Call for papers: (Re)Connect, Excursions Journal issue 11.1

The logo for the call for papers for the journal Excursions 11.1 titled (Re)Connect.

To connect is an integral part of the human experience. We are social, connected, beings. The unparalleled events of 2020 have made this even more evident — they have forced us to disconnect from life as we knew it and to (re)connect to history, nature, people, ourselves, and forgotten practices. This has weakened and strengthened our established bonds, while creating new ones. Ultimately, it revealed how dependent we are on our connections.

For their next issue, Excursions Journal invites researchers from all disciplines to (re)connect to the complex relationships between society, nature, things, science, and being human. They seek to assemble a collection of articles that aim to (re)connect, whether as part of a natural phenomenon in an objective reality or a socially-constructed subjective phenomenon. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Theories that explore (re)connections
  • Processes that (re)connect the biological, physical and social world
  • Popular culture and political discourse that examines (re)connection
  • Developments that incite personal or social changes through (re)connecting
  • Research methodology and reflections focusing on (re)connections

Alongside traditional academic articles, Excursions also consider alternative ways of communicating research, such as videos, photo essays, posters, and verse (please contact the editorial staff prior to submission via enquiries@excursions-journal.org.uk).

The deadline for extended abstract submission is 1st October 2020. For further details, including author guidelines and how to submit your work, see the Excursions Journal website.

Work placements: Policy Internship Scheme for UKRI-funded PhD researchers

Are you a UKRI-funded doctoral researcher? The Policy Internships Scheme provides the opportunity for research council-funded PGRs to work for three months with one of a select group of highly influential policy organisations.

The student will be expected to produce at least one briefing paper, participate in a policy inquiry and/or organise a policy event, or equivalent piece of work.

Internships are available with a number of parliamentary departments, government departments and non-governmental bodies, learned societies and other organisations.

The host partners for the 2020/21 competition round include the Committee on Climate Change, the Department for Education, HM Courts & Tribunals Services, the Royal Society, the National Archives, and Public Health England.

The current call for applications closes on 10th September 2020. See the Policy Internships Scheme website for more information, including a full list of participating organisations and eligibility criteria.

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).

Making sense of PhD research – winners of the Research Poster competition

Like the Image competition, the Research Poster Competition is an integral part of the Festival of Doctoral Research, showcasing the variety and impact of PhD research at Sussex. The prize winners for this were also announced on Wednesday following the Three-Minute Thesis final.

This year’s judges included Sussex PhD graduate Dr Shonali Banerjee and Joanna Young (an expert on scientific posters who runs our Posters RDP session). Take a look at all of the excellent entries on the Research Poster webpage.

First place – £300 towards research

Research poster by Norah Alzahrani titled Why Does It Matter Knowing How Journalists Perceive Their Role?
Why Does It Matter Knowing How Journalists Perceive Their Role? Image: Norah Alzahrani

Norah Alzahrani (MFM) was awarded first prize for her poster entitled Why Does It Matter Knowing How Journalists Perceive Their Role? The judges called it an “excellent poster, very comprehensively and nicely presented”.

Joint second place – £150 towards research

Research poster by Meirin Evans titled ATLAS Experiment at CERN.
ATLAS Experiment at CERN. Image: Meirin Evans
Research poster by Ferheen Ayaz titled Blockchain-Enabled Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communications, describing the process of using blockchain technology to enable verification of accident sites and re-routing of vehicles.
Blockchain-Enabled Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communications. Image: Ferheen Ayaz

Second place goes jointly to Meirin Oan Evans (MPS) for a poster on the ATLAS Experiment at CERN, which the judges said was a “great visual poster”; and Ferheen Ayaz (Engineering & Informatics), for her poster on Blockchain-Enabled Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communications, which was “excellent overall, very visually appealing and clear.” Meirin and Ferheen will each receive £150 towards their work.

People’s Choice – £150 towards research

Research poster by Yasser Kosbar titled Challenges Facing Egyptian Women Postgraduates in UK, showing quotes on harrassment, racism, monoculturalism, elitism and Islamophobia over a map of the UK.
Challenges Facing Egyptian Women Postgraduates in UK. Image: Yasser Kosbar

Yasser Kosbar (ESW) was voted People’s Choice by staff and students at Sussex, for a poster titled Challenges Facing Egyptian Women Postgraduates in UK, which the judges described as “visually appealing and beautifully designed”.

