IMPORTANT: Changes to the way UEA Online Training Series is booked

The banner for the UEA: University of East Anglia online training series, showing UEA university buildings and university logo.

The UEA Online Training Series, run by Dr Simon Watts, is open to all doctoral researchers at Sussex.

Due to exceptionally high competition for places, all sessions between 17 November and 26 January will be opened for bookings NEXT MONDAY 26 OCTOBER at 12 NOON.

Please remember that these workshops are repeated throughout the academic year. If you aren’t able to secure a place, there will be the opportunity to do so in the spring, and further dates are being added as demand dictates.

Please also be mindful of how useful each workshop is to your development at this point – it’s tempting to grab hold of every training opportunity going, but there is little value in attending a workshop on career prospects or academic publishing, for example, if you’ve just started your PhD!

The research methods modules and workshops on writing research proposals and securing a first academic post are also running exclusively for Sussex researchers; see the listings on the RDP website to book onto those.

If you’re still struggling to access a particular workshop, session recordings can be requested through the Training Series website as a last resort, and this is a great alternative for those who can’t book the live sessions. They will be delivered to you at three points throughout the year, see the website for further information.

RDP course: Using reference management tools to help your research

Orange banner reading 'managing references'.

Your PhD is probably the biggest piece of research you’ve undertaken so far, and juggling numerous references to articles and other resources can quickly get out of hand. It’s also a pain to have to write out and format your citations and bibliographies manually. Luckily, there’s an app for that!

Reference management tools enable you to create a personal database of references relevant to your work. These tools can help you gather bibliographic data from a range of sources, organise and manage this data, cite references in your writing and generate bibliographies automatically.

There are a number of software options available, and choosing the right tool for you will depend on your personal preferences and technical requirements. The Library is providing training on three different reference management tools this month: Zotero, Mendeley and Endnote.

Take a look at the Using Reference Management Tools self-guided course, and follow the materials to learn about reference management, explore the software and choose the one that suits your needs. Then book onto a Library Q&A session if you have any queries or need further support.

Course structure:

  • Step 1: Watch this 30-minute introductory video which will outline what reference management software does and the tools that are available.
  • Step 2: Choose which software option you want to explore – there are online tutorials for Zotero, Mendeley and Endnote.
  • Step 3: Follow the tutorial, and practice adding, managing and citing different types of materials to get a feel for the functionality.
  • Step 4: Sign up for a live Q&A if you get stuck or have any specific questions – these aren’t training sessions, but an opportunity for hands-on troubleshooting from one of the Library team. There are Q&As for Mendeley (26 Oct), Endnote (29 Oct) and Zotero (3 Nov).

Get involved in Union decision-making and give doctoral researchers a voice – PGR Part Time Officer

This year, the Students’ Union has introduced the new role of PGR Part Time Officer to ensure that research students have a voice in the decisions that affect them.

Part Time Officers are part of the Executive team at the Union and play a key role in decision-making and influencing the University. 

Do you want to represent your fellow postgraduate students and help to improve the PhD experience? You have until 9am on 26 October to nominate yourself via the USSU website.

This role can be shared between two researchers. Any questions, contact

Voting will happen from 26 to 30 October 2020, see the USSU website for further details.

Open Access Week 2020, 19-25 October: Explore open publishing and data practices and how they can benefit your research

Open Access Week 2020 logo. The theme of the week is Open with Purpose: Taking action to build structural equity and inclusion.

Open Access Week is an annual global event broadening awareness and understanding of open access to scholarly research results and celebrating open access to data, publications and more. This year’s theme is Open with Purpose: Taking action to build structural equity and inclusion.

The Library is hosting a series of events next week examining the current state of open access in academia, introducing you to some of the key concepts, and demonstrating practical ways you can open up your research, raise your profile and contribute to a more diverse culture of knowledge.

See the Library’s Open Access Week webpage for further details and to book your place on any of the week’s events.

  • Braving the Elements: weathering changes to your Sussex profile and research outputs
    Monday 19th October, 10.00 – 11.00
    Developing your online profile will increase the visibility of your work, expand the reach of your research and help to facilitate collaboration. This session will introduce you to Elements and share some tips to help you get started.
  • Making your research data available to support your publication
    Monday 19th October, 14.00 – 15.00
    Many journals now ask for research data to be made openly available to support publications. This session will explore options open to researchers to do this effectively.
  • Using open access resources for study [open to all students]
    Tuesday 20th October, 11.00 – 12.00
    This workshop will introduce you to some tools to help you discover scholarly publications and resources that are freely available to all, and look at techniques for evaluating materials that you find online.
  • How do funders and researchers work with open data?
    Thursday 22nd October, 13.00 – 14.00
    Prof Rachel Thomson will talk about developing collaborative approaches to archiving, sharing and reusing qualitative social research with the Everyday Childhoods collection and Reanimating Data project; Dr Sonya Towers (Wellcome) will explore how Wellcome supports researchers to maximise the impact of their research outputs; and Suzanne Tatham will give a brief update on the work of Sussex’s DORA Task and Finish Group.
  • Open Access Week Wikipedia Editathon
    Friday 23rd October, 10.00 – 12.00
    Celebrate and share your research expertise and contribute to the creation and dissemination of open knowledge. This workshop is for anyone interested in learning how to improve diversity by developing Wikipedia pages on notable women, LGBTQ+ and BAME professionals. No prior experience of web editing required.

MeCCSA Postgraduate Network survey – what training do you want to see?

The Postgraduate Network of the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA) is surveying doctoral researchers to find out what training events would be useful in the 2020-21 academic year.

If your research covers any of these areas, including sociology and anthropology, take the survey now.

