Business Boost 2020: Calling all social sciences researchers – survey on business engagement

SeNSS have launched an online survey of doctoral and early career researchers in the Social Sciences, with the hope of identifying opportunities to support researchers working with business, and increase business engagement.

The data they collect will not only inform decisions regarding the provision of the Business Boost programme – including here at Sussex – but also any future SeNSS training provision for PGRs. The survey closes on 11 July.

Sussex’s own ESRC IAA / SeNSS funded Business Boost 2020 programme is designed to help doctoral and early career researchers to develop and enhance their skills in engagement with businesses. Funding is available to people who are seeking to develop new relationships with industry, or continue established links.

The scheme supports two funding streams – six-month residencies at The Fusebox in Brighton, and a Business Engagement Fund offering up to £1,000 to support engagement activities.

For more information contact Mary Harris, ESRC IAA Administrative Assistant (m.f.harris@sussex.ac.uk), or Nora Davies, ESRC IAA External Partnerships Manager (n.davies@sussex.ac.uk).

So, you’re finishing your PhD in a pandemic… what’s next? – lecture with the Thesis Whisperer (15th July)

Wednesday 15th July, 09.30 – 10.30 (Online)

Graduates in gowns throwing their caps into the air.

Sussex Research Hive are thrilled to announce that renowned Thesis Whisperer Dr Inger Mewburn is ‘coming’ to Sussex to give a virtual lecture, with a Q&A session, to doctoral and early career researchers about careers in light of Covid-19.

In this lecture, Inger will use her team’s research on the post-PhD job market to:

  • Enhance your understanding of the changed academic job market, analysing the effects of hiring freezes and travel restrictions.
  • Increase awareness of career opportunities in industry; which sectors are looking for research talent?
  • Help you approach the non-academic job market with more confidence.

You can read more about the event on the Hive Scholars’ blogpost, and book a place through Sussex Direct.

A poster for the event titled So, you're finishing your PhD in a Pandemic... What next?

UCL / openDemocracy competition: What is your view of the world after COVID?

Promotional banner for the Visions of a world after Covid-19 competition, showing a beautiful hand-drawn image of the coronavirus. Artwork courtesy of David S Goodsell and the RCSB PDB.
Source: openDemocracy

What might democracy look like as countries emerge from lockdown? How will our societies and cultures respond to this global crisis and its aftermath?

UCL and openDemocracy are teaming up to invite school and university students to have a say in how the world should look after coronavirus. They want to find and shout about the best ideas from the next generation for what should come next. They’re looking for images, short videos and written entries, and the judging panel includes academics across a wide range of subject areas and world-class institutions.

The competition is open to mature and postgraduate students, and the grand prize includes a bespoke training opportunity with either openDemocracy or UCL that may take the form of a mini-fellowship, work experience, or placement in line with the winner’s area of interest. All winners and runners-up will receive a personal mentoring/career advice session with one of the expert judges and their entries will be published on openDemocracy’s website.

The deadline is 10 July 2020. See the openDemocracy World After Covid website for further details and to enter the competition.

TOMORROW – two careers workshops on postdoc fellowships and looking beyond academia

The Research Staff Office has opened two workshops to doctoral researchers tomorrow, Tuesday 23rd June, looking at post-PhD careers options and proactive steps you can take to reach your career goals inside or outside academia. Both sessions will be taught by Joanne Young from the Scientific Editing Company.

Careers beyond research – applying your skills outside academia
10.30 – 13.30, on Zoom
Book your place
Not everyone chooses to climb the academic ladder. During their career, researchers develop a number of skills that they can utilise in a variety of other positions, whether these are related to their research or not. A key component to finding a job outside academia is presenting yourself well at interviews, highlighting your skills and explaining your academic experience in a way that appeals to certain employers. This workshop aims to highlight a number of these careers and to explore what particular options might be compatible with individuals. 

Attracting your own research funding – writing & applying for fellowships
14.00 – 17.00, on Zoom
Book your place
A career in research is exciting, but it is a highly competitive environment and researchers from all over the world aspire to reach the top of the profession. If you are aiming for a career in research it is crucial to publish regularly, be independent and attract your own funding. You can start to do this early in your research career: if you are awarded a postdoctoral fellowship, not only will you stand out from the crowd, but you will demonstrate that you can propose innovative projects that attract research funding – this is a key requirement for a successful academic career.

