Sussex Researcher School

Enabling Plan

Co-created with postgraduate and early career researchers, our Enabling Plan provides a clear vision and focus for enhancing provision and support for emerging researchers at Sussex.


During 2023, a new Enabling Plan was developed to provide direction and focus for provision and support for emerging researchers – encompassing undergraduate junior research associates (JRAs), postgraduate researchers (PGRs) and early career researchers (ECRs; broadly defined as postdoctoral researchers, postdoctoral fellows, and research assistants) – across the University.

A co-creative approach was taken in the form of a series of workshops with key stakeholder groups, including PGRs, ECRs, associated professional services (PS) staff, and Directors of Doctoral Studies.

Endorsed at all levels of the institution, the Enabling Plan signals Sussex's commitment to enhancing provision and support for emerging researchers. Below is a summary of the Plan.

With respect to ECRs, it is important to note that the Enabling Plan supplements the institution's exisiting commitments to the Researcher Development Concordat and our HR Excellence in Research Award, for which a separate delivery plan is in place.  

Mission statement

Enabling the progression and development of emerging researchers by providing support, structure, and connection across the University.

Vision statement

To create a vibrant, visible, and valued community of emerging researchers by promoting and celebrating diversity and individuality while ensuring a consistently high-quality experience that enables individuals to realise their potential, and championing the significant contribution they make towards the University’s research culture and standing.

Core themes and goals

There are five key areas:

  • Establish the Sussex Researcher School as the University-level hub for emerging researchers, working in collaboration with academic schools and professional services to promote and enhance provision and support.
  • Support the development of a vibrant community of emerging researchers by enhancing and promoting opportunities to engage, network and share within and across disciplinary boundaries.
  • Acknowledging that preferences for on-campus vs. remote attendance vary across the PGR community, ensure a high-quality experience and opportunities to engage regardless of mode of attendance
  • Promote positive and productive supervisory relationships at all levels.
  • Enhance quality assurance for PGR programmes, and ensure policies and processes are agile, efficient, and robust, and understood and implemented consistently across the University.
  • Work with stakeholders across the University to develop workflows for managing the PGR academic journey which are transparent, robust, and efficient, and which capture the data required to meet both statutory requirements and internal needs.
  • Promote equal access for emerging researchers.
  • Value and embed the consideration of diversity in our community of emerging researchers into Sussex Researcher School activities and information.
  • Enable and promote emerging researchers engaging in interdisciplinary research, which is recognised as core to the University’s identity and yet often not easily pursued.
  • Ensure that central training and development provision meets the needs of emerging researchers, is accessible and sustainable, and complements disciplinary-specific training offers.
  • Enable PGRs to realise their potential by increasing and streamlining funding provision.
  • Provide employability and entrepreneurship support that meets the diverse needs of PGRs and enables them to achieve their employment potential.
  • Capture and celebrate the contribution made by emerging researchers towards the University’s research outcomes and standing.
  • Embed the voices of emerging researchers in decision-making and ensure a range of feedback mechanisms are available.
  • Raise Sussex’s profile as a destination of choice for postgraduate research.

Sussex Researcher School