For more information about MeCCSA’s Postgraduate Network see the MeCCSA website, follow them on Twitter @MeCCSAPGN or join the MeCCSA PGN Facebook community.

New personal development modules to help you navigate everyday working relationships

A transfeminine executive meeting with a non-binary employee. Source: The Gender Spectrum

Two new personal development modules have been opened to doctoral researchers for the first time. Designed by Organisational Development, and mandatory for all staff at the University of Sussex, they will help you navigate everyday working relationships, and promote dignity and respect for all. 

Unconscious biases are not under our conscious control, and can adversely affect key decisions we make. The Unconscious Bias module will enable you to work towards reducing the effects for yourself and within your organisation.

The Diversity in the Workplace module is intended to introduce you to the university’s approach to equality, diversity and inclusion, and to encourage you to promote diversity in everything you do.

These courses are self-led, meaning you can work your way through them at a time and location that suits you. Access them on the Researcher Development Online Canvas site, the new home for RDP training videos and online resources.

Call for papers: ‘Legal Implications in the Digital World’ Law and Technology Conference, 8 December

A graphic logo for the Law and Technology conference showing a judge's gavel made of faceted glass breaking apart.

A University of Sheffield doctoral researcher is hosting a half-day conference on 8 December around law and digital technology.

The rise of technology has often outpaced the law, posing new challenges to the development of legal rules. In a world where interconnectedness is more prevalent than ever before, regulating the environment within which many of us operate is essential.

This conference seeks to explore current and new legal implications in the digital world and the ways in which the law responds to rapid technological changes that are developing every day.

Abstracts (250-300 words) and expressions of interest should be emailed to and Deadline for submissions is 20 November 2020.

See Eventbrite to register to attend the conference, and follow @LawSheffield on Twitter for updates.

Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellowship for women studying aerospace engineering or space sciences

Since 1938, Zonta International’s Amelia Earhart Fellowships have been encouraging and supporting women to expand their horizons by pursuing degrees and careers in aerospace engineering and space sciences. It is anticipated that 35 Fellowships of US$10,000 each will be awarded in 2021.

Women of any nationality pursuing a full-time PhD who demonstrate a superior academic record and who are conducting research applied to aerospace engineering or space sciences are eligible.

Applicants must have completed at least one year of their PhD or have received a Masters degree in an aerospace-applied field at the time the application is submitted. Applicants must not graduate from their PhD before April 2022. Post-doctoral research programmes are not eligible for the Fellowship.

See the Zonta International website for detailed eligibility requirements and to apply. The deadline for applications is 15 November 2020.

‘Stay true to your own instincts’: We catch up with Halldor Ulfarsson, one of the winners of this year’s Adam Weiler Impact Award

A headshot of Adam Weiler award winner Halldor Ulfarsson.

The annual Adam Weiler Award goes to a doctoral researcher who shows the potential to achieve outstanding impact in their chosen field, the result of a generous donation from the family of a former Sussex student. This year, the prize was split between Halldor and Sunayana Bhargava (MPS). An interview with Sunayana will follow next month.

> Tell us a little about your research.
My research is practice based and very much rooted in the work I have been doing with my project the halldorophone, an electro-acoustic string instrument I have been developing for a few years. My contribution will be to the field of innovation in musical instrument design and can perhaps be summarized so: “instrument making is culture making” as a new instrument implies a new kind of music making so you kind of have to be out there finding people who are up for making music in new ways and nurturing those relationships.

> What impact do you hope your research will achieve?
Perhaps that, sharing my perspective and approach will demonstrate that one does not have to be an insider to contribute to a field (I have no musical training) but rather that a flexibility and sensitivity to the conversation one has in creative collaborations can be fertile ground for discovery.

> How will the prize money help you?
I am building my workshop at the moment and it went towards an expensive and crucial tool.

> Tell us about your journey to the PhD, and what keeps you motivated.
The research and conversation with my supervisors has been good in surprising ways. The work I do (design, fabrication and evaluation of the instrument with musician collaborators) is its own language and transposing those thoughts and intentions to the language of academic reflection (contextualisation within the field and broader trends in scientific method) is fortifying in ways I could not have foreseen. It is hard to describe but, perhaps the following is true: that once the elements of how this project came together have become abstracted during the period of research it is easier to move those elements around and consequently, experiment and evaluate them more critically. All of which is stimulating and invigorating. 

> What advice would you offer to new doctoral researchers starting out?
Stay true to your own instincts. Especially at the beginning when examining the state of the art and you are trying to imbue the massive amount of data that makes up your field it can be overwhelming and you feel like you know nothing. But every new pair of eyes and fresh mind has the potential to see something which has not been seen before, so being alive to your own perspective, arguably, can be your most important asset when contributing something meaningful to the field you have been invited to do research within. 

> There is life outside the PhD! What do you do away from your research?
At the moment I lift weights and swim in the Aegean.

> What’s next for you, in your work or otherwise?
I am building myself a workshop for the first time. After that is done I will build myself a home. Both feel exceedingly satisfying.

Call for papers: Culture, Things, and Empire virtual seminar series

Logo for Culture, Things, and Empire seminar series.

The call for papers is now open for the interdisciplinary AHRC Midlands4Cities-funded virtual seminar series Culture, Things, and Empire, organised by two PhD researchers at the universities of Leicester and Birmingham.

Between November 2020 and April 2021 they will be hosting five online Zoom seminars (20-minute papers and 40 minutes of discussion) and one masterclass for all registered participants, on themes such as race, gender, class, and materiality in the fields of imperial, colonial and global studies.

Deadline for abstracts: 19 October 2020, 17.00. 

For more details see the Culture Things Empire WordPress blog and follow them on Twitter @CTEseminars. If you have questions about the call for papers email 

Registration to attend the seminars will open on the blog soon.