NEW! Festival of Doctoral Research: Daily Check-Ins, Yoga, PhD Crafternoon and more

Since our Festival blogpost last week, we are pleased to announce six new events have been added to the Festival line-up. The latest additions bring even more fun and variety – from yoga to crafts, viva soundtracks to publications, there will be something for everyone!

On top of all of this, kicking off each day will be a check-in blogpost and Twitter chat looking at how doctoral researchers have been coping throughout lockdown. Find out more about the events and how to get involved below.

A banner with writing: Festival of Doctoral Research #SussexDocFest

Daily Check-Ins and Lockdown Tips
(Doctoral Connections blog each morning at 9.30, followed by discussion on Twitter)
Every morning of the Festival we’ll be checking in with you on Twitter @SussexDocSchool and chatting about ways you’re looking after yourself during lockdown. We will be posting mini interview blogs with researchers, who will share what has helped them throughout the lockdown/Covid-19 period. Then join the discussion on Twitter and add your own tips and resources! The themes for each day are:

  • Monday – Working from home and productivity
  • Tuesday – Games and hobbies
  • Wednesday – Exercise and physical activities
  • Thursday – Media and entertainment
  • Friday – Creativity: arts and crafts

Yoga session with Gratia from Sussexsport 
(Wednesday 17th June, 12.30 – 13.30) Book a place
Based on flowing sequences and precise alignment, linked to full rhythmic breathing that will open up both body and mind. This class will improve your strength, stamina and flexibility.

PhD Crafternoon 
(Friday 19th June, 17.00 – 19.00) Book a place
This Online Crafternoon will include whatever crafty activity you’d like to spend an hour or so doing – you can doodle, sketch, paint, sew, colour, or even collage if you have some scissors, old magazines and glue lying around. Take a creative break from your research and cultivate a space to delve into something immersive and relaxing. You could create something about how lockdown has been for you, something that represents or speaks to your research, or something completely unrelated.

Viva Survivor Soundtrack!
(online, throughout the week)
In the era of the online viva, where PhD candidates are unable to celebrate with their examiners and support networks in person, the Library have put together a crowd-sourced Spotify playlist of songs that have helped Sussex graduates get through their vivas and celebrate their doctoral achievements. Join the conversation on social media @SussexResHive and add your recommendations to the playlist by tagging #VivaSoundtrack #VivaSurvivor.

PGR Publications
(online, throughout the week)
Throughout the Festival, the Library will be tweeting a thread of articles published by Sussex PhD candidates over the past twelve months. Check out @SussexLibrary and the hashtag #SussexDocFest. If it inspires you to write but you don’t know where to start, the Library will be compiling resources to help you get into academic publishing (further details to follow).

Quick Query Drop-in Career Advice
(Tuesday 16th June and Thursday 18th June, 16.00 – 17.00)
Drop in for a chat with careers consultant Sarah Coleman about any careers-related questions you have. Bookings will open this Thursday 11th June, so make a note to check the Festival website listing for a link to sign up!

Festival spotlight on… Finishing Your Doctorate panel discussions (Tuesday 16th June)

We are very excited to be holding our first ever panel discussions on Finishing Your Doctorate, one each for Arts and HumanitiesSciences, and Social Sciences.

The discussions are designed for the middle to late stages of a PhD and will be taking place on Tuesday 16th June (11.00 – 12.30), as part of the Festival of Doctoral Research (15th – 19th June).

Owing to the success of the Starting your Doctorate panel discussions that we hold during Induction for new researchers, we wanted to replicate the opportunity for later-stage PGRs. It will be a chance to raise your queries and engage in discussion with Directors of Doctoral Studies and late-stage/finished researchers from your field, who will provide insights into what to expect and how they dealt with issues such as:

  • Research collection
  • Conducting field research and travelling
  • Undertaking data analysis
  • Writing and editing
  • Receiving feedback
  • Preparing for the Viva process
  • Life after the PhD

If you have any specific questions/topics in mind that you’d like answered in the discussions, please email researcher-development@sussex.ac.uk (subject: panel discussion).

You can get involved in the discussion by signing up through the Sussex Direct booking link for your discipline area: 

We look forward to seeing you there!

Festival spotlight on… workshops

A promotional image for the Festival of Doctoral Research #SussexDocFest.

