Sussex Undergraduate Research Office

Supervisor information

This page offers information, guidance and support to potential and current JRA supervisors. Our aim is to create a one-stop location for all the information you need to have a great JRA experience.

The Junior Research Scheme isn't just a valuable experience for students, but is also a great opportunity for staff to work with them at the start of their research journey and in previous years we have received a lot of feedback from supervisors sharing how rewarding they have found the scheme. We also know the invaluable role that our supervisors play in the scheme, and we're incredibly grateful to every academic who agrees to take part.

Please see the following guidance for potential and current JRA supervisors, as well as the terms and conditions that you will be expected to sign if your student’s application is successful and they are accepted on to the scheme. We also have a list below of frequently asked questions to help guide you through the process.

If you have any other questions then please contact us at and if there are other questions you think we should include in the FAQs, then we'd be grateful if you let us know.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get involved in the JRA programme?

If you'd like to be a supervisor, there are a few ways of getting involved. How you do so will depend on your subject, your students, and whether you have any pre-existing research projects. Please note that each project should have the level of autonomy and potential for discovery characteristics of independent research.

If you would like to provide a project outline for a JRA:
If you have an ongoing research project or research question, then you might wish to consider how you could integrate a JRA project within the parameters of these existing investigations. In our experience, such projects work extremely well for both the JRA and the supervisor as the JRA undertakes an independent research project, in turn contributing to a larger body of work, while the supervisor's research also benefits. If you wish to advertise an opportunity like this, then please feel free to approach likely students or contact those within your school that are responsible for the JRA, in order that they can advertise it on your behalf.


If you would like to supervise a student-led JRA project:
Many of our supervisors supervise projects that the JRAs propose themselves, based on their own interests. These projects tend to develop organically - i.e. the student approaches the supervisor with an initial idea. This then starts a dialogue through which the idea is refined and transformed into a project that can realistically be completed within eight weeks. If you're interested in being a supervisor - perhaps you have some students in mind that you think could particularly benefit from the scheme - then it is a good idea to disseminate information about the scheme to such students, encourage them to apply, and offer them guidance in formulating a strong research proposal. You may also wish to contact staff within your school that are responsible for the JRA, in case they have interested students that that can put in contact with you.


I am not on a permenant contract. Can I supervise a JRA?

Yes, early career researchers and/or those on non-permanent contracts can be JRA supervisors, as long as the term of the contract covers the full duration of the JRA studentship (until September). If you are grant funded. then you will need a supporting statement from the Principal Investigator on the grant.

How does the application process work?

The details of the application process from a student's perspective are available on our Applying for the JRA scheme webpages, which include sample application forms, an application checklist and selection criteria. If you agree to supervise a student for a JRA project, then it is likely that some discussion between yourself and the student will take place, as the idea for a research project emerges and is then refined.

The final research proposal should be the student's own work, however we do encourage supervisors to assist with this process due to their experience with writing these documents, particularly if a student is joining an existing research project.

A complete JRA application consists of four additional documents, which the JRA is responsible for collating and submitting. As a supervisor, you will be required to complete one of these documents, which will be a supervisor statement that provides information on how you view and will participate in the proposed research, as well as how you will support the student. If you don't wish the student to see your supervisor statement you can submit it separately to; in either case, all JRA applications and supporting documents should be submitted by the specified deadline.

How many students become JRAs each year?

As the number of JRAs depends on funding each year, it is difficult to state how many students will be accepted on to the scheme, but in previous years numbers have fluctuated between 50 and 100 JRAs. The likelihood of a JRA being accepted will also depend on the number of applications within your school and the number of places that each DRaKE can allocate, which they will be made aware of when applications are sent out for assessment in April.

How long does the JRA scheme last?

As stated in the supervisor guidance, the JRA research projects are expected to take eight weeks across the summer months. There is a timeline for the project in this guidance document, which also mentions the JRA Poster Exhibition that takes place in October each year after the scheme has ended.

What is the time commitment for a JRA supervisor?

As a supervisor, you must commit to a minimum of weekly supervision for the eight weeks of the student's project. We also strongly encourage supervisors to attend the poster exhibition celebrating the end of the JRA scheme in October.

What will be expected of me as a JRA supervisor?

Please read our full guidance for advice on the expectations of a JRA supervisor, which includes supporting your JRA, ensuring that projects are completed on time and providing an interim report.

What is the financial support that JRAs and Supervisors receive? 

Each JRA will receive a bursary of £3,500 to allow them to work full-time on their research. JRAs will receive their first payment at the beginning of the scheme, and the second payment will be processed once the supervisor's interim report has been received, confirming that the research project is progressing accordingly, and attendance of mandatory training sessions has been confirmed.

As well as the bursary, each JRA will receive a £200 expenses allowance to cover costs directly supporting their research. If the student wishes to make a claim, then please direct them to our webpages for guidance and access to the expense claim form.

Please note that a supervisor receives no additional remuneration or other financial compensation for taking part in the scheme. However if a JRA incurs costs, such as for lab materials, journal subscriptions or equipment from a supervisors budget, then the supervisor can request that the £200 expenses be transferred to them by emailing and providing a budget code and brief explanation.

Why does my JRA have to submit a poster?

All JRAs are required to submit an A1 academic poster, portrait orientation and in PDF format. This is a condition of the scheme, and will be stated in the terms and conditions of award which you and your JRA will sign at the beginning of the scheme. Academic posters are commonly used in the research community to communicate key findings in a quick and accessible way and it is also a effective tool for students from all disciplines.

By designing a poster, students gain valuable experience of presenting their findings to a wider audience. As many JRAs have never designed an academic poster before, part of the mandatory training sessions includes workshops on how to create a research poster. These posters will be assessed by staff from a variety of backgrounds and the top posters will be shortlisted for prizes. All posters will also be shown at the Poster Exhibition.

What is the Poster Exhibition?

Every year the Sussex Researcher School organises an annual Poster Exhibition to display the JRA's posters and celebrate the completion of their research projects. All JRAs must attend the event to display and discuss their academic posters and we encourage supervisors to attend as well to support their students. This is often a very busy event, attended by students, faculty, staff and other members of the general public.

On the day of the exhibition, the shortlisted candidates will present their poster and a winner and runner-up will be selected. There will also be a vote for a People's Choice poster and all winners will be announced at the end of the event.