New drop-in service for Doctoral Researcher Ethics Applications

  • Does your research involve participants and/or the collection of data?
  • Do you need help with your ethics application?
  • Would you like advice on the ethical issues in your research?

Starting Thursday 20th February, there will be an Ethics Applications drop-in service provided by the Research Ethics, Integrity and Governance department.

The drop-in sessions will take place every second Thursday in the The Hive (Library, top floor) between 14.00-16.00. The upcoming dates are:

  • 20th February
  • 5th March
  • 19th March
  • 2nd April

Email or for more information.

Careers: Make It Happen is back for 2020

Make it Happen with Sussex alumni banner: a week of events, inspiration, advice and networking

Make it Happen is a week of panel events with Sussex alumni from four broad industry sectors, taking place on campus from Monday 24th to Thursday 27th February.

From graduates at the beginning of their journey to CEOs and Directors who have worked their way to the top, speakers will be sharing their experiences and giving valuable insights into working in their industry. Find out how they got into their career, the challenges they have faced and what keeps them motivated.

Events include:

Each panel will include a Q&A, giving you the chance to ask any burning questions you may have, followed by space to chat with the panelists individually – which in the past has led to jobs for some students. Free refreshments are included.

Speakers confirmed so far include:

  • Nkem Ifejika, Documentary and Podcast Maker (Media and Communications)
  • Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP (Government, Public Services and Heritage)
  • Yiheng Yu, Analyst at Deutsche Bank London (Business, Finance and Marketing)
  • Polly Gilbert, Marketing Director at GoodBox Co and co-founder of TAP, London (Business, Finance and Marketing)
  • Nikki Bayliss, Head of Development at Alzheimer’s Disease International (Development, Charities and Not-for-Profit)

You can read Polly’s story and get to know her ahead of the Business, Finance and Marketing event in her Spotlight on: interview.

Additional School-specific evening events will be taking place later in the term, including Careers in Life Sciences on Wednesday 11th March. Check the Make it Happen webpages and the Careers Facebook and Instagram pages for updates.

Call for papers: Sentio Journal – Ethics in Research and Practice

Sentio is a scholarly journal founded and edited by doctoral researchers from the ESRC-funded Doctoral Training Partnership, SeNSS (South East Network for Social Sciences). This peer-reviewed interdisciplinary publication for the social sciences brings together articles, features, and personal reflections on the research process.

The journal organisers invite abstracts from doctoral researchers and scholars for the next issue of Sentio on the theme of ethics in research and practice within and across the different social science disciplines. The call for papers elaborates on possible approaches to this theme, provides details for submissions, and can be viewed on the Sentio Journal website.

The deadline for submissions of abstracts is 4pm (GMT) on 28th February 2020.

If you have any questions please contact

Event: Collage Your PhD (Friday 6th March)

Two students look at a large collage on a gallery wall, made up of smaller individually designed tiles.

Friday 6th March (15:00-17:30), Library Open Learning Space (ground floor)

Isolation is a key factor in mental health difficulties among doctoral researchers, but you are not alone. For Sussex Wellbeing Week, the Research Hive – in collaboration with the Doctoral School and Dr Sophie Valeix from the U-DOC project – invite PGRs to contribute to a giant, collaborative community collage for the Library.

The PhD community is a ‘collage’ of unique individuals and their specialities, personalities, and strengths. We want to represent our diverse community at Sussex by making a tangible collage, so that every time we see it we remember we are not alone, we are part of a beautiful assemblage of minds.

This is an opportunity to connect with each other and feel a sense of belonging through an immersive and accessible activity. Come along on your own to make a quiet creation, or join together for a more social experience. Don’t worry if you don’t see yourself as artistic or creative – you may be surprised at your skills. We aim to show that creative arts, and their benefits, can be enjoyed by anyone!

Tea and coffee will be available, please bring your own reusable cup. Book your place on the event listing page.

More on wellbeing:

  • Looking Out For One Another In the PhD Community is a new workshop giving you the skills, knowledge and confidence to support your peers while also protecting your own mental health, designed in collaboration with Student Minds, the student mental health charity. Date: Wednesday 25th March. Book your place now.

Living and studying safely in Brighton & Hove – workshop

Are you new to Brighton, want to feel safer in your surroundings or know more about the support available to you in the local area?

This free two-hour workshop is designed to help you increase your awareness of your surroundings, maximise your personal safety and know who to go to for help on campus and beyond.

There are two dates available, on Wednesday 19th February (2-4pm) and Thursday 20th February (10am-12 midday).

Book your free place via Eventbrite.

Job Opportunity: REF Impact Case Studies Development

The School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences is looking for PhD researchers to support the development and refinement of their REF Impact Case Studies through the collection of additional evidence (including from German language sources) and re-drafting of existing text.

View the full job and person specifications here.

To apply, please send a statement of no more than 500 words about how you address each of the person specifications to Ian Sillett ( as soon as possible but no later than 14th February 2020.