The Festival of Doctoral Research is a chance to showcase the variety of Researcher Development training we provide to help PhD students at Sussex gain essential study skills and prepare for the future.

With contributions from the university’s Library, Careers and Research Ethics & Integrity teams, a mental health and wellbeing workshop from Dr Sophie Valeix, and webinars from the UEA Online Training Series and the Brilliant Club, the festival schedule gives a real flavour of what the Doctoral School has to offer. If you’ve not attended any RDP sessions before, now is the time to dip your toe in!

Check out the Festival webpage for the full programme of events, and take a look at the RDP listings for our regular schedule of training workshops, which are being delivered virtually over the summer.

Monday 15th June

  • 10.00 – 12.00: Preparing Impactful Research Proposals (UEA) 
    This session will consider the writing of effective research proposals and the best ways to create a compelling ‘case for support’ that will clearly deliver on the stated research aims.
    Book a place
  • 14.00 – 15.00: The Scholars Programme
    The Brilliant Club’s Scholars Programme provides paid roles to PhD researchers tutoring in schools. Siri Minsaas, the programme officer, will be joined by Isilay Taban, a Law PGR at Sussex and a Scholars Programme tutor. 
    Book a place

Tuesday 16th June

  • 14.00 – 15.30: Introduction to Open Access Publishing (Library)
    Explore the rationale for Open Access practices, the current state of the field, how to establish new journals, and researcher/publisher funding opportunities, particularly in light of ‘author-pays’ models.
    Book a place

Wednesday 17th June

  • 11.00 – 12.30: Networking and LinkedIn (Careers)
    Discover how building networks and using LinkedIn effectively can help you develop your research profile and build your future career.
    Book a place

Thursday 18th June

  • 14.00 – 16.00: Looking After Yourself During the PhD
    This workshop examines the mental health and wellbeing challenges linked with doing a PhD and provides tools to manage those challenges and maintain good mental health, as well as to cope with mental health difficulties. Learn about the support that is available, identify your triggers, and reflect on self-care strategies that work for you.
    Book a place

Friday 19th June

  • 11.00 – 12.00: Ethical Review: what it means to you and your research
    Lauren Shukru and Tim Parkinson from the Science & Technology and Social Sciences & Arts Cross-School Research Ethics Committees will be presenting a quick overview of the university ethical review process, and offering you an opportunity to ask questions.
    Book a place

Festival of Doctoral Research, 15th – 19th June 2020

The Festival of Doctoral Research is back! Just because we are not able to meet in person isn’t going to stop us from our annual celebration of doctoral research at Sussex.

Taking place over five days (Monday 15th – Friday 19th June), the doctoral community will come together for a range of events, workshops, and competitions, with plenty of opportunities to get involved. We will be providing updates and adding more events over the next few weeks, so stay tuned to the Festival Homepage and on Twitter #SussexDocFest.

Here’s a round up of what’s on offer throughout the festival so far.


The Three Minute Thesis event takes centre stage on Wednesday 17th June when doctoral researchers will take to the (remote) stage to present their research in just three minutes! This year’s participants are from varied fields, and will be vying to win the first-place £500 towards research and a place in the Vitae UK semi-finalsSign up to the event to tune in remotely, to learn about the amazing richness and breadth of doctoral research at Sussex, and to vote for your favourite for the People’s Choice Award!

While you’re waiting for the 3MT final check out a summary of the 2019 competition and also an interview with Noora Nevala, last year’s winner, who shares her 3MT journey. She discusses what she learned from training and preparing for the final, the skills she developed, and her top tips for this year’s participants.

A black woman wearing a Pride t-shirt sits on the street in Cuba. She has a pride rainbow in the shape of Cuba painted on her neck and is looking directly at the camera. Research Image Competition 2019 winning photograph, by Evie Browne.
Photograph by Evie Browne – 1st Prize, Research Image Competition 2019

We are excited to take a deeper look into Sussex research through the Research Image and Research Poster competitions. Doctoral researchers from all years and disciplines are invited to submit an image or poster to offer a visual perspective on their research.

Entering is quick and easy, so get your Image or Poster applications in by Friday 5th June to take part! You can look through the 2018 and 2019 shortlisted entries for any needed inspiration. All 2020 shortlisted entries will be showcased throughout the festival for people to view and to vote for their favourite, and the winners will be announced on Wednesday afternoon as part of the prize-giving ceremony alongside 3MT.

