Research Study in 2021-22

Brighton and Hove beach huts

Updated 12 October 2021

Welcome to the Doctoral College’s Covid-related blog for postgraduate researchers and their supervisors.

University information for all staff and students

In line with government guidance, the University has now moved to a covid-aware approach. This approach includes asking staff and students who are on campus to undertake regular lateral flow tests and report their results online. See the University’s FAQs for students for full details.

Covid restrictions and doctoral study

All students: Please visit the university website for the latest guidance, rules, and details of Covid-19 testing for all University of Brighton students, including PGRs.

Face-to-face data collection: Following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions over the summer of 2021, the University has taken the decision to allow face-to-face data collection for research to resume from September 2021, subject to appropriate risk assessments being undertaken.

For further details, see the University of Brighton statement on guidance for face-to-face data collection for research (September 2021). Please also see the Research Services Ethics Framework page for guidance for doctoral student research.

Research-related travel: Travel overseas and within the UK is permitted. See below for full details.

Travel to and from campus

There are no restrictions on travel in the UK. Please follow the latest government travel guidance on travelling safely.

The following university links may be useful:

  • Public transport: Visit the C-Change public transport page for a range of information including  details of local bus and train links serving Brighton and Eastbourne campuses plus student travel discounts.
  • Free UB1 bus: The University’s free, inter-site shuttle bus runs during term time. It has a tracking app with real-time locations of the bus and onward journey information. Visit the C-Change UB1 page for timetables and full details.
  • Walking and cycling: Please see the Active Travel pages for information on campus facilities to support this mode of transport.
  • Parking: Student parking is free with a valid E-permit and will continue to be free in 2021-22. Please note, e-permits are allocated on the basis of need rather than a first-come-first-served basis and cannot be guaranteed.

University-wide services

  • Student Services: All of the usual student support services are available, both online and through booked face-to-face sessions, with advice and guidance on everything from study skills to managing your money.
  • Wellbeing: You can access wellbeing support, including 24/7 counselling via Togetherall, and speak to your Student Support and Guidance Tutor (SSGT) on any personal issues or anxieties. SSGTs can refer you on to specialist services within the university, including counselling support specifically for doctoral students provided by an experienced psychotherapist. See also our Mental Health and Wellbeing page
  • Brighton Students’ Union: BSU are providing their full range of support services in addition to all of the usual social activities and student societies.
  • Libraries: See the new Library Services page for full details of library services and opening hours.

How will the latest campus arrangements affect doctoral students?

Labs, workshops and studios: Doctoral researchers who require access to labs to undertake their research continue to be permitted access subject to their supervisor’s prior completion of Covid-Secure Risk Assessments and approval by the University Return to Campus Institutional Response Team. Doctoral researchers seeking to access labs, workshops and studios should discuss their access needs with their supervisors who will be able to guide them on next steps.

PGR study areas: PGR study spaces remain open to doctoral students who are unable to work from home, subject to spaces being open, staff support and risk assessments being in place. If you have concerns please raise them with your Doctoral Studies School Lead (DSL). The Doctoral College manages two communal study spaces at City campus. You’ll find details of these facilities and booking forms in the Resources section of this blog.

Building open hours: Buildings at all campuses are open 8am-6.30pm and closed at weekends.

Supervisory meetings: You and your supervisory team should agree whether to meet in person or online.

Vivas: Vivas will continue to be held online until further notice and viva candidates will continue to have the option of using a room on campus if required and subject to room availability. Currently, there is no physical on-campus IT support for vivas so students choosing to use a room on campus would need to have their own laptop. We will advise if this changes. We will continue to review how we conduct vivas and make changes informed by Government guidance. All vivas held since lockdown have proceeded successfully online. See also our guidance on online vivas.

APRs: APRs will continue to be held online until further notice. See also our guidance on online APRs.


New students: Our main induction programme for doctoral students starting in October 2021 will be held online, 12-13 October. To find out more about the programme and to book a place, please see details on this blog. Details of a mid-year induction for students joining after October will be confirmed later in the year. Students joining at other times during the year or who are unable to attend live events should watch recordings of the key induction presentations from October 2020. These videos include a 21 minute guide to the Research Plan.

Doctoral College on-campus presence: Doctoral College administrative staff are working remotely until further notice. Our full range of administrative support and guidance will be provided through email and digital platforms. Academic Doctoral College staff (Directors of Doctoral Studies and Doctoral Studies School Leads) may be on campus in a managed capacity for teaching and research purposes outside of any lockdown period. If you wish to speak to an academic member of the Doctoral College you should email to make an appointment to meet either online or in person if agreed by both parties. Contact details for all Doctoral College staff are on our staffcentral Contact page.

Advice for vulnerable groups and carers

Doctoral students who are high risk: Students who are clinically extremely vulnerable should follow the latest Government guidance. If you are returning to campus and have any concerns, please discuss with your Doctoral Studies School Lead (DSL) and supervisor so we can explore if there are ways we can practically assist you to undertake your research.

See also:

Doctoral students with significant caring responsibilities including childcare: We recognise that some students who have childcare or caring responsibilities may be significantly impacted by coronavirus restrictions. Please discuss your situation with your Doctoral Studies School Lead (DSL) and supervisors so we can explore if there are ways we can practically assist you. We have asked supervisors and DSLs to be flexible and accommodating to those students with caring responsibilities so please do approach them if you have concerns.

Research-related travel (updated August 2021)

Travel overseas is permitted, subject to the UK Government and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) guidance.

UK and international fieldwork and offsite activities are permitted, subject to risk assessment and approval by the Dean of School or nominee.

For the latest University policy (updated August 2021) see here.

Doctoral researchers need to be set up on AssessNET so if you’re planning to carry out a risk assessment for the first time, contact us in advance ( so we can get you set up.

Process outline:

  1. Discuss with your lead supervisor then approach your DoS or nominee regarding the proposal for off-site work to take place
  2. Determine if travel is essential or the outcomes can be achieved another way
  3. If the off-site work must go ahead, carry out a risk assessment on AssessNET (contact us in advance you’re using AssessNET for the first time)
  4. Write an emergency plan that explains what measures you will take if you
    develop Covid symptoms during the research, or if travel rules change and you cannot return
    home as intended.
  5. DoS or nominee must authorise the risk assessment before the work takes place

The University guidance covering offsite activities and field trips remains the valid process to follow. However, it is also essential to consider any COVID risks and destination restrictions as part of your offsite feasibility, planning and risk assessment.

For further advice and support in completing your risk assessment contact your Doctoral Studies School Lead (DSL). You should not apply to undertake this travel without the approval of your lead supervisor.

Any medical emergency during your trip will be covered by the normal University Insurance policy and will be supported through local medical services.

Conferences: Our Research Student Conference Support Fund is currently accepting applications for funds to cover conference registration fees on a rolling basis.

Support and resources for continued remote working

By now, most doctoral students should be set up for remote working. If you are a new student or are unable to return to campus and require additional equipment, you may be able to apply to the Doctoral Resources Fund (DRF) via your school.

Key university pages

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