Looking back to the future: Sussex celebrates research success

Leading figures from the arts and sciences, government and public service were among the guests of University of Sussex Vice-Chancellor Michael Farthing and colleagues at a special dinner at the Royal Society in London last night (Thursday 9 June).

The purpose of the dinner was to celebrate the University's research successes - and to look forward to future plans as the University prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Special guest was Sussex graduate, Labour MP and former Government Minister the Rt Hon Ben Bradshaw, who spoke with affection, passion and humour about his time at the University.

Mr Bradshaw, who graduated from Sussex with a degree in German in 1982, said: "Sussex opened up new ways of looking at the world - I learned the importance of first 'defining the question' when understanding or debating any issue.  And Sussex truly had a world view in its approach to issues. 

"It is striking that what today are the common civilised values in our society - tolerance, equality, openness, concern for the environment - were the values espoused then by Sussex students and staff."

The dinner, organised by the University's Development and Alumni Relations Office, provided an opportunity for the University to showcase groundbreaking research for policy makers, research partners, public funders and private donors.

Guests included representatives from a wide range of organisations with interests in or connections with Univesity of Sussex research: the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew; Friends of the Earth;The Charleston Trust; the British Academy; the Higher Education Funding Council for England; the South Downs National Park authority; the Overseas Development Institute;  the V&A Museum; the Department of Energy and Climate Change; the Royal College of Art; the Society of Antiquaries of London.

Prominent benefactors of University research and facilities were also guests, and included Michael Chowen (an eminent supporter of the Brighton and Sussex Medical School); the Ninevah Charitable Trust and Waitrose (currently funders of research at the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects) and the Sackler Foundation, which has invested a new Sackler Centre for Consciousness at the University, devoted to the scientific study of human consciousness.

The dinner marked the premiere of some new films detailing the University's recent and diverse research successes that reflect the core research themes at Sussex: Environment and Health; Citizenship and Democratisation; Culture and Heritage;  Mind and Brain; Digital and Social Media and Global Transformations.

Projects featured in the 2011 Research Review include work on: Byzantine mosaics; technical and genetic advances in cancer diagnosis and therapy; tools for international trade analysis; intercellular communication in the brain; and the agricultural potential for human "dark earths" in Africa.

Professor Farthing said: "As Sussex prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary, we celebrate here the interdisciplinary approach to research that makes Sussex as innovative today as it was in the 1960s. I am proud that Sussex is rated as a world-leading research institution, and that the groundbreaking work of our academics continues to inform new generations of students into the 21st Century."

Notes for Editors

Home page image: Detail of a mosaic from the Rotunda of St George in Thessaloniki, from 5th-6th century - art historian Professor Liz James is working on an international project to examine the technology behind Byzantine glass mosaic tiles.

To find out more about the research projects listed above, see the online 2011 Research Review

For more information see Research at Sussex

University of Sussex Press office contacts: Maggie Clune and Jacqui Bealing. Tel: 01273 678 888. Email: press@sussex.ac.uk

View press releases online at: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/newsandevents/

Last updated: Thursday, 16 June 2011