Sussex Undergraduate Research Office

Interested in Applying?

Interesting in becoming a Junior Research Associate next summer? Find out what you need to know about the application process.

About the scheme

The Junior Research Associate (JRA) scheme allows selected undergraduate students to take part in a summer research project under the guidance of an academic. It lasts eight weeks and gives you a taste of working in a research role at Sussex.

Who can apply

The JRA scheme is open to high-achieving students from all schools and subjects, including Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS).

The scheme is competitive, so it is important to put time and effort into your application. Good luck.

Step 1: Check your eligibility

Before applying, you should make sure you meet the eligibility criteria for the scheme.

JRAs must:

  • be undergraduate students at the University of Sussex
  • be in their middle year of study (i.e. have completed one year of study and not to be in their final year)
  • have a genuine interest in pursuing postgraduate study
  • have a good academic track record.

If you match the criteria above, you are eligible for the scheme. You can send an email to undergraduate-research@sussex.ac.uk with any questions regarding the application process.

Step 2: Get to know the scheme

The next thing to do is to familiarise yourself with the JRA Terms and Conditions [DOCX 180.76KB]. This will give you a clear idea of how the scheme works and what will be expected of you.

Step 3: Find a supervisor

Depending on your subject area and research interests, you might decide to either join an existing research project or propose your own research project. Either way, you will need to identify an academic who is willing to act as your supervisor for an eight-week period over the summer.

To join an existing research project, you should approach faculty in your department to learn what research projects are currently underway on campus and whether you are able to join any of these as a JRA.

If you are hoping to propose your own project, you should look for academics who have research interests similar to your own. When you have identified a suitable faculty member, you might wish to approach them to find out if they have the capacity to act as a JRA supervisor over the summer, and if they would be willing to supervise your research project.

Some past JRAs have found it useful to approach a potential supervisor with a clearly developed and refined research proposal. Doing so will allow you to ‘pitch’ your idea to the academic. Alternatively, other past JRAs have approached  potential supervisors with a looser idea of what they would like to study – a certain subject perhaps, or key themes – and have asked for their advice. This allows the academic to ensure that the research also interests them and is something they feel comfortable supervising.

How you approach your potential supervisor will depend on your previous relationship with them, as well as on the type of research you wish to undertake. This is an important part of the JRA process, and something you should think about carefully. We know that this part of the process might sound daunting, so we’ve put together some guidance. If you're thinking of proposing your own project, see our Guidelines for approaching a supervisor [PDF 154.32KB]

Step 4: Prepare a project proposal

Once you have identified your supervisor and your research question, it is time to write your research proposal. This should be no longer than 8000 characters and should be checked by your potential supervisor. When you have finished your proposal, be sure to proofread it! Once you are completely happy with it, it needs to be added to a completed JRA application form (JRA application form [DOCX 17.3KB]) and sent to undergraduate-research@sussex.ac.uk along with additional supporting documents (see Step 5).

Step 5: Compile additional documents

A complete JRA application consists of four documents:

  • A completed application form (JRA Application Form [DOCX 17.3KB]), which will include your research proposal along with a research summary (no more than 1000 characters). If you are applying for a project based in Neuroscience or BSMS, please make this clear on your application.
  • A Supervisor statement (Supervisor Statement [13.85KB]), to be completed by your supervisor.
  • Your current CV (to be not more than two A4 pages in length).
  • An Academic Reference (Academic Reference [DOCX 14.2KB]), 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.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your supervisor and referee are aware of these forms, and that they complete them by the application deadline.

All of these forms can be downloaded from our 'JRA Application Pack' page on this site.

Step 6: Submit your application

Once you have completed your application, please send your full and complete pack to undergraduate-research@sussex.ac.uk. Applications must be received by the day and time specified – any applications that arrive after that time will not be considered. We will send you an email within two working day to acknowledge that we have received your application.

All applications must be sent by the student. Supervisors are permitted to send reference letters directly, however they are not permitted to send in applications.

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

Questions

You can:

Briefing slides

We will be holding a special briefing event for students who are interested in applying to the 2020 JRA scheme from 13.00 to 14.00 on 12 February 2020 in the large Jubilee Lecture Theatre. For information the slides used for the 2019 presentation can be accessed here