Sussex Researcher School

March 2016


Doctoral Connections: The Newsletter of the Sussex Doctoral School

Over the past two weeks there have been a range of events taking place on campus as part of ‘Make it happen’, an initiative from the Careers and Employability Centre designed to provide all students at the University with ideas, advice and information around pursuing a career at the end of their studies.

In this month’s Doctoral Connections, we’ve featured a range of stories about Sussex doctoral researchers who are already ‘making it happen’ – whether it’s presenting at an international conference, winning a prize, or making the headlines with their doctoral research. We are always keen to hear the stories of Sussex doctoral researchers, so if you have a recent success you’d like to share with your fellow researchers, we’d love to hear from you.    

This month we’ve also featured the profiles of eight recent Sussex doctoral graduates who have shared with us their tips and experiences around completing their PhD and applying for jobs. We hope that those of you who are nearing the end of your doctorate find these profiles alongside the careers pages of our website a useful collection of resources to inspire and guide you when it comes to thinking about life after doctoral study.

Paul Roberts
Assistant Director of the Doctoral School


Sussex doctoral researchers making it happen

Josh Hutton (SPRU) elected to join Council and Senate

Congratulations to SPRU doctoral researcher Josh Hutton who has recently been elected to join Council, the University’s governing body.

Josh is a doctoral researcher in the Science Policy Research Unit studying how networks learn in disease outbreak responses. His aims as representative on University Council, Senate, the Board of Doctoral Studies, and Doctoral Studies Committee (as cluster rep for Social Sciences) are to continue to support the University and College Union (UCU) in their contract negotiations, to propose measures to create a more supportive doctoral studies environment, and to improve access and quality of mental health services for doctoral researchers. Council and Senate form two of three statutory bodies of the University, alongside Court. Find out more about the role of Council and Senate.

Eleanor Careless (English) on CHASE Institute of Contemporary Arts placement

In January, English doctoral researcher Eleanor Careless reported on her experience of a two month Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) placement which entailed her working for two months as a Project Co-ordinator for the Institute of Contemporary Arts’ Luis Buñuel retrospective.

As a CHASE funded student Eleanor was able to take part in the placement as part of her doctoral training. CHASE has established connections with a variety of partners in the creative, public and cultural sectors, facilitating placements which demonstrate the impact that arts and humanities research can have both nationality and internationally.

Find out more about placement opportunities for CHASE-funded doctoral researchers on the CHASE website, and read Eleanor’s report on the CHASE blog.

Richard Georges (English) awarded the Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize

Congratulations to English doctoral researcher Richard Georges who has been awarded the Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize for his poetry. The prestigious annual prize is reserved for new or emerging writers and Richard’s success was recently announced in The Caribbean Writer. Richard’s research is concerned with the role of the sea in constructing identity in Caribbean poetry.

Melvyn Ansell (Life Sciences) awarded Royal Society of Chemistry Researcher Mobility Grant

Congratulations to School of Life Sciences doctoral researcher Melvyn Ansell who was recently awarded a Researcher Mobility Grant from the Royal Society of Chemistry to travel to Julius Maximilian University in Würzburg, Germany for a three month placement. The placement offers the opportunity for Melvyn to work with Professor Holger Braunschweig in a world-leading organometallic chemistry group. 

Psychology doctoral researchers making the headlines

Congratulations to three Psychology doctoral researcher who have recently been making the headlines. Amy Smith whose research into how the domestic horse recognises human emotional signals including facial expressions and nonverbal vocalisations was featured in a recent Sussex news item, as well as featuring on the BBC website and The Guardian. The research has demonstrated for the first time that horses can distinguish between positive and negative human facial expressions. Read the full Sussex news item.

Anne Templeton’s research featured in in a recent Sussex news item and also gained coverage from the Times Higher Education website and the Daily Mail. Anne’s study demonstrated that a person’s core disgust response is reduced if the source is within their own social group. Read the full Sussex news item.

And Jennifer Mankin also recently featured in The Guardian. Jennifer's study which is to be published in the journal Cognition investigated natural language processing using grapheme-colour synaesthesia.

Doctoral researchers securing DOC awards to present at international conferences

The first call of 2015-16 for applications to the Doctoral Overseas Conference (DOC) grant closed on 29th January, and we are pleased to announce that a total of 17 awards were made to support Sussex doctoral researchers presenting their research at conferences overseas. The Doctoral School is able to offer this grant due to the generous funding provided by the Alumni Fund.

Visit our map of awards to see where doctoral researchers from Sussex will be presenting their research over the coming months.

The second call for applications to the DOC Grant fund opened on 15th February and the deadline for applications is 27th May. See the DOC Grant webpage to find out more.

Careers: Beyond the doctorate

Doctoral graduates from Sussex go on to pursue a variety of careers within and beyond academia.