Congratulations to all of our winners! Check out the results of the Research Image Competition and the Adam Weiler Doctoral Impact Award, which were also announced on Wednesday, and check back for a full round-up of the Festival next week.

Putting PhD research into focus – Image Competition winners announced

The Research Image Competition is an integral part of the Festival of Doctoral Research, showcasing the sheer variety and global reach of PhD research at Sussex. The prize winners were announced following yesterday’s Three-Minute Thesis final (more on that next week).

The judges, including University photographer Stuart Robinson and Dr Sophie Valeix, were impressed with all of the high quality entries, and it was incredibly hard to pick a top two! You can view all of this year’s excellent images, and the captions that tell the story behind them, on our Research Image webpage.

First place – £200 towards research

A boy kneels down at a concrete block and welds as sparks fly. He is not wearing any protective gear and must keep his eyes closed. Image: Md Mahmudul Hoque
Can we keep our eyes closed? Image: Md Mahmudul Hoque

This year’s winner is Md Mahmudul Hoque (IDS), whose photograph Can we keep our eyes closed? shows a 16-year-old boy working at a welding workshop in Dhaka without even basic safety equipment, his eyes closed to protect them from the welding fireworks. The judges said this entry was a “strong, evocative image”. Md Mahmudul’s research concerns how social protection policies can address the child labour issue in Bangladesh.

Second place – £100 towards research

A crowd of women and children  wearing brightly coloured clothes gather around a white projector screen that is being erected against the wall of a building in a rural village in Mozambique. Image: Karen Boswall
“Sing My Sister, Dance My Sister, Speak My Sister”: local film production and reception in Mozambique. Image: Karen Boswall

Second place goes to CHASE Scholar Karen Boswall (MFM & Global Studies) for her “beautiful and stunning” photograph “Sing My Sister, Dance My Sister, Speak My Sister”: local film production and reception in Mozambique. Her image documents the end of the day in the village of Lipende in northern Mozambique, where films telling musical stories of Mozambican women will be projected onto a screen. Karen’s research is about the making of those films and their reception amongst rural and urban populations.

People’s Choice – £100 towards research

A black and white photograph of Arabic graffiti written on some stacked concrete blocks. The writing reads, “How do we tell the sea that those of us on land are drowning?” Image: Dina Zayed
Grounding Stone: Climate, Publics, and the Politics of Voice. Image: Dina Zayed

Dina Zayed (IDS) won the People’s Choice award, voted for by staff and students, for her “impactful” black and white photograph Grounding Stone: Climate, Publics, and the Politics of Voice. In Egypt, a popular saying to mark frustration is that “even stone was forced to speak.” During fieldwork in Alexandria, Dina found this graffiti on a concrete block erected to protect the city from rising sea levels. It reads, “How do we tell the sea that those of us on land are drowning?” Dina says this question has carried her through her PhD on public participation in climate change decision-making.

We are also thrilled to announce the result of the Adam Weiler Doctoral Impact Award, which this year is split between Sunayana Bhargava (MPS) and Halldor Ulfarsson (MFM). Three researchers – Ali Kassem (LPS), Alison Lacey (Psychology) and Selin Tekin Guven (Psychology) – earned commendations from the judges for work of significant importance. We’ll be following up with Sunayana and Halldor soon.

Congratulations to all of our worthy winners!

VOTING NOW OPEN – Research Image and Poster Competitions (Festival of Doctoral Research 2020)

Cast your vote for the People’s Choice award by 17.00 tomorrow, Tuesday 16th June

A hand placing a vote into a ballot box.

The Research Image and Poster Competition 2020 entries are in! The entries are showcased on the Research Image and Research Poster webpages, and below (for the best viewing experience, open the Sway presentation in full screen and click to enlarge the entries).

Have your say in the People’s Choice award by voting for your favourite image/poster using the Research Image Voting and Research Poster Voting forms (one vote per person, duplicates will be voided). Voting is open to all Sussex students and staff, and closes on Tuesday 16th at 17.00.

The shortlisted images and posters will be exhibited on the webpages throughout the Festival of Doctoral Research this week. The competitions will be judged by a panel drawn from the University’s research community, and the winners will be announced at the prizegiving ceremony on Wednesday 17th June along with the 3MT and Adam Weiler Impact Award, so book your place to attend and find out who has won!


Research Image Competition 2020 Entries:

Research Poster Competition 2020 Entries:

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!