On Tuesday 16th, we will be holding our first ever panel discussions on Finishing the Doctorate, one each for Arts and Humanities, Sciences, and Social Sciences. Raise your queries and engage in discussion with Directors of Doctoral Studies and late-stage/finished researchers from your field, who will provide insights into what to expect and how they dealt with issues such as conducting field research, undertaking data analysis, and the Viva process.

There will be a variety of webinars and workshops for you to engage with and learn from. The sessions cover topics on mental health and wellbeing, networking, preparing research proposals, and much more:

The Library team is bringing a brand new event to the Festival in the shape of the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon. This event is for anyone who is interested in learning how to improve diversity on Wikipedia by developing pages on notable women, LGBTQ+ and BAME professionals and underrepresented issues missing from the free and open encyclopedia. Book your place to contribute to the creation and dissemination of open knowledge, and help to address under-representation and bias. If you’d like to find out more, you can check out what’s involved in an Edit-a-thon, and read about the value of being a Wiki scientist and why we need more women in Wikipedia.

Poster for Sussex Research Hive Doctoral Researchers' Quaran-Time Capsule project.

There will be plenty of fun taking place on Twitter under the hashtag #SussexDocFest, including the Research Hive’s #QuaranTimeCapsule which invites you to share the photos which have represented your lockdown PhD experiences.

Poster for the Sussex Research Hive Quiz Evening on Thursday 18th June.

On Thursday 18th June, put your general knowledge to the test and be in with a chance of winning vouchers at the Hive Scholars’ Quiz Evening.

And for even more light-hearted amusement, book your place for Games Night on Tuesday 16th. There will be fun, laughter, and, of course, Cards against Humanity.

Poster for the PhD Game Night on Tuesday 16th June. A dice with arms, legs and a superhero cape points at a laptop screen and says, 'Go Play!'.

Remember to stay tuned to the Festival homepage and on Twitter #SussexDocFest for more fun and updates over the next few weeks!

The Brilliant Club – Tutoring recruitment webinar (Wednesday 27th May)

The Brilliant Club is hosting a recruitment webinar on Wednesday 27th May, designed for doctoral and post-doctoral researchers to find out more about their Scholars Programme. Through the scheme, researchers are recruited and trained to deliver programmes of university-style teaching to pupils in schools that serve under-represented communities.

Why Become a Scholars Programme PhD Tutor?

  • Support local pupils from under-represented backgrounds to access university
  • Get expert training and real experience to develop your teaching and other transferable skills
  • Earn £500 per placement plus an additional £100 for designing a new course, and travel expenses
  • Disseminate your research to small groups of school pupils
  • Join a nationwide community of like-minded researchers making a huge impact on university access

Tutors are supported by a training programme, including sessions on tutorial pedagogy, assessment and designing a course handbook. Each Scholars Programme placement then begins with tutors accompanying their pupils on a university trip, followed by six further tutorials in their school. At the end of the programme pupils submit an assignment which is marked by their tutor.

You can find out more about The Brilliant Club and the tutoring opportunity and sign up for an information webinar on their website. To apply to work as a PhD tutor complete the application form. Successful applicants can select which terms they would like to work as a tutor in, and whether they would like to deliver multiple placements.

If you have any queries you can email The Brilliant Club at apply@thebrilliantclub.org.

Looking for a full-time position?

If you’re keen on working with young people and feel passionate about our charity’s aims, you can apply to our sister programme, Researchers in Schools. RIS is a full-time route into teaching for PhDs that incorporates elements from The Scholars Programme, along with a host of other features designed to get the most from your research skill set.

For more information on RIS, including funding and benefits, contact us on apply@researchersinschools.org or visit www.researchersinschools.org.

New Careers Workshop: Boosting your career skills from home (29th April)

Wednesday 29th April, 13.00 – 13.30 (Online)

The Careers and Employability Centre (CEC) has announced a new session next Wednesday 29th April, exploring how you can continue to enhance your career skills remotely. Top tips will be shared on how to explore your options, develop your commercial awareness and how to be active online.

If you are nearing the end of your PhD you may be concerned for the future, but remember the skills and experience that you gain during this uncertain time can be added to your CV and discussed with any future employers.

You can sign up to the session here via Sussex Direct and will receive a weblink for the event the day before.

This is the latest remote workshop from the CEC series for doctoral researchers, including: