Undergraduate research

The University of Sussex Junior Research Associate (JRA) scheme is a pioneering program which aims to develop future research leaders.

The JRA program rewards academic excellence by supporting high achieving undergraduates to work alongside Sussex's top research faculty during the summer vacation.

The schemes' purpose is to help our most talented students who seriously consider post-graduate study realise this ambition. Over eight weeks Undergraduate Researchers work closely with academic supervisors and mentors, build connections with other researchers and gain invaluable research experience in preparation for future PhD study. Successful candidates will also receive a bursary of £1600, plus a £200 allowance for research expenses. It is a unique chance to participate in real-life research and discover whether or not you would be suited to a career in research.

Once the projects are completed candidates will produce academic posters and present their findings during the annual Undergraduate Research Poster Exhibition which takes place in the autumn term.

Additionally, bursaries are awarded to projects concerning Neuroscience.

If you are applying for a neuroscience project, please write "Sussex Neuroscience" on your application form, and follow the normal JRA application procedure.


Overview of the scheme

The scheme runs for eight weeks over the summer vacation. The dates for 2018 will be from Monday 2 July to Friday 7 September 2018.

Each student will receive a bursary of £1600 which will be paid in two instalments of £800 (first instalment paid at the start of the project; second payment is subject to satisfactory progress of the student). Additionally, each JRA will be entitled to £200 to cover research related costs which are claimed using the Student Expense Form.

Once the projects come to an end all award holders are required to create an A1 academic poster summarising the research undertaken. The poster will be displayed at the annual Undergraduate Research Poster Exhibition in the autumn term. The University will pay for the printing and displaying of the posters.   

Whilst working on projects, Undergraduate Researchers will have the opportunity to access training and enjoy social activities such as:

  • A workshop to support the creation of an academic poster
  • An introduction to postgraduate study session exploring consideration of further study
  • An  introductory session with the Sussex library research team and admission to the Sussex Research HIVE, a designated area for researchers, for the duration of the scheme
  • A workshop on research skills including induction to research
  • A celebration event for all undergraduate researchers at Sussex over the summer including a barbeque, quiz, and ‘research speed dating’ networking session
Entry Requirements

In order for students to be considered for the JRA award it is required that the applicants meet the following criteria:

  • Students must be in their middle year of academic study at the University of Sussex, i.e have completed one year of study and not to be in their final year
  • Students must be seriously considering post-graduate study
  • Students must have agreed for their projects to be supervised by an active faculty member for the duration of the award and mentored by a PhD or early career post-doc
  • Students can either "attach" themselves to an existing project or come up with an original proposal as long as a member of faculty is willing to supervise
  • The scheme is open to all academic disciplines across all Schools of the University of Sussex, including Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS).
How do I apply?

Before you apply we strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with the 2018 JRA Conditions of Acceptance. This document states the terms on which the bursary is awarded, and which we expect you to adhere to.

A complete JRA application consists of four documents:

1. A completed JRA Application Form, which will include your research proposal (no more than 8000 characters), along with a research summary (no more than 1000 characters).

2. A Supervisor Statement, to be completed by your proposed supervisor.

3. Your current CV (to be no more than two A4 pages in length).

4. An Academic Reference Form, to be completed by an academic (not necessarily your potential supervisor) who knows you well and is able to comment on your previous academic performance. If your referee does not want to disclose their letter it can be sent directly to undergraduate-research@sussex.ac.uk

Once you have these completed documents please send them, attached to an email, to undergraduate-research@sussex.ac.uk. The deadline for applications is 16.00pm on April 16 2018. We will send you an email within one working to day to acknowledge that we have recieved your application. Please note that we have extended the existing deadline from March 26 to April 16 due the problems caused by the industrial action.

Applications must be received by the deadline– any applications that arrive after 16.00pm will not be considered. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. 

All applications must be sent by the student. Supervisors are not permitted to send in applications.

All applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application by May 15 2018. If successful, you will be sent an information pack and JRA contract, which will lay out the next steps you should take as a JRA.

You can learn more about the application process and what it is like to be a JRA by attending our JRA Briefing Session, which takes place on February 1 2018, 16.00-17.30 in the Large Jubilee Lecture Theatre. This will be your chance to hear from, and ask questions of, former JRAs and JRA supervisors, as well as the scheme coordinators.

More Information

For more information and enquiries about the application procedure please contact Dean Brooks, Doctoral School Coordinator on undergraduate-research@sussex.ac.uk.





Alessandro Miele JRA 16

"The JRA has been a fantastic experience which has provided me with the opportunity to develop many invaluable skills for the future. The actual work itself has allowed me to learn to use new software packages which will be beneficial to my third year and postgraduate studies, as well as my career. Aside from the actual skills and knowledge acquired, the JRA has also opened my eyes to the world of research."

Alessandro Miele, "Post-Crisis Banking", Business and Economics JRA 2016


"JRA gave me the chance to explore my degree topic from different angles that I found intellectually stimulating and enriching. I also had the opportunity to gain insight on how the university research community functions and received precious advice regarding how to apply and pursue studying at post-graduate level. I think the scheme provides a great opportunity for students interested and keen in gaining experience in conducting real-life research as well as the chance to develop a set of transferable skills, important and useful for future academic studies and career."

Giulia Ravaccia, "Testing a paradigm for involuntary influence of aggression", Psychology JRA 2016