engineering are also eligible to become Maths and Physics Chairs.

The programme is designed to ensure that researchers' subject knowledge and experience of higher education is maximised in a number of ways, including:

  • Time built in to the programme to maintain an academic profile
  • The opportunity to become a Research Leader in Education
  • A  competitive scholarship salary and the possibility of business sponsorship

Find out more and apply online by visiting the Researchers in Schools (RIS) website.


Research Councils UK (RCUK) report on the impact of doctoral careers

RCUK have published an in-depth report 'The Impact of Doctoral Careers' which confirms the crucial role doctoral researchers play in businesses in the UK.

Find out more on the RCUK website or download the overview for doctoral researchers.

You can also download factsheets for your research area by following the links below:


Can you explain your PhD in the pub? 

PubhD is a speaking event set in the friendly environment of the pub. It began in Nottingham in January 2014, and quickly gained popularity and has spread to other cities. Now it’s here in Brighton!

The format is simple:

  • Three PhD student speakers will each have 10 minutes to talk about their subject area to an interested audience in a pub
  • There will be up to 20 minutes of Q&A per speaker
  • Each speaker gets at least one pint (or other drink of their choice)
  • A whiteboard and coloured pens will be provided.

In exchange for learning neat new stuff from local researchers, the organisers ask for a donation of £1 per audience member to help fund future events and allow our speakers the free drink they have earned!

If you are interested in being involved, please get in touch with

Find out more:

Sussex Researcher School