Sussex Researcher School

February 2016

Doctoral Connections


A very warm welcome to the 50 doctoral researchers who are beginning their studies at Sussex this term. Both your School and the Doctoral School are here to help you settle in to the University and to your research. In particular, the Director of Doctoral Studies in your School, as well as your supervisor, are key points of contact and will be able to guide you through the process of familiarising yourself with what is available to you (e.g. induction into research support in the Library, IT support) in your School and across the University. The Doctoral School website and the Handbook for Doctoral Researchers are also an invaluable sources of information.

Doctoral research doesn't necessarily follow University terms - but welcome back to all those returning after the Christmas and New Year break. As I said at the beginning of the academic year, this can be a good time to 'take stock' of where you are in relation to your own research plans and to think about the shape of the coming year.

Warmest congratulations to the 76 doctoral researchers who graduated in January. The PhD is an extraordinary journey, and one that will stay with you whatever path you now take. It has been a privilege to work with you at Sussex and we wish you every success in the future.

Professor Vicky Lebeau - Director of the Doctoral School


Three Minute Thesis (3MT) comes to Sussex

Developed by the University of Queensland, Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an academic competition that challenges doctoral researchers to describe your research within three minutes to a general audience. 3MT celebrates the discoveries made by research students and encourages you to communicate the importance of your research to the broader community. We are running our first Three Minute Thesis competition... Continue reading

Profile: Researcher Development Programme

This month's What do you do? comes from the Doctoral Schools' Researcher Development Team. Find out about the many opportunities available through the Researcher Development Programme... Continue reading


Winter graduation

Congratulations to the 76 doctoral researchers whose doctoral degrees were conferred at the winter graduation ceremonies which took place on Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd January at the Brighton Dome.

Several doctoral researchers who graduated this winter also featured in Sussex news items, including:

See our winter graduands webpage for a full list of doctoral researchers whose degrees were conferred this winter.

Applications invited for the Spring Researcher-Led Initiative (RLI) Fund call

The Doctoral School are pleased to announce that the Spring call for applications to the Researcher-Led Initiative (RLI) fund is now open, for applications to be submitted by Friday 18th March.

The RLI fund supports doctoral researchers and early career research staff to organise and run activities that will enhance their professional and research skills. The Doctoral School is keen to sponsor initiatives that expand or build on current provision for researchers, and that benefit groups of researchers across Schools.

Visit the Researcher-Led Initiative Fund webpage for further details, to read the guidance notes and apply online.

Doctoral Overseas Conference (DOC) Grant call for applications

The second call of 2015-16 for applications to the Doctoral Overseas Conference (DOC) grant opens on Monday 15th February.

The DOC grant provides financial support for doctoral researchers who are presenting at an overseas conference, and priority is given to self-funded students. Awarded funds can be used towards conference fees, accommodation and travel costs, and payment is in the form of reimbursement.

Students can apply for up to £1,000 during their period of registration.

The Doctoral School is able to offer this grant due to the generous funding provided by the Alumni Fund.

Please see the DOC grant webpage to find out more.

How does your use of research tools compare to your peer group?

Take a brief survey and get a visualisation of your personal tool usage (and discover some new tools to support your workflow.)

From reference management to analysing material, there are ever-increasing numbers of tools and sites to support the research workflow. Sussex is participating in a survey for all researchers aiming to find out how tool usage varies across countries, stage of research and discipline.

If you complete this graphical survey you can opt to receive a characterisation of your workflow compared to that of your peer group. It's quick and easy to complete (taking just 8-12 minutes to click on the tools you use), and you may even get new insights about your own workflow.

The research is being undertaken by Utrecht University. The link above is specific to Sussex researchers but you can share with colleagues outside of Sussex by pointing them towards the main survey site.

PubhD Brighton seek Maths and Science PhD speakers

PubhD is a speaking event set in the friendly environment of the pub, and the organisers of PubhD Brighton are currently seeking speakers from the School of Maths and Physical Sciences and the School of Life Sciences to explain their work to an audience in a pub.