Researcher Focus: Heidi Cobham

In this month’s installment of Researcher Focus, the Doctoral School speaks to Heidi from the School of History, Art History and Philosophy. Heidi’s research looks at how the philosophical tradition can help us to generate successful loving relationships.

PhD Life

What do you enjoy most about the PhD and why?

Doing the PhD has done a lot for my personal development and given me a lot of great opportunities, including opening many doors. Since starting my PhD, I have attended and presented at conferences and seminars, for example at Cambridge University, Sussex University and King’s College, where I’ve had the opportunity to meet some world-renowned thinkers in my field. My PhD has also allowed me to teach university students, which I am finding so rewarding. In terms of actual PhD’ing, I enjoy the fact that I can spend my time researching and talking about a topic (love) that genuinely interests me. I also enjoy the process of re-reading my work and editing it.

What has been the most difficult element so far?

The most difficult element so far has been combatting imposter syndrome. A PhD is very much ‘independent’ research and at times it has been difficult to trust my ideas without looking for validation from others. Trusting my thought process and my ideas has been very tricky and is something I’m still mastering.

What do you think you do well?

My motivation and dedication do a lot for me, and because of this I am good at taking and making opportunities. I put myself forward to get involved in interesting things, such as the Living Library, the Three Minute Thesis competition (in which I came second!), presenting research papers, and networking.

What piece of advice would you give to others doing a PhD?

Talk to other PhD researchers and attend workshops and events as much as possible. A PhD is renowned for being very isolating and it can feel like you’re the only one experiencing certain difficulties. Yet, whenever I’ve attended workshops and webinars, I’ve always noticed that there are many other people going through the same things. It’s also a great way to network.


What does a typical day look like for you?

When I’m not teaching, you can find me in the library. On the weekends, I’ll be at work, as a kitchen planner at IKEA.

How do you organise work, time, and yourself?

I spend the beginning part of my day in the library finding papers, reading books and working on my thesis. Then, I typically spend my evenings relaxing.

What do you do when you’re stressed?

One thing I do when I’m stressed is write things down. For example, if I have a lot of things to accomplish in a short space of time, I write a to do list. I’ll tackle what is most urgent and then tick things off as I go. This helps me to see just how much I have left, so that what at first seemed overwhelming and stressful no longer appears so daunting.

Beyond the PhD

What additional non-academic things help you?

Prayer, naps, and music help me a lot. I am a believer and prayer helps to keep the focus off myself and on God. Taking a nap is a good way for me to stop focusing on whatever is making me stressed and once I wake up, I’ll hopefully have a different perspective on how to tackle the issue. And music is another way I like to de-stress.

What do you like doing on a day off?

I love to shop, I can shop for hours! I also love going to restaurants, museums, and the theatre. I would like to say I go to the gym, but I don’t (despite still paying for membership!).

What makes you happy?

My family. I still live at home with them and they are my support network. I’m also happy when I have a productive day, i.e. when I know that I have accomplished a lot or what I set out to do for the day.

What piece of advice would you give to someone about life?

Work hard and learn from others who have achieved what you want to achieve. And always thank God along the way!

English Language for Academic Study: improve your Academic English

A member of the ELAS team helps a student with her work

English Language for Academic Study (ELAS), within the Sussex Centre for Language Studies (SCLS), offers workshops which cover aspects of Academic English, including culture and practice (study skills), 1:1 tutorials, and ‘time to write’ sessions. They aim to help students who have English as an additional language to continue to develop their English and to adapt to UK academic study.

It takes a while to improve language skills, so it is a good idea to make time for this alongside your academic studies throughout the academic year. The workshops, tutorials and ‘time to write’ sessions will help you do this in an enjoyable and supportive environment.

These run throughout the academic year in term time. Please see list below.

1:1 Tutorials:
These are offered throughout the year, in both the term and vacation periods. Spend 30 minutes discussing any aspect of your academic work 1:1 with a tutor.

‘Time to Write’ sessions:
These are sessions which allow a quiet time for students to write, with a tutor available for questions. These sessions offer an opportunity to practice aspects of language covered in the workshops.

For further information and to book, see the English Language for Academic Study webpage.


English Language for Academic Study Team

List of workshops, spring term 2020

The process of essay writing
Speaking in academic contexts
Using nominalisation to develop academic style
Signalling nouns and reference words in academic writing
Proofreading, editing and creating concise writing
Punctuation in academic writing
Using participles and participle clauses to develop academic style
Lexical complexity in academic language
Developing academic style and vocabulary
Textual cohesion in academic writing
Relative clauses and noun phrases in academic writing
Using cautious language in academic writing
Paraphrasing, summarising and quoting in academic writing
Structuring your essay: introductions, conclusions and paragraphing

Researcher Development Programme: February 2020

Here’s a round-up of events coming up this February as part of our Researcher Development Programme. Keep an eye out for new sessions being added to our events listing for the Spring term.