We’ve brought together the stories of 8 recent Sussex doctoral graduates, who have shared with us their tips and experiences around applying for jobs after their doctorate, and how the research experience and skills training they gained during their doctorate has been beneficial to their careers. Click on the links below to find out more…



Enter the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition

Following on from our feature in the February edition of Doctoral Connections ‘Three Minute Thesis (3MT) comes to Sussex’, we are pleased to announce further details about the 3MT competition which the University of Sussex are participating in for the first time.

The 3MT competition - which challenges doctoral researchers to present their research within just 3 minutes to a general audience - is broken down into stages, with cluster heats (Arts & Humanities; Social Sciences, Sciences) taking place in April and a University level competition on 8th June 2016. The winner of the University competition will then be entered into the UK semi-final in July, competing against doctoral researchers from other participating universities with a chance to be in the UK final archers from other participating universities with a chance to be in the UK final in September.

3MT competition entrants will have the opportunity to:

  • Develop their academic, presentation and research communication skills
  • Meet other doctoral researchers from across the University
  • Be part of an initiative showcasing the depth and breadth of doctoral research at Sussex
  • Be in with a chance to win a prize

The dates for the cluster heats are as follows:

  • Social Sciences: Tuesday 5th April (14.00 – 16.00) in The Creativity Zone
  • Arts & Humanities: Wednesday 6th April (10.00 – 12.00) in The Creativity Zone
  • Sciences: Wednesday 13th April (14.00 – 16.00) in Jubilee 155

Interested in taking part in the competition?

Entries are invited from active doctoral researchers in their 2nd year onwards who are registered with the University of Sussex, but have not had their final viva at the time of the competition. If you’d like to take part, please complete the online form for the cluster level competition you would like to participate in by Friday 18th March. Please also see the rules and judging criteria.

Join the audience

If you’re not taking part in the competition you can still get involved by booking a place to join the audience for the cluster heats via our events listing. First year doctoral researchers are very much encouraged to attend, to find out more about the doctoral research being undertaken at Sussex, and help prepare for taking part next year.

To find out more, visit the Sussex 3MT webpage, or get in touch with us at 

Opportunity to join the University's Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team

An opportunity has arisen for a doctoral researcher within a science, technology, engineering, medicine or mathematics (STEMM) discipline to join the University's Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team (SAT).

The Athena SWAN Charter is dedicated to the advancement of the representation of women in STEMM subjects within higher education, and was launched in 2005 with over 100 universities and research institutes - including Sussex - having signed up as members.

The University's Self-Assessment Team consists of members of staff and postgraduate students who represent each STEMM discipline, and includes male and female members, both full and part-time staff, and those with recent experience of the University's recruitment and promotions processes. Responsible for the implementation of the University's Athena SWAN action plan, the SAT normally meets once a month.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please e-mail Paul Roberts, Assistant Director of the Doctoral School at You can find out more on the Athena SWAN pages of the Sussex website.

Researcher-Led Initiative (RLI) Fund - Apply by Friday 18th March

The current call for applications to the Researcher-Led Initiative (RLI) fund closes on 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.

Researcher Career Stories and Careers Support

Save the date - On the morning of Weds 13th April we are inviting researchers who have gone onto careers within and beyond academia to come talk about their careers so far. They will be sharing their experiences, and advice on preparing for your own career development. There will also be a chance for questions and networking over lunch. All further details of speakers and timings will be confirmed in due course.

Doctoral researchers can also gain further careers support by making an appointment with a Careers Advisor through the Careers and Employability Centre. You can use these appointments to discuss a potential career area, for advice on CVs and applications, to discuss how to present your strengths and skills, and gain advice on searching for jobs. You can also explore the Career Pages on our Doctoral School site,  whatever you end up doing after your doctorate, the various resources on this page are designed to help you find career opportunities, optimise your CV, and keep up-to-date with the latest developments. Resources include useful downloads for researchers, websites, blogs, books, and twitter accounts.

TV company seeks scientists for new programme

The Twofour Group who have produced a variety of award-winning TV for major broadcasters in the UK and worldwide are currently looking for adventurous scientists to take part in a ground-breaking TV programme.

A unique ecosystem will be created for the programme, which will follow a group of skilled scientists from different fields including Biology, Engineering or Medicine as they work to sustain its environment. Filming will take place in an enclosed space, totally sealed to the outside world making this a big budget, globally conscious and exciting new experiment.

For further details, please contact Sam Williams (Junior Development Researcher - Twofour) by e-mail to

Researchers in Schools

Teach, Research and Make a Difference with Researchers in Schools

Researchers in Schools offers doctoral researchers a unique, fully salaried route into teaching tailored to your abilities, knowledge and experience. Through a bespoke programme blending classroom teaching and research opportunities, Researchers in Schools offers the opportunity to develop the skills needed to become a highly effective classroom teacher, helping support pupils - regardless of background - to excel and progress to higher education.

Recruitment is now open for doctoral graduates to join the Researchers in Schools 2016 cohort, to start this September.

For more information and to apply, download the brochure or visit

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

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) are currently accepting applications to 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.

