University secures HEFCE award to support the mental health and wellbeing of doctoral researchers


The Doctoral School are delighted to announce that the University has been successful in securing funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in response to their Catalyst Fund call ‘Supporting mental health and wellbeing for postgraduate research students’. This is one of only 17 bids funded.

The project, which will be formally launched at the Doctoral School’s Festival of Doctoral Research (26–28 June), will focus on prevention and early intervention in relation to the mental health of doctoral researchers at Sussex. The project will deliver a number outputs, including:

A comprehensive suite of training for doctoral researchers, supervisors and relevant professional services staff aimed at identifying and preventing poor mental health in doctoral researchers

Mental health management workshops designed specifically to meet the needs of doctoral researchers

Improved access to local statutory NHS services

Funding to support mental health and wellbeing initiatives proposed by Sussex doctoral researchers

The project will be overseen by Dr Jeremy Niven (School of Life Sciences) with Dr Cassie Hazell (Research Fellow, BSMS) and Dr Clio Berry (Research Fellow, Psychology) leading on the research elements alongside administrative support from the University Counselling Services, and the Doctoral School.

Further information about the Sussex grant will shortly be available via the Doctoral School website.  If you have any queries about the project, please contact Paul Roberts, Assistant Director of the Doctoral School, Research and Enterprise Services Division.

Research Image Competition at Sussex


We are excited to invite our doctoral researchers to take part in our Research Image competition, just one of the events forming part of our Festival of Doctoral Research (Tues 26th-Thurs 28th June 2018)

This is a chance to share your research and provide a visual perspective of your doctoral research- submit an image which informs, engages, and inspires a non-specialist audience

If your image is shortlisted it will be on display at our Festival, and on our web pages after the competition

Your shortlisted image will also be published in the new ‘networks’ edition of the Excursions journal- in a special feature celebrating doctoral networks at Sussex. All those with shortlisted images will  receive a copy of the networks edition, which will be launched during festival week

The winning image will be selected by our judging panel on the basis of aesthetic appeal,  subject matter and technical quality. The overall winner will receive an award of £300 towards their research.

There is also the chance to win the People’s choice award of £150 as voted for by exhibition visitors during the festival week in June.

The deadline for submitting your image is Friday 18th May 2018

Find out more about the competition, and other activities we are planning, via our festival webpages.

External summer school in software and data analysis (bursaries available)

methods@manchester will hold their annual Summer School from 2-6 July and 9-13 July 2018.  Seven courses have so far been announced for the two week event which will provide training in software and data analysis.  The Summer School takes place at the University of Manchester.

Courses announced are:-

A small number of bursaries are available for PGR Students at UK institutions (reducing the cost of a week-long course to £400).  If you would like to apply for a bursary, email for an application form.

Further information about the methods@manchester Summer School 2018 is available on the methods@manchester website

Microgrants for new researchers

microgrants titleGradconsult,  a Sheffield-based specialist in graduate recruitment, learning and development, are running a microgrants programme for the second year, after the success of their 2017 grants.

This is an early-careers funding opportunity for PhD students and early-career researchers. Researchers can apply for up to £2,000 in order to support their research. Gradconsult hopes these microgrants will help engaged and hard-working researchers to kick-start their funding track record.

The key criteria for applicants are:

  • You must have less than 3 years’ experience post-PhD, or currently be working towards your PhD
  • If you have already received a research grant of £1,000 or more (excluding fee waivers/hardship bursaries etc) then you would not be eligible, but if you have had smaller grants that exceed a total value of £1,000, that’s not a problem

Everything you need to know about the microgrants can be found, along with the application, here:


Blogs for academics – 5 great reasons to get involved

Originally posted on the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Blog. Reposted with permission from Dr Anne Hole, TEL Team

Blogs are all around us on the internet and you may sometimes read posts from popular news blogs without necessarily thinking of them as blogs or formally subscribing to them. For anyone involved in teaching and/or learning, however, there is a great deal to gain from engaging with blogs a bit more. This post offers 5 ways in which blogs can help you as a learner, researcher or teacher.

1. Read blogs to connect with and keep up with your discipline.

Reading blogs written by other researchers or related to your area of interest, can be a great way of keeping informed about developments in your discipline and connecting to a community of interest. Blog aggregators such as Feedly or Inoreader allow you to subscribe to many blogs, then see the latest posts in one place, accessible from any of your devices. With a range of different display options and the ability to create categories to organise incoming content, either of these apps will be a great help in keeping up with what is being blogged about in your area of interest. Here is an example of a page in Feedly on an Android phone. You can easily and quickly flip through the headlines until you see something that you want to read.

