Winter break

Season’s greetings!

It was great to see so many of you at the Doctoral School Festive Event last week. We hope you found the event a timely opportunity to take a couple of hours out from your research and socialise with other doctoral researchers from across campus.

We’d like to thank Veronica and Ketan from the Sussex Research Hive for hosting the quiz, and say well done to the winning pub quiz team ‘Beauty and the Yeast’.

Quizmasters Veronica and Ketan

We hope that over the festive period you’ll find some time to take a well-deserved break, whether you’re staying on campus or travelling further afield this winter. For those of you staying in Brighton, the 2017 Christmas Guide developed by the International Student Support Office provides details of a wide variety of events taking place both on campus and in the local area, many of which cater specifically for students and families. You can also find details of closures, and amended opening hours for services across campus during the winter vacation here.

Before taking a break of any length, we recommend planning what you intend to do on your return. It can take a while to remember exactly where you were in your research, so making some notes beforehand will help you to quickly get back in the swing of things. See our website designed for new researchers (but useful for all!) for more on planning and managing your doctorate.

We hope you can enjoy a well-earned break, and we’ll be back in touch in the New Year.

The Doctoral School


Research Mentor Opportunity

Widening Participation are setting up a project called Access Your Future which aims to teach research methods to young people, typically Y12 A level / EPQ students, in areas with low progression to higher education –  see below for a (paid) opportunity to become a research mentor:

The young people will be taught research methods and will research why people in their communities are less likely to go to university.  The aims of the project are to:

  1. Develop a sense of agency in young people from areas which have low progression to higher education, giving a voice to the subjects of widening participation work
  2. Develop research skills in these young people, to support their current studies, enhance their UCAS applications and prepare them better for university
  3. Use, with permission, their findings in a wider report to inform the development of widening participation practice

The project is funded by the Sussex Learning Network National Collaborative Outreach Programme (SLN:COP), and is part of a national initiative to encourage more students from low participation areas to progress to university.  This particular project will help students progress, but also try to understand why certain areas traditionally don’t go on to university, and what activity might be more effective.

The evaluation and research team based at SLNCOP are developing a programme of activity which will develop research methods and skills.  We expect this will include aspects such as question and survey design, practice interviews, ethics, critical thinking, reflective analysis, translating results.  We would like to employ research mentors to support the delivery of the project and guide the young people.  Therefore, I am looking for interested students who are undertaking their own research currently, or have done in the past, who would be willing to work in schools and possibly on an e-mentoring platform to share the benefit of their experience and support young people in their learning.

Initially, the project will take the form of five in school workshops, which will be an hour each between February and April, although there is the possibility of more sessions.  There will also be the possibility of e-mentoring and follow up sessions to support UCAS applications. Additionally, we are looking into a final event in which findings are presented to policy makers, and research mentors would be required to attend to support their young people if they decide to participate.  These dates are yet to be decided, as they will be agreed with schools once they are finalised.  It is likely there will be a school each in Crawley, one in West Sussex, one in East Sussex and one in Hailsham.

The pay for this project is £9.43 per hour.  Research mentors would be paid an hours travel to the school, and half an hour each side of the session for set up and debrief (4 hours per session).  If sessions overrun, then additional pay will be made.  Mentors will be paid for attending training sessions and travel costs.  Participation in the project will be dependent on attending a brief interview, training session in January (dates to be confirmed), receiving satisfactory clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and eligibility to work in the UK.  Interested students who would like to register an expression of interest, should email me before 15 December 2017 (

Gino Graziano
Joint Head of Widening Participation
Widening Participation