PhD researcher sought for key role on IT Service Oversight Group

The University is seeking a doctoral researcher to join the newly formed IT Service Oversight Group, ensuring IT services and developments meet the needs of PGRs.

The chosen researcher will sit on the group alongside an undergraduate student and key staff from ITS, Professional Services, TEL, the Library, Senate and others. The group will meet termly, for a two-hour session, and the post is for 18 months.

The purpose of the group is to assist ITS in achieving excellence in service delivery and valued outcomes for the Sussex community through oversight of performance metrics, provision of feedback, and input into service improvement initiatives.

This is a voluntary role but will give you the opportunity to network across University teams, experience of working at an institutional level, the chance to influence IT developments to the benefit of doctoral research, and to develop valuable professional skills working with others on a committee.

Interested researchers should email Clare Gryce, Deputy IT Director (Operations and Research) – c.gryce@sussex.ac.uk.

CHASE opportunities for Arts and Humanities researchers

See below for a list of new opportunities within the Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts (CHASE) network, available to both to CHASE funded and non-CHASE funded Arts and Humanities researchers:

Placement – CHASE Researcher Networks Officer (CHASE team)

This is a placement with the CHASE team, focused on working with the various CHASE networks and supporting them in achieving their strategic aims. The placement can be worked remotely, is open to funded and non-funded students*, and the deadline is 30th June.

*Non-funded students can find out about the compensation package at the link below.

More information available on their website.

Paid part time role – Co-ordinator for CHASE Training and Development Day (Goldsmiths)

This is a part-time role to support an upcoming CHASE training programme. The programme is based at Goldsmiths but the opportunity is available to PGRs at all CHASE member institutions and can be worked remotely.

Download the Job description (PDF)

Voluntary role – Brief Encounters Peer Reviewers

The CHASE open access, peer reviewed journal ‘Brief Encounters’ is looking to expand its pool of peer reviewers. The role is voluntary but will give an excellent insight into the peer review process and training is available.

Download Further details (Word doc)

More about CHASE

CHASE is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and nine universities. These include The Courtauld Institute of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London, the Open University, the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), Birkbeck (University of London) and the Universities of East Anglia, Essex, Kent and Sussex.

If you have any questions about any of the roles listed, please contact Dr Steven Colburn at s.j.colburn@sussex.ac.uk who will be happy to help.

Upcoming RDP workshop: How to look after yourself and keep going

The Healthy Researcher: how to look after yourself and keep going
Date: 23rd June 2021
Time: 11:00 – 12:30
Location: Online

This session is led by Dr Catherine Pope.

Target audience: Doctoral researchers at any stage in all disciplines. Research staff are also welcome to attend this workshop.

Workshop description: It’s important for us to be kind to each other during the current pandemic. It’s also vital that we’re gentle on ourselves. In this interactive webinar, we’ll discuss how we can best adapt our habits and stay productive.

We’ll cover:

  • Playing the Long Game – avoiding quick fixes
  • Getting Back to Basics – looking after our immediate needs
  • Putting First Things First – working out our priorities and ditching everything else
  • Being Gentle on Yourself – listening to your body

By the end of the webinar, you’ll have a range of strategies you can apply right away to help you keep going.

Technical details: Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions but are not required to turn on their cameras or microphones.

Sign up now, via SussexDirect.

Adapting to Change: Make sure to celebrate the small victories in your research too

Tasha Bierrum, a PhD researcher studying Physics

In this Adapting to Change series, we interview Sussex PhD researchers and supervisors about the challenges they faced in 2020/2021, and the different approaches they took to tackle the issues, adapt their projects and continue with their research.

Below we hear from Tasha Bierrum who is a PhD researcher studying in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

Tell us a little about your research and what your original research plans involved?

My research is on a quantum physics state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC). In the lab, in Quantum Systems and Devices, we create BECs by making rubidium atoms extremely cold in a vacuum – less than a millionth of a degree. This causes the quantum features of atoms and their interactions to become measurable, and more interestingly, we can tune and change the properties of the BEC for sensing purposes. At the start of my PhD, I was going to learn the theory and how the equipment works to form a BEC, and then start answering my own research questions through the experiment.

