Sussex Undergraduate Research Office

The JRA Journey

Each year, Sussex Undergraduate Research Office (SURO) gives a group of outstanding Sussex undergraduates the chance to become Junior Research Associates (JRA). The scheme aims to inspire and excite students about the idea of postgraduate study, and is designed to give students the best possible chance of success should they choose to follow this path.

Stage 1: the research project

Each JRA undertakes an intensive eight-week, full-time research project. This usually takes place in their second summer of study. Each student receives comprehensive training to ensure they have the skills needed to carry out high-level research. Each also has an academic supervisor and postgraduate mentor to support them throughout their project. We want all undergraduates to have an equal chance of undertaking a JRA project, so we also provide bursaries to help our students study full time over the summer. In 2018, these bursaries amounted to £1600 for living costs and £200 for research expenses.

Stage 2: the poster exhibition

Once their research project is completed, each JRA designs an academic poster presenting their research journey and summarising their findings. This poster is then displayed in our annual 'Celebrating Undergraduate Research' poster exhibition in October. Before this exhibition, the students also graduate as official Junior Research Associates in their very own graduation ceremony led by the Pro Vice Chancellor (Research). 

Stage 3: presenting at BCUR

Later in the year, all JRAs also have the chance to present their work at BCUR, the British Council for Undergraduate Research’s annual conference. If they choose to do so, SURO will offer them support and assistance to ensure their trip is successful. 

Stage 4: taking your research further

For many of our undergraduates, the legacy of their research project extends well beyond their original eight weeks as a JRA. Many students continue to develop the ideas they formed as a JRA in the final years of their undergraduate degree, and often into their postgraduate degrees. Many forge lasting relationships with their academic supervisors, and some subsequently choose to undertake PhDs, working alongside their JRA supervisors. Several projects have been developed and expanded, eventually emerging as academic papers or PhD theses or book chapters, and many JRA projects have been presented at academic conferences.