Responsible authorship and getting feedback in publishing – Wiley workshop (3rd June)

The Library, in partnership with the Brighton & Sussex Research Integrity Series, have organised an interactive online workshop on 3rd June (14.00 – 15.30) with international publishers Wiley. It’s open to all but will be of particular interest to doctoral and early career researchers.

Authorship is becoming an increasingly important issue in scholarly communications. Experts from Wiley will discuss how responsible authorship can enable transparency and openness with contributor roles, making sure that you get the credit you deserve for your research. The workshop will also explore the benefits to researchers of adopting open practices with feedback.

Usually, we would be holding our seminars in the Library – in our rather airless top floor meeting space – and providing you with lunch and time to chat. Sadly, there will be no refreshments on offer with this one but Wiley have produced a glossy pdf on ‘Top tips for getting published’ which they will distribute to all attendees.

We are hoping that the online workshop format will provide opportunities for you to see some new and familiar faces and to take advantage of having expert publishers on hand to answer your questions. Please go to our Eventbrite page to book your place.

Suzanne Tatham, Associate Director, University of Sussex Library

SPRU PhD Forum (Thursday 14th & Friday 15th May 2020)

The 26th annual SPRU PhD Forum is going online this year, with presentations live streamed on YouTube over two days. You can access the full schedule below:

Thursday May 14th – live on YouTube: SPRU PhD Forum Day 1
Friday May 15th – live on YouTube: SPRU PhD Forum Day 2

Two further sessions will take place on Zoom – on Thursday afternoon, a workshop on researcher wellness during Covid-19, provided by Sussex Doctoral School; and on Friday afternoon, a panel on academic career development from the ST Global Consortium. If you would like to join, email D.Wemyss@sussex.ac.uk for Zoom links.

Join the LinkedIn group and follow on Twitter for regular updates, and contact sprudoc@gmail.com for further details.

RDP Remote: six additional online workshops confirmed

In addition to the Social Media Bootcamp, we are pleased to confirm six additional remote workshops to the Researcher Development Programme, facilitated by the wonderful Dr. Sarah Robins-Hobden.

The upcoming sessions will address topics such as dealing with stress in the current context, effectively communicating your research, overcoming perfectionism and imposter phenomenon, and freeing up time and attention for your workload.

Stress, Resilience and Strengths: a digital workshop for researchers
In the acceleration of the COVID-19 pandemic you might be facing concurrent challenges of conducting your research from home, tutoring small humans, anxiety over the welfare of family members, a restructuring of your social life, dealing with persistent uncertainty and, it seems, a national shortage of toilet paper. This session could help you manage stress better, focus on your resilience when you need to, and create a greater sense of agency, while acknowledging and working with the very real limitations you might be experiencing.
Tuesday 21st April (10.00 – 12.00) Eventbrite booking link
Thursday 4th June (13.30 – 15.30) Sussex Direct booking link
Tuesday 7th July (13.30 – 15.30) Sussex Direct booking link

Communicating your Research to Non-Specialists (online)
This workshop will provide you with take-away tools to support you in understanding your audiences, choosing what to include and what to leave out, constructing an engaging and meaningful narrative, and how to tailor the detail of your research (and its impact) in accessible language.
Tuesday 5th May (10.30 – 12.00) Sussex Direct booking link

Tools for Handling Perfectionism and Imposter Phenomenon (online)
Experiencing either perfectionism or imposter phenomenon (or both) may mean you put yourself under more pressure to achieve, whilst at the same time you find your stress increases, productivity declines, and confidence becomes undermined. This workshop will provide you with a selection of techniques to manage your thinking and stress levels in a positive way, and to effectively handle perfectionist tendencies and imposter feelings if they arise.
Thursday 28th May (10.30 – 12.00) Sussex Direct booking link

Wrangling Your Workload (two-part online workshop)
Competing priorities, tight time frames and a sense of overwhelm are common in research roles, where researchers are striving for consistently high standards in an increasingly competitive field. In this workshop, we will review a range of strategies to reduce work-related stress in the research environment and empower you to free up time and attention for your own wellbeing.
Monday 22nd and Thursday 25th June (10.30 – 12.30) Sussex Direct booking link
Please note: This is a two-part course taking place on Monday 22nd and Thursday 25th June (10.30 – 12.00 on both days). Participants are required to attend both parts.