Sussex Centre for Consciousness Science


Our mission is to advance the scientific and philosophical understanding of consciousness, and to use the insights from this research for the benefit of society, medicine, and technology.

Our newly-formed Centre of Excellence will enable powerful interdisciplinary collaboration for impactful research and public outreach. Together, we will investigate the biological basis of consciousness. How can an improved scientific and philosophical understanding of consciousness have positive impacts on technology, medicine, and society? The nature of consciousness has puzzled people for thousands of years, and it remains one of the most important unsolved mysteries in science and philosophy, with enormous potential for wider societal impact. Questions about consciousness regularly feature in prominent lists of the ‘biggest questions in science’ (e.g., in Scientific American). The Sussex Centre for Consciousness Science (SCCS) will further develop the University’s world-leading reputation in this key area of cross-disciplinary research and innovation.

In terms of basic research, understanding the nature of consciousness lies at the heart of a thriving international multidisciplinary community of researchers. A satisfactory explanation of consciousness will revolutionise our understanding of our place in nature, comparable with the revolutions sparked by Copernicus and Darwin. In each case, scientific breakthroughs allowed us to see ourselves more as part of nature, than apart from it. A deeper understanding of consciousness will continue this narrative, and will provide new answers to a host of more specific questions that fall under the general topic: What is the self? How do we perceive the world? Do we have free will? What is the role of the body in consciousness?

We aim to deliver distinctive interdisciplinary training (e.g., through dedicated doctoral training programmes), and provide a platform for sourcing funding from both governmental and philanthropic organisations. The Centre will also interact with other research groups at Sussex, including Sussex Neuroscience, Sussex AI, the Sussex Centre for Sensory Neuroscience and Computation (SNAC), and the Sussex Humanities Lab (SHL).