Centres of Excellence

Our Centres of Excellence are the University鈥檚 pillars of research strength. They help us drive progress for our planet and its people 鈥 and inspire us to see that a challenge is only impossible until it's done.

Impossible until it's done

Achieving the impossible

Impossible until it's done

  • Video transcript

    [INTRO MUSIC: Anthemic inspirational music plays]

    On-screen text:





    Research at 小蓝视频

    in new technologies, science, AI and data analysis

    environmental sustainability and climate change

    [Birds flapping with visuals of a flock of birds flying in slow motion]

    [slide project sound as the text People slides onto screen]

    helping people and communities to flourish

    Research at 小蓝视频

    world firsts in quantum computing

    [Sci-fi clicks and beeps as laboratory visuals cut together]

    global policy changes on sustainability

    the world for international development

    [waves sounds with slow motion waves crashing]

    [whoosh as the camera zooms from space to planet Earth]

    “It’s only impossible until it’s done”

    Research at 小蓝视频

    Progress for planet and people

    [END CARD: 小蓝视频 logo, with text ‘Impossible until it’s done’ and URL ‘sussex.ac.uk/impossible’]

Watch more videos about our Centres of Excellence

Explore our Centres of Excellence

Our Centres of Excellence each undertake highly innovative and potentially transformative research.

They have been created to provide an environment and culture where researchers can truly believe a challenge is only impossible until it’s done.

Explore our Centres below.

More from our Centres of Excellence

Hear from the world-leading researchers within our Centres of Excellence. Learn about the impossible challenges they are taking on and how each Centre is driving progress for our planet and its people.


  • Transcript for video one: Transforming lives by protecting children, preventing exploitation, and creating mental health tools

    Professor Paul Statham: We tend not to see things as being impossible.

    [Intro MUSIC: Whoosh sound effect into plucked strings]

    [TITLE CARD ‘Impossible until it’s done’]

    Professor Julie Weeds: Whenever I’m told that something’s impossible, I’ve viewed it as a challenge.

    Dr Liam Berriman: It’s thinking about how we can go beyond, thinking about what comes next.

    Professor Paul Statham: Something seems to be impossible you try and do it.

    [MUSIC: Whoosh sound effect into building strings]

    [TITLE CARD: ‘Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth’

    Dr Liam Berriman: Voices of children remain amongst the most marginalised in policy and decision making in the UK.

    [MUSIC: Whoosh sound effect into old detuned piano playing nostalgic chords]

    Dr Liam Berriman: How children and young people experience society in this data driven and digital era is a key element of our work. We need to explore their perspective on the world and to do that in a very creative and innovative way.

    [ON SCREEN TEXT: ‘Dr Liam Berriman Director, Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth’]

    [MUSIC: Whoosh sound effect into staccato piano twinkling]

    Dr Liam Berriman: My research involves gathering the voices of children and young people, as well as their families and carers and those who work with them, to improve how they’re treated, how they can access specialist services and how policies can be developed to best meet their needs.

    Since so much of their lives involves data being gathered about them, we’re also concerned with how this information is used, particularly for the purpose of safeguarding. At our centre we can make the world a better place in terms of wanting meaningful change in their lives.

    [MUSIC: Whoosh sound effect into impact hits]

    [TITLE CARD: ‘小蓝视频 Artificial Intelligence’]

    [MUSIC: Brooding mysterious music]

    Professor Julie Weeds: To ensure that AI is used for the good of humanity, we need to make sure that we understand what it is and how it is being used to make decisions. It’s not going to go away, AI, we can’t put it back in the box. At 小蓝视频 AI it’s about understanding how to use it in a way that benefits everybody. Being part of it, rather than letting it scare you.

