Sussex Researcher School


Take a look back at 2024 PGR festival highlights

SussexDocFest, the annual festival celebrating all things postgraduate research, brought together our PGR community to learn, share, and connect with others across the University. Part of the Summer of Research, the festival showcased the very best of Sussex and highlighted the crucial contributions PGRs make to the broader research environment.

SussexDocFest 2024 Photos

For the best viewing experience, open the Sway in full screen. The accessibility view provides a high-contrast design and screen reader access.

Check out the Research Image Competition and the Research Poster Competition winners along with all the entries!
Monday 3 June: Careers  

Pathways to Success: Leveraging your research skills for career progress (2.00-4.00pm, Student Centre Woodland 3)

  • An interactive workshop designed to support PGRs in identifying and articulating their research skills for career progression in both academia and commercial or public sector settings. Throughout this event, you’ll engage in various activities aimed at highlighting PGR strengths, building confidence, and exploring career paths.

    By the end of the workshop, you’ll leave with a clearer understanding of your extensive research skills and how to effectively communicate them for future career opportunities.

Catalysing Connections networking event (4.30-6.00pm, Student Centre Woodland 3)

  • A networking event designed to foster collaboration, networking, and career development among postgraduate and early career researchers, employers and professionals from various sectors. Tea and cake included!

    Catalysing Connections aims to create a vibrant platform where attendees can exchange ideas, forge meaningful connections, and explore diverse career opportunities. There will be opportunities for informal networking among PGRs, ECRs, employers, and university staff who can offer guidance and encouragement, as well as hearing from keynote speakers including the Dean of the Sussex Researcher School and Sussex alumni now working in a variety of sectors. Their stories of adaptability and achievement will inspire.

Take a look at the evited speakers below:

  • Keynote speech - Jeremy Niven, Dean of the Sussex Researcher School and Prof of Zoology at School of Life Sciences.  
  • Teaching in academia talk - Dmitrijs Dmitrenko, completed his PhD at Sussex, and is now  a computer science and AI lecturer in Sussex Department of Informatics.
  • Research in academia talk - Rhiannon Armitage, completed their PhD at Sussex recently, and is now at Sussex working as a post doctoral researcher in the School of Psychology.
  • Research outside academia - Aimee Eckert , completed their PhD in Genomics and is now a Development Manager at the Martingale Foundation.
Tuesday 4 June: Neurodiversity

Neurodivergent PGRs Lived Experience Panel (1.00-2.15pm, Jubilee 118 and online)

  • What does it mean to be a neurodivergent PGR? What are the advantages, the challenges, and the support networks available? Join us for a panel discussion featuring four neurodivergent PGRs who will discuss their diverse experiences of undertaking a research degree at Sussex.

    This event will explore unique perspectives, challenges and triumphs as the four scholars share their personal journeys navigating academia. Attending the event will allow you to gain insight, foster understanding, and celebrate diversity in research and learning.

    Meet our panel as they share insights into their experience navigating postgraduate research:

    • Joshua Francis – Psychology: A researcher in Psychology and the Students’ Union’s PGR Officer, Josh has written a blogpost on being a neurodivergent researcher, dealing with imposter thoughts and suggesting tools and recommendations to support others.
    • Roz De’Ath – MAH: A PGR in English, Roz also works at the Library as a Student Experience Library Officer. Roz is an active member of the Neurodiversity Staff Network, and is working on a project to include resources for neurodivergent students on the Library website.
    • Wendy Ashall – ESW: A researcher in Education and also a Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at Global Studies, Wendy’s research examines the experiences of Foundation Year students.
    • Abigail Rieley – MAH: A PGR in History, Abigail helped the Sussex Researcher School develop a Canvas page to support neurodivergent researchers, and supervisors supervising neurodivergent PGRs.
    • Romy Beauté – Engineering & Informatics: A PGR working with Sussex AI and based in the Centre for Consciousness Science. Romy's research spans several disciplines, including cognitive sciences, neurosciences, computational sciences, and psychology. Using her experience with ADHD as a focal point, Romy will demonstrate how unique ways of thinking and perceiving the world can be valuable assets in research.