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

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

Find out more:

Doctoral researcher featured in Sussex news item

Congratulations to doctoral researcher Daniel Ingram (School of Life Sciences) who was recently featured in a Sussex news item for his research which uses approaches for monitoring exploitation levels in commercial fisheries to invent two indicators that will help monitor hunting levels on land.

Read the full Sussex news item.

ORCiD for Researchers - all researchers encouraged to register

The Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCiD) is an international standard to help researchers to establish and maintain their scholarly identity. It is a unique and persistent identifier which establishes your identity as a researcher and connects you, unambiguously, to your publications, data, citations, projects and other research activities. It is managed by you and stay with you throughout your career, even if you change institution.

All Sussex researchers, including doctoral researchers, are encouraged to register for your ORCiD.

ORCiD is an open, community-driven organisation. It is discipline-neutral and it is not tied to any particular platform or publisher. 

Teaching and Learning Experience at Sussex (TaLES)

This week sees the formal launch of the Teaching and Learning Experience at Sussex series (TaLES). Organised by Liz Sage, the University’s new Teaching Fellow in Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education, the TaLES series is designed to give new and experienced teachers at Sussex the chance to talk to and learn from each other’s experience of teaching at University.

The sessions are a mix of drop-in and sign-up, and are open to everyone teaching – or hoping to teach – at Sussex. So whether you’re a PhD student about to start teaching, an AT with some experience under your belt or a member of faculty looking to share ideas around good pedagogical practice, come and benefit from the collective teaching experience and expertise we have at Sussex.

For full details of this semester’s TaLES series, see:

Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Global Scholarship Programme for Research Excellence

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) are pleased to announce their Global Scholarship Programme for Research Excellence, a new initiative designed to support the mobility of PhD students both at CHUK and at the University of Sussex.

The programme offers the opportunity for full-time Sussex doctoral researchers from all disciplines to apply for short-term (one to six months) research placements at CHUK, with free on-campus accommodation.

The programme guidelines and application forms are available on the CHUK website.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong is one of the strategic partners of the University of Sussex. If you are interested in applying for this opportunity, please contact Paul Roberts (Assistant Director of the Doctoral School) for further information.

The deadline for applications is Friday 8th April.

Soapbox Science - Call for speakers

Soapbox Science, a novel public outreach platform for promoting women scientists and their work, are encouraging women working in STEM to apply to speak at their events.

The aim of Soapbox Science is to give people the opportunity to enjoy, learn from, question and be inspired by leading scientists. The events follow the format of London Hyde Park's Speaker's Corner as they transform public areas into arenas for public learning and scientific debate.

Last year Dr Kathy Romer, Reader in department of Physics participated. Read more about her experience here.

The deadline for application is 26th February

Interdisciplinary Research Events

Musedelica: First symposium on psychedelic music - Call for proposals

The first Musedelica symposium will be held June 14-15th, 2016 at the Sussex Humanities Lab. The symposium will bring together students, early career researchers, independent researchers and music producers from the field of psychedelic music and related areas.

The symposium focuses on psychedelic music, especially (but not limited to) electronic dance music and other fields related to psychedelic drugs and music. Proposals are welcome from researchers in any field.

Further details can be found on the Musedelica website.

The deadline for submissions is 15th March

For any enquiries regarding the symposium, please contact

SouthDowns Research Conference 2016 - abstracts invited

The South Downs National Park has announced that the South Downs Research Conference 2016 will take place at the South Downs Centre, Midhurst on 6th July 2016. The conference is designed to bring together researchers, students, practitioners and academics, showcasing research across all disciplines in the pursuit of the special qualities of the South Downs National Park.

Abstracts are invited for posters and platform presentations.

Further details can be found on the South Downs Research Conference webpage.

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 4th May

Download poster

The month ahead

Researcher Development Programme: February

Some of the Researcher Development Programme workshops coming up in February are fully booked, but you can add your name to the waiting lists via our A-Z events listing, as many of our workshops are repeated throughout the year.