Which methodologies were you using in your work, and what stage were you at when you had to adapt your research?

I am an experimental physicist, and this involves lab work, analysis of data, and literature reviews. I began my PhD in Quantum Systems and Devices research group in October 2019 and I started learning how to use the equipment and learning relevant theory. I then went to Singapore in January 2020 for (what was supposed to be) a 4 month industrial placement in gravitational sensing with cold atoms, as required by my funding body.

What obstacles did you face to your original research plans and how did you address these challenges?

Picture of the setup in Quantum System and Devices Green lab, where Bose-Einstein condensates are made in a vacuum chamber

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, I decided to cut my placement short by one month, because Singapore was entering an 8 week lockdown. The labs were then shut until July 2020, and for the next 10 months there was a limit on the number of people in the lab. When I wasn’t allowed into the lab I did literature reviews, and simulations of the experimental results expected from my research goal. This was a bit backwards, and the experiment was planned out more than usual but I think it was helpful to know what I expected fully before carrying out the experiment. The BEC setup has a control system that sends specific voltages to components and this can be remote controlled from home. So I could learn how to remotely control and tune the BECs from home, but if something needed physically changing in the lab I had to ask very nicely for someone to do it for me! Luckily since the research laboratories opened in MPS in July, I have been able and felt comfortable travelling onto campus at least a couple of times a week. and continued learning and implementing new experiment components.

What support did you receive during this period of change and where did you look to for guidance when you encountered an obstacle?

My supervisors and other researchers in Quantum Systems and Devices group have been so helpful and happy to answer my questions over an email, text or zoom call. We had a virtual coffee break on Fridays during the first few months of lockdown where everyone in the research group came for a chat and we played quizzes and online games. My friends, many of which are also PhD students, and family were also really great support, in terms of wellbeing and how to stay motivated while working from home.

What advice would you give to someone currently facing challenges in their research?

PhDs are hard enough with the pressure that we put on ourselves and it will never work out exactly how you expect it to. Make sure to celebrate the small victories too in your research, because they are easy to ignore these days! Also talking to your supervisor and other researchers really helps and makes you see the bigger picture more clearly.

Where is your research headed now and what’s next for you?

I am approaching half way through my PhD so I am now answering my research questions and hopefully get a paper published soon. I’d love to go to conferences once they are back in person, I feel like that is one of the big things I am missing in my PhD.

If you would like to share your experience for the Adapting to Change interview series, please contact researcher-development@sussex.ac.uk

Call for papers: CHASE Brief Encounters Journal

Brief Encounters logo.

Brief Encounters issue 6 is now open for submissions from research students and staff at CHASE-affiliated institutions, including Sussex. They welcome academically rigorous and original articles (500–4,000 words), reviews (500–1,000 words) and creative works. They aim to provide a platform for work that would otherwise be limited to single-discipline conferences, conversations within institutions, or an inspired scribble in a notepad.

For an idea of what the journal publishes, explore our archive. Previous issues have covered themes including borderlines, crossings, physical space, identity, state violence and the legacies of colonialism.

Creative works may include fiction, short stories, poetry, video essays, documentary, musical compositions, performances and more. Practice-based or creative work should be accompanied by a critical commentary (between 500 and 4,000 words in length) which will be published alongside the work in the journal.

The deadline for submissions is 31 July 2021. See the Brief Encounters website for further information, including how to submit. If you have any queries please contact journal@chase.ac.uk.

What is Brief Encounters?
Brief Encounters is an online, open access peer-reviewed journal, edited by doctoral researchers from the CHASE Doctoral Training Partnership. The journal publishes the work of research students, staff and alumni of CHASE-affiliated institutions. As an interdisciplinary journal for emerging research in the humanities, each issue brings together a diverse array of approaches, methodologies, disciplines and voices.

New workshop: An introduction to virtue based ethics and integrity in research

Monday 21 June & Monday 5 July, 10.00 -12.30 (UK time)
Dr Antony Walsh, Research Governance Officer
Online (Zoom)

Register now

Audience: PhD researchers, Research Staff and early-career academic faculty.