Approaches to Neurodiversity and Postgraduate Research (2.30-3.45pm, Jubilee 118 and online)

  • From inclusive methodologies to fostering supportive communities, discover how embracing neurodiversity enriches academic pursuits and drives meaningful progress.

    Hear from two University of Sussex academics working with neurodivergent researchers and an experienced consultant as they delve into the benefits and challenges of making academia more neurodivergent friendly.

    A little about our panellists:

    • Dr Gemma North: Gemma North is a neurodiversity researcher, training consultant, and coach. She is currently working with her team at the University of Sussex Researcher School to develop PGR supervisor training. Gemma’s research interests include exploring reasonable adjustments for neurodivergent people in employment and higher education.
    • Prof Nicola Yuill: Professor of Developmental Psychology, co-coordinator of the Autism Community Research Network Sussex, and Director of the Children & Technology Lab which aims to support attuned communication between minimally-verbal children and their support workers and carers.
    • Dr Jacqui Shepherd: Honorary Senior Lecturer in Education and co-coordinator of the Autism Community Research Network Sussex. Jacqui's main research and teaching interests are in inclusive education specifically in relation to disability, special educational needs and autism.

Creative Outlets Craft and Chat Session - Rune Crafting (4.00-6.00pm, Jubilee 118)

  • Join us at this Creative Outlets Craft and Chat session where we will be Rune Crafting!

    Runes have been used historically for divination, prayer, leaving messages on walls, decorating jewellery, broaches and weapons. Runes are an early form of letters or full words; and are a great example of the belief in the power of words.

    They can be a fantastic reminder of why you chose to be here on your PGR journey, to bring strength in the hard times and when plans go awry.

    They are also great for Halloween, D&D, Witching rituals or just as something to fiddle with. So, take a break from your research to join us for all, or part, of the session, to inscribe your hopes and motivations. All materials, drinks and snacks will be provided.

Wednesday 5 June: Interdisciplinarity

Interdisciplinary Research: How to get started panel and Q&A (10.30am-12.00pm, online)

Are you curious about interdisciplinary research? Want to get involved but not sure how to make connections? Hear from researchers with a range of backgrounds, undertaking research in different fields, and put your questions to them in a lively debate around what it really means to work across disciplines. 

Our speakers include:

Speed Collaborating and Poster Presentations (12.00-2.00pm, Library Open Learning Space)

  • Come along for a lunchtime speed-networking event and share your skills, research, and experience with one another. Maybe it will lead to an extra publication or two!

    Organised by the Students' Union PGR Officer, this is a cross-discipline speed networking event for those seeking collaborators for their projects, those seeking to collaborate on other people's projects, and those who just want to meet researchers from other fields. It's an opportunity to present your research to a broad audience of Sussex researchers who are interested in interdisciplinary work, and link up with researchers outside your immediate bubble. 

    The event is open to everyone, regardless of career level, whether you are a current postgraduate researcher or a senior member of faculty (and anything in between),

    Food and drink will be provided. If you want to display a poster of your work at the event you will need to submit a pdf when you register. A1 printing will be arranged free of charge. Please ensure your poster is of sufficient quality to be readable at A1 size.

PGR/ECR Cross-Discipline Speed Mentoring (2.00-4.00pm, online)

  • We're bringing together a diverse selection of Sussex's early career and postgraduate researchers for a series of brief, focused conversations around research, career goals and development.

    For PGRs, it's a chance to gain invaluable advice on navigating the next steps in your research journey. For ECRs, it's an opportunity to develop interpersonal skills, share your knowledge and mentor the next generation of researchers. Find out more information on Interdisciplinary Speed Mentoring webpage.
Thursday 6 June: Impact

Research Image and Poster Competition Exhibition (All day, Student Centre Woodland 2 & 3)

  • Drop in and browse the exhibition of academic posters and images representing postgraduate research at Sussex over the past year - and vote for your favourites for the £100 People's Choice awards (you can also vote online via the Image and Poster competition webpages).

