Sussex Researcher School

November 2015


Doctoral Connections: The Newsletter of the Sussex Doctoral School


Results of the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey 2015


The Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) results were released at the Vitae Researcher Development International Conference on the 8th September 2015. The survey is run nationally every two years to measure the experience of postgraduate research students.

The Sussex results saw overall satisfaction improving from 77% in 2013 to 81% in 2015. Thank you again to all those who completed the survey and helped raise the response rate to 40.8% of our doctoral researchers (up from 34.4% in 2013). The strong research culture at Sussex was praised and there were a number of welcome signs of progress compared to the results of PRES 2013. The survey, together with feedback from postgraduate research student representatives and analysis of annual reviews will provide valuable information for change at Sussex... Continue reading


Researcher Engagement Workshop

A group of doctoral researchers joined us on the 22nd October to contribute to our Researcher Engagement Project, led by the Students' Union in partnership with The Student Engagement Partnership (TSEP). The project is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and is the first of its kind focussing on doctoral researcher engagement... Continue reading

The Library's response to PRES feedback

Thank you for the comments received via PRES on Library resources, services and staff. Overall, we would very much like to encourage researchers to contact the Library with their questions, as many of the comments about resources could potentially be resolved fairly swiftly... Continue reading

Profile: Dr Liz Sage - Teaching Fellow in Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education

I work in the Academic Development and Quality Enhancement office as a Teaching Fellow in Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education. It's a new role at the University and I took up the post in September this year... Continue reading


Researcher-Led Initiative Fund - Apply by Friday 13th November

The Researcher-Led Initiative (RLI) fund supports doctoral researchers and early career research staff to organise and run activities that will enhance their professional and research skills.

We are keen to sponsor initiatives that expand or build on current provision for researchers, and that benefit groups of researchers across Schools (although applications for initiatives benefiting a broad group of researchers at School level will also now be considered).

Types of activity that might be funded include:

  • Career development forum
  • Networking event, or regular networking forum
  • A seminar or conference programme
  • Journal club
  • A workshop to address a specific development need (not already offered at Sussex).

The fund is currently open for applications to be submitted by Friday 13th November.

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

New PGR Reps for 2015-16

We’re pleased to announce that, so far, seven doctoral researchers have been confirmed as Student Reps for the forthcoming academic year. They are:

Doctoral researchers from other Schools have also started to put themselves forward, but there's still time to nominate yourself by emailing

The Student Rep scheme is co-run by the University of Sussex and the University of Sussex Students’ Union. Student Reps provide an essential link between Students, the Union and the University. PGR Student Reps are doctoral students, elected by fellow students or self-nominated, to represent the views and interests of doctoral researchers in their subject. Reps find out about issues impacting on students’ studies and experience. They may raise these informally with individual members of staff or more formally at department, school, and university level committees in order to effect positive change.

Being a student Rep is an opportunity to learn and practice new skills that can improve your employability, and a great way to get involved with the University and Students' Union on issues that directly affect doctoral researchers. A number of Student Reps are elected to hold positions on University committees to raise issues at a higher level.

Find out more about the scheme here:

New Research Integrity and Supervisor Training Online Modules

A new online programme concerned with research integrity is available to support all research staff and students.The programme aims to provide practical advice on dealing with the complex issues that can arise while designing, planning, conducting and reporting or publishing research. You will need your Sussex log-in details to gain access to the programme.

The programme has five modules available for the following broad disciplines: Arts and Humanities; Biomedical Sciences; Engineering; Natural Sciences; Social Sciences. Regardless of your discipline all of the modules are free for you to use and learn from. At the end of each module there is a quiz so you can test yourself on what you’ve learnt. Sussex seeks to foster a culture of professional integrity, engaging in research activity that is properly conducted to the highest standard.

The University Research Integrity policy is on our research standards webpage.

New Research Student Administration Office website

As you may be aware, the Research Student Administration Office have a new dedicated space on the Sussex website. The Research Student Administration Office is your single point of contact for all administration associated with your doctoral journey, from application through to graduation.

Take a look at the new website for:

You can also browse the information and guidance available for supervisors and examiners.

Do you use apps in your research?

On 23rd November the Sussex Research Hive are hosting a special session on Apps for Researchers as part of Mobile Technologies Week.

The Hive Scholars are looking for keen users of mobile technologies willing to share their experiences with the broader research community at this event.

If you think you could help, please get in touch by sending an e-mail to

Interested in Interdisciplinary Quantitative Analysis Meetings?

Would you be interested in participating in a user group that could bring together doctoral researchers at Sussex using quantitative analysis techniques in their research?

If so, Martin Jung - who recently started his doctorate in the School of Life Sciences - would like to hear from you! 

Martin recently wrote a blog post for the Sussex Research Hive blog ' Invitation for interdisciplinary quantitative analysis meetings' and is collecting expressions of interest for his idea.

Check out the blog post for more information and the link to Martin's online form to register your interest.

Sussex researcher wins prestigious international fellowship

Congratulations to School of English doctoral researcher Eleanor Careless, who recently featured in a Sussex news item after being offered an international fellowship with the Library of Congress in Washington DC.

Eleanor's fellowship will be supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) International Placement Scheme (IPS).

Read the full Sussex news story

International students - make your voice heard!

Let the University know about your experience as an international student at Sussex!

The International Student Barometer (ISB) is an online questionnaire run by i-graduate, focusing on four main elements of the international student experience: arrival, learning, living and support. Results are used by the University to identify any areas for improvement and to help shape future decisions.