    [MUSIC: Whoosh and flutter sound effect with new mysterious electronic music]

    [ON SCREEN TEXT: ‘Professor Julie Weeds Co-Director, 小蓝视频 AI’]

    Professor Julie Weeds: I’m collaborating with a company that’s developing a mental health app for social media users. Through monitoring the language of posts, the app aims to identify young people who are struggling. And like many applications, it’s critical to keep human experts in the loop. So rather than replacing us, AI is there to support us.

    [MUSIC: Whoosh sound effect into moody, inspiring string music]

    [TITLE CARD: ‘小蓝视频 Centre for Migration’]

    Professor Paul Statham: There’s kind of the politics of migration at the moment, but then there is actually the facts of migration.

    [MUSIC: Inspirational ambient orchestral music]

    Professor Paul Statham: 小蓝视频 set up a centre for migration research 25 years ago, when migrants and refugees moving across the globe wasn't so talked about.

    [ON SCREEN TEXT: ‘Professor Paul Statham, Director of 小蓝视频 Centre for Migration Research’]

    Professor Paul Statham: Now we're still at the cutting edge and still doing things differently. We focus on the relationship between migration and development and how we can help the groups and communities affected.

    [MUSIC: Triumphant and uplifting music begins with a keyboard synth]

    Professor Paul Statham: Through our relationship with Mahidol University in Thailand, we've highlighted how mass tourism, annually 40 million people move in and out of Thailand, has led to the exploitation of low paid women who have no social protection. We've also shown how marriage migration can adversely affect their families, their children and their own fate further down the line. Our focus on gender and sexualities extends to LGBTQI+ migrants and asylum seekers in our own region too, who also face prejudice and discrimination. All of this is creating a greater understanding of one of the key topics shaping our world today.    

    [MUSIC: A final positive chord plays on a keyboard]

    [END CARD: 小蓝视频 logo ‘Impossible until it’s done ’ with URL sussex.ac.uk/impossible]

  • Transcript for video two: Unlocking potential with education for all, fairer trade policy and understanding consciousness

    Professor Michael Gasiorek: When somebody says impossible to me, I always think. But is it really impossible?

    [Intro MUSIC: Light and upbeat instrumental]

    [TITLE CARD ‘Impossible until it’s done’]

    Professor Linda Morrice: We just need the right approach and to ask the right questions.

    Professor Michael Gasiorek: There are usually solutions to what you might think is impossible.

    Professor Anil Seth: With dividing the problem in different ways the impossible can often be made possible.

    [MUSIC: Whooshing]

    [TITLE CARD: ‘小蓝视频 Centre for Consciousness Science’]

    Professor Anil Seth: One of the greatest unsolved mysteries in science and philosophy

    [MUSIC: Rising mysteriously]

    Professor Anil Seth: is how conscious experiences arise from the biology of our brains and our bodies.

    [MUSIC: Boom sound effect into stirring piano score]

    [ON SCREEN TEXT: ‘Professor Anil Seth - Director, 小蓝视频 Centre for Consciousness Science’]

    Professor Anil Seth: The 小蓝视频 Centre for Consciousness Science aims to unravel this mystery. My own theory is that conscious experiences are best explained as forms of controlled hallucinations.

    [Echoes of Anil’s voice tails off “hallucinations”]

    Professor Anil Seth: We brought together researchers from many different disciplines, from neuroscience to philosophy, mathematics to psychiatry

    [Camera shutter noises as we flick through still photos of the subjects]

    Professor Anil Seth: to get new insights and helping to drive applications in technology, medicine and society.

    [Camera shutter noises as we flick through still photos of the applications]

    [MUSIC: Upbeat world influenced track]

    Professor Anil Seth: At 小蓝视频 we recently led a project called the Perception Census, investigating how we each experience a unique world.

    Professor Anil Seth: In less than two years we've had more than 33,000 people take part from over a hundred countries. The results could transform our understanding of how and why we each experience the world in our own distinctive way.