    Winners will be announced at 4.35pm following the 3MT final. See the Research Image and Research Poster pages for further details. No need to register, just drop in and explore! Please be mindful that other events may be taking place in the same space.

Keynote: Research 'impact' - what, why and how to get it: Perspectives from a 27-year postdoctoral career (10.00-11.00am, Student Centre Woodland 2 & 3)

  • If you want to pursue a research (or research-adjacent) career in academia or beyond, you need to understand what Research 'Impact' is, how to work towards developing and then demonstrating it.

    Dr Hayley Cordingley shares her thoughts and experiences, gathered over a 27-year postdoctoral career working in academia and industry as a researcher, project manager, careers consultant/researcher developer and latterly research intelligence adviser at Sussex.

    This session will explore what impact can mean for researchers, why being able to demonstrate it is important for your personal career and for the institution you work in, and touch on some strategies and tools to help you gather and evidence impact as you go.

PGR Film Screening - Menopause: The Movie (11.15am-12.30pm, Student Centre Woodland 2 & 3)

  • An exciting opportunity to watch Dr Ali Ramsey's game-changing film, made as part of her PhD exploring media representations of menopause. With an introduction from Ali discussing the use of film as a medium for sharing research, and followed by a Q&A.
  • You can watch a short trailer and read a short introduction to the film on the Menopause: New Perspectives webpage here.

RLI Showcase and Networking Lunch (12:30-2.00pm, Student Centre Woodland 2 & 3)

  • Hear lightning talks from some of the recent recipients of SRS Researcher-Led Initiatives funding. Then grab some lunch, network with fellow researchers, and find out about the opportunities available to you across campus and beyond.

    Chat to teams from the Library, Careers & Entrepreneurship, your PGR Student Union reps, the postgraduate-led Excursions Journal and more.

Impactful PGR Research Panel (2.00-3.15pm, Student Centre Woodland 2 & 3)

  • Impact is a buzzword we hear a lot, but what does it actually mean for postgraduate research? Can PGRs really make an impact with their work - and what can that look like?

    Join this year's winners of the Adam Weiler Impact Award - given to PGRs across all disciplines at Sussex - as they discuss their research so far, where they hope to go next, and how postgraduate research can influence policy, theory and practice in academia and beyond.

Three Minute Thesis Final (3.30-5.00pm, Student Centre Woodland 2 & 3)

  • Could you present your research in just three minutes? Join us for the exciting live final of Sussex's 3MT competition, as PGRs from across the University compete to win £500 towards research and a place in the UK semi-finals. You'll also get a chance to vote for your favourite for the £250 People's Choice award!

    The 3MT is an academic competition that challenges PGRs to describe their research in just three minutes to a non-academic audience.

    The final will be followed at 4.35pm by our prize-giving ceremony, announcing the winners of 3MT and our Research Image and Research Poster competitions. We'll also present the annual Adam Weiler Impact Award, which recognises PGRs who demonstrate the potential to make a lasting, positive impact in their field.

Friday 7 June: Community

Wellness Walk through Stanmer Park (led by Hive Scholars) (12.00-1.00pm, meet in Library Square)

  • Join the Hive Scholars and PGR community for a grounding walk through Stanmer Park, beginning at Library Square! We will do some presentness work and discuss wellbeing and mental health support among the PGR community. Solidarity! 

End-of-year Barbecue (1.00-4.00pm, Falmer Bar Patio)

  • Celebrate the start of summer at our legendary end-of-year barbecue. With reserved seating on the Falmer Bar patio, it's a great way to get together with other researchers in the open air.

    Choose a beef, vegetarian or vegan option when you register. Includes a free drink voucher! Food is first come, first served so get there early to avoid disappointment.

If you have any queries about SussexDocFest, get in touch with us at

Sussex Researcher School