Outline: The concept and importance of an understanding of Research Integrity has becoming increasingly significant for researchers in an ever-competitive environment. As regulators and funders turn their attentions to promoting healthy research cultures, it is important for all researchers to be aware of how they can work on their own practices and attitudes that support collaborative and collegiate ways of working.

Over two sessions attendees will: 

  • Consider what research integrity is and how it is related to the concept of research misconduct 
  • Reflect on how virtues are important in research integrity 
  • Be provided with an opportunity to bring their own dilemmas for discussion (in confidence
  • Engage in practical exercises to develop an understanding of values in research integrity 

To prepare for each session, attendees will be asked to work through a small number of modules on the Embassy of Good Science website  and reflect on a personal dilemma that could be discussed by the group. The training has been devised as part of the European Commission funded VIRT2UE Research Integrity project in association with the Embassy of Good Science

Presenter: Dr Antony Walsh has been the Research Governance Officer at the University since April 2016. Based in Research and Enterprise Services he leads the Research Ethics, Integrity and Governance Team which supports and advises researchers in navigating ethical research practice across the broad range of research undertaken at Sussex. As the institutional lead on Research Integrity he works closely with the Provost within the context of the Procedure for the Investigation of Allegations of Misconduct in Research.  

Please note that this workshop is taking place on Monday 21 June and Monday 5 July in two parts. Registered attendees must attend both sessions to complete the workshop and receive a certificate of attendance.

SAGE Research Hive Scholarship: Forge connections and foster peer support across the doctoral community at Sussex

PhD researchers and Hive Scholars during an event in the Research Hive space in Sussex Library.

What better way to foster doctoral connections than becoming one of the next academic year’s SAGE Research Hive Scholars? For over a decade, the SAGE Research Hive Scholarship programme has developed the careers and communities of thousands of doctoral researchers at Sussex. 

It’s that time of year again and we are looking for three new scholars to take up the baton, passed on from the wonderful Aanchal, Louise and Devyn who have held these posts for the past two years and contributed a phenomenal amount to the Sussex doctoral research community – amassing a great deal of valuable knowledge and skills in the process.

Hive Scholars help forge connections across disciplines and foster peer support and a sense of community and wellbeing for postgraduate researchers. Successful candidates for the three vacant positions will:

  • explore ways to develop peer-led support and networks
  • work with the Library and Doctoral School to develop the research community at Sussex
  • organise researcher-led events, external speakers and social activities for researchers
  • engage with SAGE Publications on research trends and issues facing doctoral researchers, providing a PGR voice for their platforms, including the SAGE Perspectives blog
  • use social media to connect with the research community
  • receive a fixed bursary of £3,575 for an eleven-month duration: from the start of September 2021 to the end of July 2022

The closing date for applications is midnight on Sunday 20 June 2021.

Full details and how to apply: 

Showcasing the Sussex PhD community – Festival of Doctoral Research, 5-9 July

Logo for the Festival of Doctoral Research showing lightbulbs hanging from above #SussexDocFest

The Festival of Doctoral Research is back for July 2021!

Covid may mean we can’t meet in person but that’s all the more reason to bring together our doctoral community online to showcase and celebrate PhD research at Sussex.

Taking place over five days (Monday 5th – Friday 9th July), there will be ample opportunities across the week to learn, share, and connect with other doctoral researchers from across the University.

Highlights include:

  • Keynote on research culture from Prof Robin Banerjee
  • Adapting to Change PGR knowledge-sharing panel and accompanying workshop
  • New CEC workshop on effective job searching, and Quick Careers Query drop-ins
  • A virtual tour of the Excursions Journal ten-year anniversary art exhibition
  • A PGR-led workshop on LGBTQ+ inclusivity
  • A supportive session exploring how the doctoral journey fits into our wider lives
  • The Research Hive Thesis on a Postcard competition

We’ll be sharing the full programme shortly. Keep an eye on the Festival homepage and follow #SussexDocFest on Twitter for updates.

Why not get involved (and be in with the chance to win some prizes!) by submitting an entry to our Research Image Competition or Research Poster Competition? The deadline for entries is 12 noon on Monday 28 June.

Research Image Competition

Can you capture your research in a single image?

Sussex doctoral researchers are invited to submit an image designed to inform, engage and intrigue a non-specialist academic audience and offer a visual perspective on current doctoral research. Shortlisted entries will be exhibited on our website during the Festival.

