About Sussex Neuroscience

Sussex Neuroscience is one of the University of Sussex’s 12 Centres of Excellence. Our aim is to advance our understanding of one of the last frontiers of science – the brain and nervous system – and apply it for the benefit of society.


Key facts

  • The University of Sussex was the first university in the UK, and perhaps the world, to offer a degree in Neuroscience commencing in 1970-71 with the BSc in Neurobiology
  • Sussex Neuroscience is comprised of over 60 Principal Investigators distributed across four academic schools: School of Life Sciences; School of Psychology; School of Engineering and Informatics; and the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS)
  • Members of Sussex Neuroscience hold around £50M in open awards from funders including The Wellcome Trust, BBSRC, MRC, The Leverhulme Trust
  • University of Sussex is a major UK neuroscience centre based on the quality and influence of our outputs
  • The Sussex Neuroscience PhD Programme, running for over a decade, offers a 4yr PhD with rotations across the breadth of modern neuroscience 

Contemporary neuroscience research requires the integration of expertise, approaches, and technologies from a diverse array of scientific disciplines. Sussex Neuroscience acts as a focal point to unite these different research strands, and provides a strategic oversight for this key area. A generous investment by the University of £3 million in 2013 was followed by further inward and external investments. These have helped to create an outstanding research environment that supports an ambitious suite of activities. These include:

  • a highly successful 4-year PhD Programme in which students undertake three lab rotations in Year 1 before choosing their final research project for Years 2-4
  • funding for two advanced technical posts that enable us to leverage cutting-edge methods such as connectomics in human neuroimaging, and in vivo optical imaging in freely moving animals
  • extra support for researchers at all stages of the career such as: Junior Research Assistantships for undergraduates; funds for attending or running training workshops for our PhD community; bursaries to support the costs of care/childcare whilst researchers attend conferences
  • matched-funding for multi-user equipment bids up to £30K
  • funding for a weekly seminar series, an annual event, and various social occasions for the benefit of the whole community

The SN Team: The Directors of Sussex Neuroscience (Professors Miguel Maravall, Louise Serpell and Chris Bird) together with the Programme Manager (Dr Ruth Staras) and Senior Research Project Officer (Gabrielle Minkley-Barnes) are responsible for: developing and running activities that build and celebrate our neuroscience research community at all career stages; representing the neuroscience community to the University; and for delivering longer-term strategic priorities (e.g. facilitating larger-scale grant bids).

Sussex Neuroscience is an inclusive community whose members come from a wide diversity of backgrounds and locations. Much of our support for PhD students and early career researchers is designed to provide equity. We seek to foster the careers, and the participation in neuroscience, of researchers from groups who continue to be under-represented in academia and research. Through our regular seminar series, events and open meetings we help to facilitate great opportunities for mentorship, collaboration and a positive research culture.