Finding Dissertations and Theses for your Research
Tuesday 4th February (11.00 – 12.00), Library Training Room
This session introduces several online tools that can be used to access dissertations & theses from academic institutions within the UK and beyond.
More info and book your place

Becoming an Effective Researcher
Wednesday 5th February (13.00 – 17.00), Jubilee G22
Make a successful start to your doctorate with this practical workshop, designed to prepare you for the journey ahead. You’ll get the opportunity to meet researchers from across the University and build your skills in communication, problem-solving, and time-management.
More info and book your place

Master Your Workload
Wednesday 12th February (13.30 – 16.30), Fulton 101
In this workshop, you will review a range of strategies to reduce work-related stress in the research environment and be empowered to free up time and attention for your own wellbeing.
More info and book your place

Working with your Supervisor: Practical Tips for Optimising the Supervisory Experience
Wednesday 12th February (14.00 – 17.00), Jubilee G22
The supervisory relationship is crucial to the success of your PhD. In this interactive three-hour workshop, you’ll discover practical tips for optimising this relationship, consider common problems and develop strategies for overcoming them.
More info and book your place

Literature Searching with Scopus and Web of Science
Friday 14th February (10.30 – 12.00), Library Training Room
With useful guidance from the Library Research Support team, this workshop will show you how to make the most of these two major resources and develop search techniques that you can transfer to other more subject-specific databases.
More info and book your place

Career Exploration for PhD Researchers
Friday 14th February (10.00 – 11.30), Careers and Employability Centre
Explore the range of options available to you both inside and outside academia after your PhD.
More info and book your place

Using Reference Management Tools – Zotero
Monday 17th February (14.00 – 16.00), Library Training Room
This practical workshop will cover the main features of Zotero, a reference management tool that helps you create a personal database of references and add citations and bibliographies to word processed documents using your chosen citation style.
More info and book your place

Overcoming Perfectionism and Imposter Phenomenon
Tuesday 18th February (13.30 – 16.30), Ashdown 101
In this session you will practice a range of techniques to help you tackle perfectionist tendencies and imposter feelings, unlocking more of your true potential and reducing stress in the process.
More info and book your place

CVs for PhD Researchers
Tuesday 18th February (15.30 – 17.00), Careers and Employability Centre
This session will look at different styles and approaches to help you market your skills effectively, and to produce an excellent CV for jobs or further study.
More info and book your place

Undertaking a Literature Review in the Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences
Wednesday 19th February (14.00 – 17.00), Jubilee G22
The literature review forms a substantial part of your doctoral thesis and is also an ongoing process. Through clear examples, individual exercises, and group discussion, this workshop gets you started with your review. You will also receive guidance from the Library’s Research Support team to help you with your literature searching.
More info and book your place

Using Reference Management Tools – Mendeley
Thursday 20th February (11.00 – 13.00), Library Training Room
This practical workshop will cover the main features of Mendeley, a reference management tool that helps you create a personal database of references and add citations and bibliographies to word processed documents using your chosen citation style.
More info and book your place

Using Reference Management Tools – Endnote
Tuesday 25th February (14.00 – 16.00), Library Training Room
This practical workshop will cover the main features of Endnote, a reference management tool that helps you create a personal database of references and add citations and bibliographies to word processed documents using your chosen citation style.
More info and book your place

Using SPSS to Analyse Research Data – for beginners
Tuesday 25th February (14.00 – 17.00), Jubilee G23
March 3rd March (14.00 – 17.00), Jubilee G23

This two-part practical workshop is ideal for researchers with no previous experience of using SPSS and covers the basics to get you started. Participants must attend both sessions.
More info and book your place

Interviews for PhD Researchers
Tuesday 25th February (15.30 – 17.00), Careers and Employability Centre
Find out how to succeed at interviews for roles inside and outside of academia after your PhD. This session will look at different styles and approaches to help you market your skills effectively.
More info and book your place

Getting Ethical Approval
Wednesday 26th February (14.00 – 17.00), Jubilee G22
This workshop will look at the key principles of undertaking ethical research, and explain how to go about obtaining ethical approval from the University.
More info and book your place

Spring 2020 Researcher-Led Initiative Fund now open

Do you have a bright idea for an activity to enhance your professional skills and benefit your research community?

Open to doctoral and early career researchers at the University of Sussex, the RLI Fund gives you greater input into your support and development needs.

Apply for up to £750 to organise an initiative focusing on:

  • mental health, wellbeing and community among researchers
  • public engagement
  • researcher training and development

Whether you want to host a symposium, set up a journal club, start a social activity or get into podcasting, we want to empower you to turn your ideas into reality.

The deadline for applications is Monday 30th March 2020.

See the RLI Fund website for more information and to apply, and contact us if you have questions or need advice on any aspect of your application.