Five Reasons to Visit the Festival of Doctoral Research


With just over a month to go, we’ve listed the top five reasons to come along to our very first Festival of Doctoral Research, running from Tuesday 26 to Thursday 28 June. There’s something for everyone, so take a look at the list below, and visit our webpages for more details.

#1 – It’s a chance to meet other doctoral researchers

Doctoral researchers are lovely. It’s a fact. You’re kind, intelligent people, on a mission to make the world a better place. So what could be better than spending three sunny days in June in their company?

You could come along to our ‘Living Library’ and check out a ‘Living Book’ in the form of a doctoral researcher. Take them for a coffee and they’ll tell you all about their research journey. Each of our books has a unique story to tell, and you can ask them any questions you have in a casual, relaxed setting. Alternatively, visit PubhD and you’ll hear other doctoral researchers explain their research at ‘pub-level’ – free of academic jargon and accessible to a non-specialist audience. These are both great opportunities to spend time with other researchers and hear about the exciting work happening at Sussex.




#2 – It’s about community

Sussex boasts an incredible research environment, made up of a diverse group of researchers from all over the world. Each doctoral researcher adds their own unique contribution to this community, and we think that should be celebrated, and that’s why we’ve chosen events especially designed to show the rest of Sussex the fantastic things our researchers are achieving.

Why not come along to our Public Engagement Pop-Up? We’ve invited some of the doctoral and early career researchers who received funding through our Public Engagement fund to take part in an exhibition showcasing some of the tricks they developed to inspire the public. These activities are designed to get people excited, so there’s no way you’ll be bored. Or, why not book a place on our Three Minute Thesis competition and watch a group of courageous doctoral researcher to compress their 80,000 word thesis into an engaging three-minute presentation – in front of a live audience and judging panel!




#3 – We’ll be asking some serious questions:

The Festival isn’t just a time for celebration – it’s a time to reflect on the qualities we most admire about our doctoral community, and ask how we can each work, as individuals, to protect these qualities. In this spirit of inquiry, our opening talks will address one of the most pressing issues facing current and future researchers: mental health.

On Tuesday 26th June, we’ll be hearing from three speakers – Dr Fiona Denney (Director of Brunel Educational Excellence Centre), Dr Jeremy Niven (Project Lead for ‘Understanding the Mental Health of Doctoral Researchers’) and Josh Hutton (doctoral researcher – Science and Technology Studies) – who are focussed on moving the  mental health agenda for doctoral researchers from reactive to pro-active, and working on initiatives to support our doctoral communities to thrive and succeed. Taking both a national and a local perspective, these speakers will tell us how we can best maintain our own wellbeing, as well as that of those around us.

 #4 – It’s a visual feast:

One of the highlight’s of this year’s Festival promises to be our Research Image Competition exhibition. We asked Sussex’s doctoral researchers to send us an image perfectly capturing the scope and excitement of their research, and they didn’t disappoint! We’ll be shortlisting the very best images soon, and displaying them in a special exhibition in the ACCA’s Gardner Tower. Come along, see them for yourself, and vote for your favourite!

RIC photographer.jpg
Come along on Thursday 28th June to see the shortlisted images from our Research Image Competition.

#5 – It’s an actual feast!

Once we’ve given you some food for thought, it’s likely your thoughts might be turning to food. Well, don’t worry – we’re holding a big, sunny summer BBQ to celebrate the end of the Festival, and to say a big thank you to everyone who came along and made it so special. All researchers who register in advance will receive a voucher for the BBQ and one drink. There’s beef and vegan burgers and this year we’ve even got chips.

If that’s whetted your appetite, take a look at our web-pages for the full programme. If you’d like to contribute to the Festival, contact