The month ahead

Researcher Development Programme: March

Some of the Researcher Development Programme workshops coming up in March 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 March include:

  • Introduction to Prezi and finding images for your presentations – 2nd March – limited spaces
  • Online webinar: Welcome for new doctoral researchers – 7th March
  • Technology for Doctoral Research – One to one support – 7th March – limited spaces
  • Presentation design – 8th March – fully booked (waiting list available)
  • Practical tips to improve your academic writing - 9th March – fully booked (waiting list available)
  • Introduction to Open Access publishing – 11th March – limited spaces
  • Postgraduate funding: considering the alternatives – 11th March
  • Introduction to NVivo for Qualitative Research – 14th March
  • Presentation delivery – 15th March – fully booked (waiting list available)
  • Getting ethical approval – 16th March
  • Online webinar: Using technology to manage your research – 17th March
  • Building a researcher web presence using social media – 30th March

Visit the Researcher Development Programme webpages to book a place, or add your name to a waiting list.

Research Hive Seminars 2016: Maintaining your research identity and streamlining systems

This Research Hive seminar will explore how new identifiers for researchers can help you to attach your identity to research objects (from articles to media stories) and distinguish your research activities from those of others with similar names.  Researchers interact with an increasing number of research information systems as part of their work and entering data over and over again can be time-consuming. Find out how services such as ORCiD can save time and effort as you apply for funding, find and cite content and submit and publish a manuscript, and how embedding identifiers has already worked for researchers in medicine.


  • Ian Carter - Director of Research and Enterprise (Chair)
  • Josh Brown - Regional Director, Europe - ORCiD 
    Professor Jackie Cassell - Chair in Primary Care Epidemiology - BSMS

Book a place

One World Week

Monday 14th March - Sunday 20th March

Run by the University and the University of Sussex Student's Union (USSU), One World Week is an annual week-long celebration of the diversity of nationalities and cultures represented at Sussex. The programme is an opportunity to share, learn and celebrate our differences and similarities through a programme of social events, talks and debates, sporting activities and performances on campus and beyond.

Take a look at the highlights from One World Week 2015 or view the full programme of events for 2016 on the USSU website.

What's happening in the Hive?

Doctoral Discussions - Teaching

Monday 7th March (12.00 - 14.00) - Arundel 230

The Hive Scholars are excited to announce the next event in our Doctoral Discussions series. This time, it’s all about teaching.

We are inviting four doctoral researchers to take part in an informal panel discussion all about their teaching experiences. Thinking about things like planning seminars, conquering nerves, and time management, this session will be particularly useful for researchers who have just started to teach, or are planning to do so in the coming term. Of course, if you already have a few terms of teaching under your belt, we would love for you to come along and contribute your top tips to our discussion! Lunch will be provided.

Book a place 

Hive Blog competition: results & new competition

Thanks so much for your entries on writing tips! Some really useful advice.  The Hive Scholars will be continuing to think about writing tips with some upcoming blog posts so look out for those.  We are happy to announce the winner is Natalie Edelman (BSMS)

Congratulations Natalie.  Check out her post here, and submissions by others here and here.  Natalie is the recipient of some great prizes, including SAGE goodies. 

The Hive Scholars are now announcing their next competition.  This month the theme is on: conference experiences. Write to us with any aspect of your conference experiences. Good or bad, we'd love to hear from you.  Just write a short paragraph and send it over via our, or via our twitter @sussexreshive


As always we have great prizes for you:

  • £10 in National Book Token or Amazon voucher
  • SAGE goodie bag
  • 25% off SAGE publications

The deadline is the 31st of March. If you can’t get something in by then, don’t worry as the Hive Scholars will be running a competition next month too!

Take part in the Research Hive Survey - Open until 21st March

The Sussex Research Hive Scholars are launching the Research Hive Survey 2016!

It is your chance to tell the Hive Scholars about your experiences as a researcher and your views on the Hive space, events and activities. It should only take you around 10 minutes to complete the survey and, as a thank you, if you provide your email address you will be automatically entered into a prize draw to win one of two £20 book vouchers. The results of the evaluation will be used to inform decisions about the Research Hive, so your contribution is very much appreciated! The Hive Scholars will also write up their findings on the Research Hive blog.

The Survey can be accessed here

Shut Up and Write!

Friday 11th March (16.00 – 17.30) – Dhaba Cafe (located in Arts C)

Join the Hive Scholars for Shut Up and Write! Shut Up and Write is a novel way to combat the many distractions and excuses that keep you from getting your writing done.

The event will start at 4:00pm in Dhaba Café. Once everyone is settled, the Hive Scholars will start a timer, shut up, and start writing! The goal is to avoid all the usual distractions – Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. – and concentrate on getting words on the page. Try not to be overly critical. Editing can come later.

Coffee and tea will be provided, and there will be time to share what you’ve accomplished at the end of the session. There is no need to book a place, but if you’d like tea or coffee please come 15 minutes early before the cafe stops serving. The Research Hive Scholars hope to see you there.

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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