    [TITLE CARD: ‘Centre for International Education’]

    [MUSIC: Gentle piano]

    Professor Linda Morrice: In the Centre for International Education, we work across six continents

    [ON SCREEN TEXT: ‘Professor Linda Morrice, Co-Director, Centre for International Education’]

    Professor Linda Morrice: and we work with some of the most marginalised and vulnerable communities.

    [MUSIC: Deep boom as we see a photograph of a woman holding a baby]

    Professor Linda Morrice: women

    [Camera shutter noise as we see a photograph of a group of women refugees]

    Professor Linda Morrice: refugees

    [Camera shutter noise as we see a photograph of a group of school children]

    Professor Linda Morrice: Children who are most likely to be excluded from education. If we want a more socially just society, we have to provide education for all.

    [MUSIC: Crescendos as we see Professor Linda Morrice looking over a map]

    Professor Linda Morrice: When refugees arrive in new countries, there is an initial urgency to find shelter and attend to their physical needs.

    Professor Linda Morrice: But there's growing recognition of the critical importance of education.

    [MUSIC: Light reverb as Professor Linda Morrice looks through a pile of photographs]

    Professor Linda Morrice: Our research in the Centre for International Education

    [Camera shutter noise as we see a photograph of children at school]

    Professor Linda Morrice: has shown that successful integration is dependent on refugees being able to speak the native language of their new home.

    [MUSIC: Light reverb]

    Professor Linda Morrice: This enables them to engage in education, to find jobs, access health care and services, really feel part of the community.

    Professor Linda Morrice: Overall

    [Camera shutter noise as we see a photograph of a man and woman shopping for fresh produce at a food market]

    Professor Linda Morrice: refugees with higher levels

    [Camera shutter noise as we see a photograph of a family walking along the seafront in Brighton]

    Professor Linda Morrice: of language, experience better wellbeing.

    [TITLE CARD: ‘UK Trade Policy Observatory’]

    [MUSIC: Atmospheric drone]

    Professor Michael Gasiorek: The need for rigorous, innovative research and impartial analysis is greater than ever.

    [MUSIC: Swell and whoosh into dramatic string score]

    Professor Michael Gasiorek: The UK Trade Policy Observatory

    [ON SCREEN TEXT: ‘Professor Michael Gasiorek - Director, UK Trade Policy Observatory’]

    Professor Michael Gasiorek: at the 小蓝视频 came together the day after the referendum to leave the EU. The decision was so momentous…

    [Whoosh sound effect with camera shutter clicks as we see British monuments]

    Professor Michael Gasiorek: It involved the UK taking control of its own trade policy. Our experts, probably the biggest collection of academics in the UK working on trade, are increasing the field of knowledge and finding new results that genuinely impact on policy making.

    [Whoosh sound effect with knife slice, we see a machete cut into a piece of fruit in the jungle]

    [MUSIC: Deep brooding atmospheric score]

    Professor Michael Gasiorek: We have helped to shape thinking on UK trade policy issues like reducing carbon emissions and the Northern Ireland's post-Brexit arrangements.

    Professor Michael Gasiorek: Trade policy decisions will influence social, economic and welfare outcomes for generations to come.

    [Swelling whoosh crescendo]

    [END CARD: 小蓝视频 logo ‘Impossible until it’s done ’ with URL sussex.ac.uk/impossible]

  • Transcript for video three: Driving progress in neuroscience, sustainability research and rare disease treatment

    Professor Keith Caldecott: Some things are impossible, but if they're seemingly impossible, there's usually a way around it and you just have to find out what the best way is.

    鈥嬧媅Intro MUSIC: Light and upbeat instrumental]

    [TITLE CARD ‘Impossible until it’s done’]

    Professor Louise Serpell: Impossible is a challenge. It makes us want to work harder to try and overcome that.

    Professor Joseph Alcamo: It's a word that people use who are sceptical of the fact that we can have a positive future.