A young man kneels to weld, wearing no protective gear, in an image by Md Mahmudul Hoque.
Last year’s winning entry by Md Mahmudul Hoque

The competition will be judged by a panel drawn from the University community, including campus photographer Stuart Robinson, and the first place, second place and People’s Choice winners will be announced at a prize-giving ceremony on Wednesday 7th July.

  • First prize: £200 towards your research
  • Second prize: £100 towards your research
  • People’s Choice: £100 towards your research

Interested in taking part? Visit our Research Image Competition page for full guidelines and to submit your entry. If you need a little inspiration, you can view last year’s entries, including the winning image by Md Mahmudul Hoque (above), on the competition webpage. 

The deadline for submitting an image is 12 noon on Monday 28 June. 

Research Poster Competition

Doctoral researchers are invited to submit a research poster offering a clear taster of your research, with visual impact, and designed to inform and engage a non-specialist academic audience. Shortlisted entries will be exhibited on our website during the Festival.

The competition will be judged by a panel drawn from the research community, including workshop facilitator Dr Joanna Young, and the first place, second place and People’s Choice winners will be announced at a prize-giving ceremony on Wednesday 7th July.

  • First prize: £300 towards your research 
  • Second prize: £150 towards your research
  • People’s Choice: £150 towards your research 

Visit our Research Poster Competition page for full guidelines and to enter. Last year’s posters, including Norah Alzahrani’s winning entry (below), are available on the competition webpage if you’re seeking inspiration.

The deadline for submitting a poster is 12 noon on Monday 28 June. 

Research poster on why it matters to know how journalists perceive their role, by Norah Alzahrani.
Last year’s winning poster by Norah Alzahrani

Virtual Writing Retreats

VWR, a national, multidisciplinary community are offering online writing retreats to PGR’s & ECR’s nationwide. VWR is an independent, peer led, community of global scholars who work together on a shared schedule for accountability and support. The social aspect of the retreat is of equal importance because it reduces the feelings of isolation that remote working can bring by creating a sense of community and belonging.

Schedule:
Mon, Wed & Fri – 08:45 – 15:15
Tues & Thurs – 18:00 – 21:00 (to include PhDs who work fulltime)
Sunday (bi-monthly) 09:30 – 13:15

Workshops cost £3 per session.

Researchers can book on the website.

Media+ Doctoral Days, 15-16 June: Celebrating the work of Sussex doctoral researchers across the media spectrum

Logo for Media+ Doctoral Day 2021.

Media+ Doctoral Day 2021
Tuesday 15 June (online) & Wednesday 16 June (online and in person)

Register for the in-person event (online attendees do not need to register)
See the flyer below for the full programme and Zoom links

After fourteen months of remote working and increased isolation from our peers and colleagues, we are delighted to bring you two afternoons dedicated to celebrating the fantastic work of Sussex doctoral researchers in the fields of Media+. We have a remarkable program of presenters lined up, whose objects of study span across a wide range of media, from literature and comics, through music, film, and television, to social media and technology, and beyond. Whatever your interests, we hope that you will find the days enjoyable, invigorating and thought-provoking.

After more than a year of social distancing, lockdowns and online only events, we are particularly excited to be able to hold the second day as a blended event. By holding the first afternoon entirely online and streaming the second afternoon’s campus-based activities, we hope that everyone will be able to access the event, listen to the presentations and engage in discussions. It will be particularly wonderful, though, to see those of you who can attend the second afternoon in person, and we will be ending the conference with drinks at The Signalman to give us all a chance to socialise properly (RSVP to MAH-PGR@sussex.ac.uk if you want to attend post-conference drinks).

A huge thanks to everyone who has helped keep the doctoral research community alive over the last year; we really hope that the Media+ Doctoral Days will be a joyous culmination of all these efforts, a chance to celebrate all that we have survived and achieved during this extraordinarily difficult time.

Amelia Crowther, Jingjing Fu, Manuela Salazar and Mike Raybourne
Doctoral researchers in MAH

Flyer for Media+ Doctoral Day 2021 including the full programme and QR codes + URLs to access the Zoom.