Workshops and events taking place in February include:

  • Effective researcher – 4th February – fully booked (waiting list available)
  • Keeping up to date in your subject – 9th February – fully booked (waiting list available)
  • Using SPSS to analyse research data – for beginners (2-part course) – 10th and 17th February – limited spaces available
  • Online webinar: Practical tips to improve your academic writing – 15th February – spaces available
  • Undertaking a literature review in the Arts and Humanities – 17th February – spaces available
  • Finding dissertations and theses for your research – 19th February – limited spaces available
  • Using technology to manage your research – 24th February – limited spaces available

Visit our webpages to book a place, or add your name to a waiting list.

The basic principles every PhD student needs to know - Dr James Hayton

Wednesday 10th February (14.00 – 16.00) - Chichester 3 Lecture Theatre, 3R241

Getting into a PhD program can feel like a major achievement in itself, but unfortunately it's much easier to get into a PhD than it is to complete one. That said, many of the most common problems arise from quite simple misconceptions about what a PhD is and how to approach it.

In this talk, you'll learn the basic principles every PhD student needs to know to avoid the most common problems and to develop outstanding research and writing skills.

Please note: The event is now fully booked – to add your name to the waiting list for the opportunity to book a place that becomes available as a result of a cancellation please visit our A-Z events listing.

A recording will be made of the event, which will be available on Researcher Development Online shortly after.

To Patent or Not to Patent?

Thursday 11th February (Lunch: 12.30, Seminar 13.00 – 13.45) – Jubilee 117

Publications and patents are two different ways of sharing your expertise with the world. They are not mutually exclusive and are often complementary ways of amplifying impact. Patenting is a complex art filled with pitfalls and opportunities. Learn about lessons from the past and how to make wise decisions.


  • Chair: Colin Hayhurst, Innovations Partnership Fellow, University of Sussex
  • Ian Goodyer, Business Development Manager, Inngot

To book a place, e-mail

The Research Quality and Impact (RQ&I) team run a wide variety of seminars and workshops across the academic year for researchers. Find out more on the RQ&I webpages


What's happening in the Hive?

Doctoral Discussions 2016

The first session of the Doctoral Discussions series took place on 28th January, when the Hive Scholars hosted an interesting and productive conversation on how to organise your own researcher-led initiative. Doctoral researchers from different Schools shared their experiences of organising events, and the Doctoral School shared useful information on applying for the Researcher-Led Initiative Fund.

The Doctoral Discussions series will continue during the Spring Term with sessions on:

  • Teaching (March)
  • Supervision (April)
  • Viva (May)

Send the Hive Scholars an e-mail if you would like to speak in any of the sessions and share your experiences.

Keep an eye on the Hive blog to find more information about the dates.

#BlogPhoto competition results!

The Hive's blog competition this year was about your time as a PhD student so far. Participants were invited to send in one photo that could summarise their experience as a researcher.

The winner was Aimee Eckert (School of Life Sciences), with her picture of a Lego researcher in a Lego lab.

You can see the winning photo here alongside the gallery of all of the photos submitted.

Thank you to everyone who participated!

Shut Up and Write!

Thursday 11th February (16.00 – 17.00) – Dhaba Cafe (located in Arts C)(

The Sussex Research Hive Scholars invite you to join them on the 11th of every month, to stop procrastinating and start writing!

Come sit down with a group of your fellow researchers, and see how much you can accomplish in less than two hours. Coffee and tea provided for those arriving 15 minutes earlier!

February's session will take place from 16.00 - 17.00 in Dhaba Cafe. Keep an eye on the Shut up and Write Facebook page!

For more information about this and other Hive events, you can follow the Hive blog, Twitter feed, and Facebook page.

Keep in touch & get involved

Doctoral Connections is produced by the Doctoral School, for all current doctoral researchers at the University of Sussex. You can find out more about the Doctoral School through our webpages, and keep up-to-date with what's going on by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

We'd really love to hear your ideas for future issues of Doctoral Connections. Why not get in touch with us by sending an e-mail to You can also fill in our online feedback form at any time.

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