    [MUSIC: Whooshing]

    [Camera shutter noise]

    [TITLE CARD: ‘小蓝视频 Neuroscience’]

    Professor Louise Serpell: Our great strength within 小蓝视频 Neuroscience is that we're working together in complementary ways to understand brain processes.

    [MUSIC: Whooshing]

    [ON SCREEN TEXT: ‘Professor Louise Serpell, Co-Director, 小蓝视频 Neuroscience’]

    Professor Louise Serpell: There's people from all different disciplines who are developing new methods to try and understand diseases -

    [Camera shutter noise]

    Professor Louise Serpell: And how the brain works.

    Professor Louise Serpell: We can build on those developments -

    [Camera shutter noise]

    Professor Louise Serpell: So that we can then go on to create better treatments.

    [MUSIC: Pulsing into electronic buzz]

    Professor Louise Serpell: We're at an amazing stage of developing drugs to treat Alzheimer's disease.

    [MUSIC: Uplifting strings]

    Professor Louise Serpell: Our work involves targeting a protein called tau -

    [Camera shutter noise]

    Professor Louise Serpell: Which is involved in the process that destroys brain cells.

    [MUSIC: Strings intensify]

    Professor Louise Serpell: There's been a lot of excitement about the first anti-tau disease modifying drug. We're still a way off from being able to prevent or completely cure Alzheimer's, but the future is looking positive.

    [Camera shutter noise]

    [TITLE CARD: ‘小蓝视频 Sustainability Research Programme’]

    [MUSIC: Gentle strings]

    Professor Joseph Alcamo: We believe that we can reach a sustainable future with a new approach to research.

    [Deep boom noise]

    [ON SCREEN TEXT: ‘Professor Joseph Alcamo, Director, 小蓝视频 Sustainability Research Programme’]

    Professor Joseph Alcamo: Here at the 小蓝视频, we combine development studies and environmental research into a dynamic programme of sustainability research.

    [MUSIC: Strings intensify]

    Professor Joseph Alcamo: It helps to bring the expertise together that we need in order to tackle one of the great challenges of our times -

    [Gritty noise with video footage of a person grasping a handful of dirt]

    Professor Joseph Alcamo: Achieving the sustainable development goals.

    [Deep boom noise]

    [High-pitched click]

    Professor Joseph Alcamo: We're beginning to see this payoff in projects from all around the world.

    [MUSIC: Light emotional chords]

    Professor Joseph Alcamo: For example, in the woodlands of Ecuador, we have projects training young people to collect critical biodiversity data that's then used by Ecuadorians to contest in the courts, the destruction of their own woodlands by mining.

    [MUSIC: Slows]

    Professor Joseph Alcamo: In the drylands of Kenya and Tanzania, we're using the most advanced sciences to improve early warning of imminent droughts. And we're also working on the ground with pastoral farmers to make sure that these warnings reach them. This research is showing how science can advance the wellbeing of both people and planet.

    [Camera shutter noise]

    [TITLE CARD: ‘Genome Damage and Stability Centre’]

    [MUSIC: Gentle strings]

    Professor Keith Caldecott: When you realise that your discoveries can have a direct impact on people's health, it's incredibly rewarding.

    [Deep rumble]

    [ON SCREEN TEXT: ‘Professor Keith Caldecott, Co-Director, Genome Damage and Stability Centre’]

    Professor Keith Caldecott: My team's research in the Genome Damage and Stability Centre is focused on understanding how faulty DNA repair causes human genetic diseases.

    Professor Keith Caldecott: We're gene hunters -

    [Camera shutter noise]

    Professor Keith Caldecott: Identifying new genes and their roles -

    [Camera shutter noise]

    Professor Keith Caldecott: In maintaining genome stability.

    [Camera shutter noise]

    Professor Keith Caldecott: If your genome becomes damaged, it can cause cancer, it can cause neurodegeneration. So everybody in the genome centre is working on some aspect of how our genomes are maintained in a stable state and transmitted faithfully from one generation to the next.

