Sussex Undergraduate Research Office

For current JRAs

2020 marks the JRA scheme’s twelfth year. We also know the invaluable role that you, our students, plays in the scheme, and we're here to support you in any way we can.

Looking backwards, moving forwards…

On behalf of the Sussex Undergraduate Research Office, I’d like to welcome you to our webpages. We’ve been working hard to have these ready in time for our 2020 JRA cohort, and we’ve just about made it! Our 2019 cohort was our biggest yet - over 70 Sussex students became JRAs, and we welcomed more than 100 undergraduate researchers in total, which included students visiting from our institutional partners, onto campus. With these new strands adding diversity and richness to the scheme, last year was undoubtedly our most successful year yet. The students themselves certainly felt so:
  • 100% of JRAs found the scheme a rewarding experience.
  • 97% found the experience of working with a supervisor rewarding.
  • 85% found participating in the scheme has helped them with post-degree study/career plans.

We also received extremely positive feedback from our supervisors:

  • 95% of supervisors felt that their JRA project was successful.
  • 93% of academics were either 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with the academic performance of their JRA (70% being 'very satisfied' and 23% being 'satisfied').

We are also aware that the scheme has experienced some significant growth in recent years which has created new challenges and highlighted the need for structural changes. We were therefore keen, when reading feedback from former JRAs, to note any concerns and suggestions they had concerning how we could improve the scheme. We have tried to incorporate these suggestions into our planning and to come up with solutions. For example:

  • Several students mentioned that they would like clearer channels of communication. This year we are altering how we communicate with you, reducing the number of emails we are sending, and instead collating all news and updates into one weekly newsletter.
  • Several of you expressed a wish for a clearer timetable and more explicit statement of your duties as a JRA, delivered in advance of the scheme's commencement: you will find timetables of all events, plus other useful information, on this website by the end of Apriil
  • A small number of students expressed a wish for more social interaction among the JRAs themselves. This year we have bolstered the scheme's social aspects with several JRA student meet-ups.

It is our hope that these changes will make the scheme an even more rewarding experience for both students and supervisors. If you have any more suggestions, we'd love to hear them. We hope to see you all in 2020!

Julie Carr: Sussex Undergraduate Research Office.