The ISB is open to all international and EU (non UK) students at all levels (undergraduate and postgraduate) and years of study. Those taking part will be entered into i-graduate’s prize draw to win £1,000 or a donation to charity. In addition, Sussex will be offering an Apple i-Pad mini for the winner of its own prize draw.

The survey will close on 27 November, 2015. If you'd like to take part, check your Sussex e-mail for your invitation and the hyperlink to participate.  

Read the full Sussex news story

Interdisciplinary Research Events

CHEER/UMEA Doctoral Seminar - Neo-liberalism, Education and Changing Values

For all social science doctoral researchers at the University of Sussex, 14-17 March 2016

The Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER) and the Doctoral School, University of Sussex, UK along with The Postgraduate School of Educational Sciences, School of Education, Umeå University, Sweden, will work together for 4 days to examine theories, methodologies and doctoral work-in-progress. The free 4-day seminar will include:

  • Opportunities to present your work and receive feedback from international experts
  • Networking and knowledge exchange between Sussex and Umea students and faculty
  • Social events

Find out more

The month ahead

Academic Book Week: Alternatives to the monograph: new ways of publishing for doctoral researchers

Wednesday 11th November (10.30 – 12.30) – Sussex Humanities Lab

The Library is organising events as part of a project to explore the future of the academic book and invites doctoral researchers to consider alternatives to the monograph.

For many researchers the allure of the traditional monograph is strong but is this still the best way to publish your work? This informal CHASE seminar will hear from three researchers who are exploring different ways of publishing their work.

Dr Martin Eve, Senior Lecturer, Birkbeck, University of London and Director of the Open Library of the Humanities. Martin will discuss the OLH, a publishing platform that supports academic journals from across the humanities disciplines and extends open access to scholarship– for free, for everyone, for ever.

Dr David Berry, Reader in Media & Communications, University of Sussex  and Co-Director of Sussex Humanities Lab. Good ideas and copious amounts of coffee; just two of the elements required for a Book Sprint. David will discuss this practice of collaborating with others to write a book within a few days. 

Dr Chris Kempshall, Researcher with the Centre for the History of War and Society, University of Sussex. Chris has recently authored a Palgrave Pivot; The First World War in Computer Games. Longer than a journal article, but shorter than a monograph and with a flexible and swift publication process; Chris will talk about his experience with this new approach to publication.

Book a place.

Academic Book Week: What is the future for the academic book?

Wednesday 11th November (12.40 – 14.00)

This second seminar, open to all Sussex researchers and staff, will examine what the academic book of the future might look like and what its purpose might be. The seminar will explore the transformation of the academic book, including a panel discussion with opportunities for questions.

For more details visit:

Teaching and Learning Experience at Sussex (TALES) for new teachers - Lunchtime drop-in

Wednesday 18th November (12.00 – 13.30) - The Creativity Zone, Pevensey III

Organised by Dr Liz Sage in the Academic Development and Quality Enhancement Office, TALES for new teachers is designed for Associate Tutors, Graduate Teaching Assistants, and doctoral researchers who teach at Sussex. The lunchtime drop-in session offers the opportunity to share teaching ideas, experience and advice with other teachers, old and new.

Download flyer

For more information, contact You can find out more about Liz' role in this months 'What do you do?' profile.

Postgraduate Association Coffee Mornings

Every Wednesday (10.00 - 13.00) - Room 76 (Back of Falmer Bar)

Did you know the Postgraduate Association (PGA) host a weekly coffee morning every Wednesday between 10.00 - 13.00 in Room 76?

Come along to have a chat with other postgraduate students at Sussex!

You can find out more about the PGA on the University of Sussex Students' Union website.

Researcher Development Programme: November

Some of our Researcher Development Programme workshops are fully booked for November, but you can add your name to the waiting lists via our All Events listing, as workshops are repeated throughout the year.

Workshops coming up in November include:

  • Zotero Reference Management Tool – *New* online course for beginners with live chat (Week 3): 9th Nov - spaces available
  • Practical tips to improve your academic writing: 11th Nov – fully booked, waiting list
  • Presentation Design: 12th Nov - fully booked, waiting list
  • Zotero Reference Management Tool – *New* online course for beginners with live chat (Week 4): 16th Nov - spaces available
  • Technology for Doctoral Research - One to one support: 17th Nov - Drop-in
  • Presentation Delivery: 19th November – fully booked, waiting list
  • Introduction to NVivo for Qualitative Research - 19th Nov- fully booked, waiting list
  • Keeping up to date in your subject: 19th November - limited spaces available
  • Online webinar - Literature searching using Web of Knowledge and Scopus: 20th Nov - spaces available
  • Designing research posters: 24th Nov - spaces available
  • Postgraduate Funding - considering the alternatives: 25th Nov - spaces available
  • Building a researcher web presence using social media: 26th November - limited spaces available
  • Effective Researcher: 26th Nov - spaces available
  • Practical assertiveness for researchers: 30th Nov - spaces available

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

What's happening in the Hive?

Shut Up and Write!

Wednesday 11th November (15.30 – 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!

November's session will take place from 15.30 - 17.00 in Dhaba Cafe. Keep an eye on the Shut up and Write Facebook page for future locations!

Apps for Researchers

Monday 23rd November (11.30 – 12.30) – The Research Hive

Interested in learning how apps can boost your productivity or assist you during your PhD?

There are a growing number of tools available on mobile phones and tablets that will make your research life easier. A great opportunity to share experiences and suggest your own favourite apps.

Hosted by the Sussex Research Hive Scholars.

Find out more about Mobile Technologies Week

Book now

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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