    [MUSIC: Intensifies]

    Professor Keith Caldecott: It's having that critical mass that really makes us world leading and why we stand out on the international stage.

    [MUSIC: Light bubbly track]

    Professor Keith Caldecott: Our laboratory's research discovered a number of novel human genes that previously were not known to exist. And in identifying those genes and working out what they do, we've discovered a number of human genetic diseases that arise in people, particularly children.

    [MUSIC: Increases in volume]

    Professor Keith Caldecott: And so now, knowing which genes cause those diseases allows us to advise clinicians and also hopefully in the future find cures for those diseases.

    [END CARD: 小蓝视频 logo ‘Impossible until it’s done ’ with URL sussex.ac/impossible]

  • Transcript for video four: Tackling challenges in Quantum Technology, planetary care and podoconiosis

    Professor Gail Davey OBE: When I think about impossible, I think of lack of imagination.

    [Screen reads 'Impossible until it's done']

    Professor Winfried Hensinger: When people tell me something can't be done, I just love to try.

    Professor Alice Eldridge: Don't think anyone's ever told me something's impossible.

    Professor Gail Davey OBE: I don't usually see it as a a barrier. I just think there must be other ways of doing something.

    [Screen reads '小蓝视频 Centre for Quantum Technologies]

    Professor Winfried Hensinger: Quantum physics is a theory that governs everything around us, every process in nature. Quantum computers will enable us to investigate the fabric of reality to create a better future. 

    [Caption reads Professor Winfried Hensinger, Director of the 小蓝视频 Centre for Quantum Technologies]

    Professor Winfried Hensinger: I've spent 20 years working with colleagues to understand and develop the science. Now we are building a full scale quantum computer that will be able to find the answers to some of the most urgent technical challenges of our time.

    From designing drugs for healthcare to making aircraft engines more fuel efficient. 小蓝视频 has become a powerhouse for quantum technology. We've launched the world's first quantum technology undergraduate degree, where students carry out research from day one, and we have vital links with industry to make amazing things happen.

    [Screen reads: 小蓝视频 Digital Humanities Lab]

    Professor Alice Eldridge: We are entering the sixth great extinction. We need to know what is happening in our forests, our farmland, our oceans, and our soil and ecosystems.

    [Caption reads 'Professor Alice Eldridge, Co-director of 小蓝视频 Digital Humanities Lab]

    Professor Alice Eldridge: Our work in ecoacoustics aims to develop tools to listen into the soundscape that emerges from an ecosystem as a way to understand its health.

    Listening to these soundscapes we find helps people connect with nature and remember that they're a part of, not apart from the rest of the living world. Our research centre brings together experts from arts and humanities, computing and social sciences, remixing those disciplines to solve the challenges that we are facing.

    The next generation of tools for planetary care will be co-created with scientific and traditional ecological knowledges. We hope to create a world where people and planet thrive as one. 

    [Screen reads 'Centre for Global Health Research']

    Professor Gail Davey OBE: Podoconiosis can lead to an inability to walk, to work, and to being ostracised by others. It's a disease that affects four million in some of the world's poorest countries. 

    [Caption reads 'Professor Gail Davey OBE, Co-director of Centre for Global Health Research]

    Professor Gail Davey OBE: Podoconiosis is fundamentally about health inequity around the world. The great challenge has been raising awareness, so governments know this condition exists.

    When you realise that a young teenager is about to commit suicide because of a disease that could have been prevented, had she had access to shoes, then you realise there's something wrong with the world. And I think that is a huge motivation to put that right. Within the Centre for Global Health Research at 小蓝视频, we have an aim, which is to eliminate podoconiosis within our lifetimes.

    That is achievable and I'm committed to continuing work until that goal happens.

    [END CARD: 小蓝视频 logo, with text ‘Impossible until it’s done’ and URL ‘sussex.ac.uk/impossible’]



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