Most blogs will have a ‘comments’ section where you can get involved in discussion around the topic.

You can find blogs that interest you in a few ways:

  • If you are using Feedly or Inoreader you can use their ‘add content’ search to find blogs on particular topics.
  • Your usual search engine (Google etc.) will usually find a few blogs to get you started.
  • Check whether any professional bodies or journals associated with your discipline have a blog. For example, here is a blog from The Pharmaceutical Journal  and one from the American Philosophical Association.
  • Use Twitter to find blogs that other people are finding interesting. If you follow academics in your field you will see links to any blog posts they have shared on Twitter.

2. Write for a blog to develop ideas for future papers and projects

Writing for a blog is different to writing academic papers for publication. The informal space and style allows you to express your ideas in a different way, which can lead to new ideas. Engagement with readers through comments can also spark new ideas. The episodic nature of a blog also encourages and makes explicit the development of ideas over time.

If you are not ready to launch your own blog, you could try writing for a blog that already exists. The University of Sussex Communications and External Affairs team have put together some guidance on ‘Writing blogs and opinion articles’ which suggests, among other things, that you consider writing for The Conversation, a blog supported by many universities, including Sussex.

3. Promote your research publications through blogging

When you have published work in academic journals, a blog is a great way to promote that work to a wider audience. The less formal style of blog writing also means that it can open up your research to a wider audience. Blogs and other social media, such as Twitter, can also lead to more academics reading your journal articles and citing them (see the LSE Impact Blog post/article Exploring the effects of blogging on published research).

4. Blogs for your students.

Just as reading, commenting on and writing blogs can be beneficial for academics, so these activities can be useful for students. Encouraging learners to engage with blogs from reputable sources within a discipline and offering them the opportunity to share their writing with a wider audience can enhance their learning and develop digital skills for life.

5. Reflective Blogging

A blog can be a great way of reflecting on your learning, research or teaching. This type of blogging is often referred to as Journalling. Some people like to do their reflecting in public and blogs are great for that – but you can also create private posts in most blogging platforms so you can choose what you share with the world. For alternative ways of using digital tools for reflection, see Reflective practice goes digital.

How can I get started?

To follow and read blogs, sign up for Feedly or Inoreader (both free) and begin looking for blogs to follow.

To start your own blog, try WordPress or Blogger. These are both free tools and are suggested in the University of Sussex’s guide to Publicising your work. Sussex also has an in-house blogging platform, SPLASH which allows you to blog from within the university website. It is also possible to set up an institutional Sussex WordPress blog for a department or project – contact the web team to learn more.

These online resources will help you get started with each of the 3 platforms:

Cumberland Lodge Scholarship Scheme for doctoral researchers

Cumberland Lodge Scholarship Scheme for doctoral researchers

Founded in 1947, Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park is home to an educational charity with the vision of more peaceful, open and inclusive societies.

Designed for doctoral students studying in the UK to fit around their university studies, the Cumberland Lodge Scholarship Scheme invites six successful students to take part in the Lodge’s conference programme, which focuses on tackling social divisions through promoting creative thinking and inclusive dialogue.

Scholars will benefit from the experience of engaging in challenging cross-disciplinary discussions and will receive training in communication and public engagement, working collaboratively, and sharing their experiences and research with different audiences.

Scholars will also enjoy Cumberland Lodge’s excellent facilities and receive remuneration for travel expenses. This year’s successful scholars will join the Lodge from September 2018 to September 2020.

What does the Scholarship involve?

Over the two years of the scholarship, scholars will participate in two conferences per year, an annual Scholars’ Retreat in September, and Annual Lecture. Scholars are expected to write a short follow-up piece after each event they attend at the Lodge that can take the form of a blog, journal entry, article or website material. Scholars are also encouraged to engage with the work of the Lodge via social media.

Free food and accommodation will be provided while staying at the Lodge for scholarship activities, and economy rate travel expenses will be covered. Scholars are also eligible to apply for a personal development grant of up to £300, to use in line with the vision and mission of Cumberland Lodge.

Application process

Candidates must be studying for a doctorate at a university in the United Kingdom, and be able to commit to a two year programme. Applicants must be able to demonstrate a commitment to working for ‘the betterment of society’ through their academic research and/or other activities. Applicants must be open to working across disciplines and engaging with a wide range of subject matter.

The call for applications has just opened and the deadline for applications is Friday 30 March 2018. Further information about the scheme and application process can be found at