Sussex Researcher School

SussexDocFest 2023

Take a look back at last year's PGR festival highlights

SussexDocFest, the annual festival celebrating and showcasing postgraduate researchers (PGR), ran 5-9 June 2023, and for the first time was part of the University's Summer of Research celebrations.

Taking place over five days, there were ample opportunities for the PGR community to get together to learn, share and connect, online and in person.

Explore the full programme and some images from the week on Sway below.

List of winners

Congratulations to everyone who took part in the festival competitions in 2023! 

Research Poster Competition

2023 Poster competition entries [opens in Sway]

First place: Samuel Wray (Life Sciences)

Second place: Dip Kumar Saha (Engineering & Informatics)

People's Choice: Ahmad Ali Shariati (Law, Politics and Sociology)

Research Image Competition

2023 Image competition entries [opens in Sway]

First place: Diana Ramirez Sarmiento (Institute of Development Studies)

Second place: Sarah Stephens (Institute of Development Studies)

People's Choice: Georgios Kafetzis (Life Sciences)

Three Minute Thesis

Watch Dominika's winning presentation on the 3MT 2023 webpage.

First place: Dominka Varga (Psychology)

Second place: Imelda Dwi Rosita Sari (Education and Social Work)

People's Choice: Heather Williams (Institute of Development Studies)

SussexDocFest 2023 Programme

Monday 5 June  

Excursions 10-Year Anniversary Art Exhibition (17.00 - 20.00, University of Sussex Library)

  • Join a special event commemorating the 10-year anniversary of Excursions Journal, a University of Sussex-based peer-reviewed journal designed to showcase high quality, innovative, and inventive postgraduate research. As part of this grand celebration, the team have commissioned 13 local artists to create extraordinary artworks representing diverse themes that have graced the pages of Excursions over the past decade.

    Join the team behind Excursions for an evening filled with artistic brilliance! The event will also provide an opportunity to mingle with fellow art enthusiasts, literary aficionados, and the brilliant minds behind Excursions Journal. Engage in thought-provoking conversations, exchange ideas, and deepen your appreciation for the artistic and literary community.

    For further details about the journal or to get involved contact
Tuesday 6 June

Navigating the job market as a PGR: insights from PhD employers (14:00 - 15:30, Woodland 3, Student Centre)

  • The Careers and Entrepreneurship Team are delighted to be hosting an insightful employer panel discussion providing attendees from all PGR disciplines with an overview of PGR opportunities available, including career options in both academia and a diverse range of industries.

    During the panel, the employer representatives will have an opportunity to share their insights and experiences on topics such as relevant career paths, qualities that they look for when recruiting PGR graduates, and industry trends. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions of the panel and to network with them.

Wednesday 7 June

HIVE Holding Space - What's in it for PGRs? (10.30 - 12.30, Pevensey 2A12)

  • Postgraduate research is a lonely process, they say, and rightly so. You're often left alone at your desk staring at your screen waiting for ideas, words, and sentences to emerge. Quite like the bees - searching for flowers alone. Holding space is a HIVE researcher-hosted space to connect you to other bees at work but mostly the systems, services, and spaces available to you.

    Designed on the lines of a world cafe, the event aims to connect PGRs with information and resources as well as allow PGRs to feedback into the system, what works and what doesn't, and how to better streamline and communicate about workshops and events.

    The event brings together the library, research development, mental health services, UCU PGR reps, and HIVE to hold space for you.

Workshop: Introduction to Ethics (ONLINE) (14:00 - 15:00)

  • Join Lauren Shukru and Tim Parkinson from the university's ethics team for a brief introduction to the ethics review process and how to start thinking ethically about your research from the outset.

    There will be a short presentation after which we encourage you to ask questions relating to ethics and your research.

Creative Outlets Craft and Chat Session (14.00 - 16.00, Meeting House Quiet Room)

  • For the Doctoral Festival Creative Outlets special edition, we'll be doing some felt embroidery! We will be exploring: how to work with felt, some embroidery techniques, and how to stuff and assemble your felt shape.

    Please do come along to celebrate the end of the academic year with us, socialise and chat to otherPGRs with drinks and snacks, and get crafty!
Thursday 8 June 

Research Image and Poster Competition Exhibition (All day, Student Centre)

  • 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 £250 People's Choice awards (you can also vote online via our website).

    Winners will be announced at 12:30 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.

'Write Your PhD Story in 100 Words' Exhibition (All Day, Student Centre)

  • We're excited to be able to share the 25 entries to this writing competition organised by Carla Douglas-Gonzalez and other PGRs in SPRU earlier this year, with Researcher-Led Initiatives funding from the Sussex Researcher School (SRS).

    The non-academic writing competition was open to the PGR community as well as academics, lecturers, research fellows and professors, and prizes were awarded to the best stories based on originality, concepts, creativity and diction.

    It offers a fascinating window into the personal narraritves of researchers across Sussex.

Three Minute Thesis Final (10.30 - 12.30, Student Centre)

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

    Join us for the exciting live final as PGRs from across the university compete to win £500 towards research and a place in the Vitae national semi-finals. You'll also get a chance to vote for your favourite for the £250 People's Choice award!

    Judges include:
    • Dr Belinda Zakrzewska, a Lecturer in Marketing and our 2022 3MT winner;
    • Prof Seb Oliver, Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor for Research;
    • Sam Kalubowila, from The Brilliant Club; and
    • Dr Chi-He Elder, Associate Professor in Linguistics at UEA and part of the CHASE consortium.

Prize-giving Ceremony (12.30 - 13.00, Student Centre)

  • The 3MT final will be followed by our prize-giving ceremony. Prof Seb Oliver will present the 3MT winners and announce the winners of our Research Image and Research Poster competitions.

    We'll also present the annual Adam Weiler Doctoral Impact Award, which recognises PGRs who demonstrate the potential to make a lasting, positive impact in their field.

Networking Lunch (13:00 - 14:00, Student Centre)

  • 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, the postgraduate-led Excursions Journal and more.

Impactful PhD Research Panel
(14.00 - 15.30, Student Centre)

  • 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 Doctoral 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.

    With an introductory talk from Dominic Dean, Senior Research Quality and Impact Manager at Sussex.
Friday 9 June 

End of year Barbecue (13.00 - 16.00, Falmer Bar)

  • 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.

    Food is first come, first served so get there early to avoid disappointment.
Festival 2023 Photos - open the Sway presentation in full screen for the best viewing experience and click to enlarge the slides


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

Sussex Researcher School