´╗┐International Junior Research Associate (IJRA) Scheme

A small cohort of talented and ambitious undergraduate students are given the opportunity to work alongside Sussex academics for eight weeks on a real-life summer research project.

The scheme supports peer-to-peer relationships between leading Sussex faculty and high-achieving undergraduates considering a research career.

The scheme was successfully expanded in 2014 to support the university’s strategic international partners, building on emerging collaborations for teaching and research.

In 2017 Sussex hosted eighteen IJRA students from institutional partners.

The Sussex IJRA programme is a non-credit bearing programme intended to provide beneficial research experience in preparation for future PhD study; build connections between talented international researchers and Sussex faculty; and strengthen links between Sussex and its strategic partners. Where possible, we would like to encourage reciprocal arrangements.

Learn more about the international undergraduate research scheme

Overview and duration of the scheme

The International JRA scheme is run in collaboration with the International Summer School and runs for eight weeks during the summer vacation. The dates for the 2018 scheme will be from Saturday 23 June (arrivals day) to Saturday 18 August. Sussex will provide on campus accommodation for the duration of the scheme.

Whilst at Sussex, the IJRA students are categorised as a small cohort of high achieving international research students. However, the students have the opportunity to meet both international and UK students participating in the International Summer School and other Junior Research Associate schemes at Sussex. Additionally, the IJRA scheme provides support and training to develop the IJRAs’ academic and research skills. Some of the IJRA social opportunities and training activities include:

  • A University reception where students deliver a presentation about their research to Sussex colleagues including IJRA supervisors and Senior Management
  • A workshop to support the creation of an academic poster summarising the research undertaken over the summer, to be displaced at an undergraduate research poster exhibition on campus in the Autumn term
  • 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
  • Bi-monthly informal catch ups with the scheme coordinators
  • Dinner with Sussex coordinators and supervisors
  • A celebration event for all undergraduate researchers at Sussex over the summer including a barbeque, quiz, and ‘research speed dating’ networking session
Information for Institutional Partners

Sussex will contact selected institutional partners inviting them to participate in and publicise the International JRA scheme to interested students in December.

Sussex offers the following support to its institutional partners:

  • Up to two student places available for each partner institution
  • Training to support the creation of an academic poster summarising the research undertaken over the summer
  • Waiving the International JRA programme fee. Students will need to provide funding to support their subsistence and living costs for eight weeks;
  • Provide suitable on campus accommodation at our Falmer campus, located 10 minutes from Brighton by train;
  • Support students to participate in selected International Summer School social activities
  • Provide appropriate academic advice, orientation and attend to the welfare needs of students during the programme;
  • Identify a range of research areas that we can supervise. All being well, this will be expanded and we would like to work with partners to identify particular research areas interested in developing further;
  • Where possible we would very much like to reciprocate, by sending similar numbers of our students to partner institutions over the next few years and we are keen to hear as to how we might support this objective. This might be in the form of Sussex supporting up to two students to attend a Summer School or cultural or language programme offered to international students;
  • We would like to evaluate student’s participation in the scheme, to give feedback, in the same manner as home students, wherever practicable; and
  • Provide an official report on each International JRA student at the completion of the scheme.

Further information for and about Sussex institutional partners can be found on the International Partnership Office webpages.

Nomination and Selection Procedure

Sussex will write to institutional partners inviting them to promote International JRA research projects to students. We recognise that a number of students may be interested in the scheme and we ask partners to run an internal competition to identify the most suitable candidates (one to two for each project) for nomination to Sussex.  

Sussex will provide information on nomination deadlines, which are to include:

  • CV
  • Personal statement
  • English language qualification
  • Academic transcript
  • Brief example of written work, ideally project report
  • Future career interests

Please note that students may also be required to have a Skype interview with their supervisor to discuss their suitability for the research project.

Sussex will advise partners when succesful candidates are confirmed.

Entry Requirements

In order for students to be admitted to the International JRA scheme we require that nominees meet the following:

  • English language requirement of IELTS 6.5 overall, with not less than 6.0 in each section or equivalent qualification listed on our English language requirements pages
  • Students must be in their middle years of academic study at the partner institution i.e. have completed one year of study and not be in their final year
  • Be high academic achievers. We would expect a GPA of 3.0 or equivalent in year 1 of study
  • Students should be able to demonstrate an interest in pursuing a career in research
  • Any research project pre-requisites, as detailed in project outline descriptions provided by Sussex

Students may be required to apply for a short term study visa for entry to the UK.  Further information can be found on the Sussex International Student webpages.

More Information

For more information about the International JRA scheme, or for exploring reciprocal arrangements, please contact Julie Carr, University of Sussex JRA Programme Manager j.l.carr@sussex.ac.uk or Georgie Chesman, International Partnerships Officer g.chesman@sussex.ac.uk.

Further information for and about Sussex institutional partners can be found on the International Partnerships Office webpages.


IJRA Precious


"The IJRA scheme has allowed me to discover my passion for commercial law while giving me the opportunity to explorative. As a young person, I believe the IJRA experience is a wonderful opportunity anyone could wish for."


Precious Fasanya Wuraola, University of Lagos, IJRA student 2016


Dr Erica Mancing jpg

"Over the summer we had the pleasure to host Thanadol, a JRA student from Mahidol University, Thailand. Thanadol fitted straight away into our team and, under our supervision, worked on understanding how interactions between DNA binding proteins drive the early differentiation of stem cells into red or white blood cells. In the process, Thanadol became proficient at a number of laboratory techniques that, we are sure, are going to benefit him in his future scientific career. Now back to his studies in Bangkok, Thanadol has written to us to say what a wonderful experience he has had here at Sussex. We were lucky to host Thanadol who, through the Sussex International JRA scheme, has contributed to our research."

Dr Erika Mancini, Mancini Lab, School of Life Sciences, IJRA supervisor 2016

Dr Mancini leads a team of researchers in the Mancini Lab, which work on the structural basis of gene expression regulation by chromatin and transcription factors. The lab is based in the Biochemistry and Biomedicine group in School of Life Sciences at Sussex.  Dr Mancini is also part of the Gene Expression Research Group comprising eight research groups spanning Life Science subject groups and the Brighton and Sussex Medical School with specialized state-of-the-art school and specific laboratory-based instrumentation underpinning the research. The Gene Expression Research group investigates all aspects of the regulation of gene expression, studying how the flow of information from DNA to protein is controlled.