The Junior Professional Researcher Program is a two-year research and mentoring program that provides recent college graduates the opportunity to work with faculty at the Institute for Social Research. JPRs will be matched to a research project where they will develop strong data skills and collaborate with faculty and project teams. In addition to gaining valuable hands-on experience, the program includes a curriculum tailored to this career stage with skill-building and learning opportunities throughout the first year. ISR faculty from many disciplines mentor the cohort members as they take the next steps towards a career in research. 

While the specific investigators participating in the JPR Program vary year to year, prior JPRs have worked on projects investigating economic inequality, social epidemiology, aging and the life course, and psychology. Future opportunities may also be available in the fields demography or political science.

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What Participants Can Expect 

Typical  responsibilities of a Junior Professional Researcher may include:

  • Collect, record, clean, and/or document data according to study protocols
  • Curate research articles and conduct literature reviews 
  • Create reference lists for manuscripts and grant proposals
  • Assist with the creation of tables and charts for presentations, manuscripts for publication, and/or grant proposals. 
  • Assist with the dissemination of research findings
  • Participate in research meetings as necessary
  • Participate in cohort-based activities including career and professional development, mentoring, and educational opportunities.

Curriculum and cohort-based development activities 

The curriculum in the first year of the JPR program is  designed to provide the cohort with a glimpse into all the stages of the research life cycle. Since each JPR will be matched to a particular project, and not all projects are at the same point in their development, the curriculum supplements this exposure to research by providing workshops and seminars to give each JPR a well-rounded understanding of social science research. 

In the summer of the first year, the cohort will have the opportunity to attend some of the summer classes that ISR provides with the financial support available to all ISR staff. 

The second year of the program allows for more independence in the research experience. JPRs will have the opportunity to attend career events, work on independent research questions that they have created with the support of their faculty member, and will be supported by the ISR and U-M community of scholars. 

Application Process

Applications for the JPR program will open in January 2024. Candidates from underrepresented backgrounds or historically underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply. 

To participate in the Junior Professional Researcher Program:

  • You must be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • You have earned your bachelors degree in a relevant field prior to the start of the program, but no more than two years before you apply to the program

Details will be announced when the application period opens in January. Potential applicants can expect to submit the following materials: 

  • A cover letter describing your interest and experience in social science research 
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae, including relevant coursework 
  • The names of 2 references. References will not be contacted until the final round of the interview process. 
  • A written statement on the importance of diversity 

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