The Junior Professional Researcher Program is a two-year research and mentoring program that offers recent college graduates the opportunity to work as a full-time research associate for one or more faculty mentors. JPRs will engage in additional education and training activities, including taking courses through our summer programs, participating in a weekly professional development seminar, and attending ISR research seminars throughout their tenure.

Each JPR is matched to a research project where they will develop strong data skills and collaborate with faculty and project teams. The program’s cohort-based structure provides a built-in peer group for JPRs. 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

Application Process

Applications for the JPR program are accepted in January each year. Details on the application process will be shared on this website. 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 recently earned your bachelor’s degree in a social science or related field

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 

Junior Professional Researcher Program FAQ

If you have received your bachelor’s degree December 2022 – June 2024, you are eligible. We are not accepting applications from masters or other graduate students at this time.

No, sponsorship of a visa is not available for this position. We are only considering candidates who are eligible to work in the United States.

JPRs are able to take courses in ISR’s summer programs, but are not able to audit or enroll in classes at the University of Michigan at this time.

The JPR position is a full-time, research associate staff position. The primary responsibilities of the JPR are to the project they work on, and there will be weekly program workshops for the entire cohort.

All JPRs in a given cohort will start on the same date, some time at the beginning of July.

Transcripts are not required, but feel free to describe classes that were influential in your interest in social science research in your cover letter.

Describe your interest in the program and why you’re specifically interested in working at ISR; your interest in and experience with social science research; the experiences you’ve had that led to your interest in research; how this position fits into your longer-term goals; any other relevant information. A cover letter should only be one page.

Provide a short statement, between 500 – 750 words, describing how your background and prior academic, professional, or research experience has informed your understanding of the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion. Please include any programs or groups that you have been part of, or achievements you’ve had, that center diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Include all relevant education, research experience, work experience, volunteer work, and skills. Please try to keep your resume to about one page in length. The University of Michigan Career Center provides generalized guidance.

If your file is too big, try using Adobe’s free PDF Compressor to shrink its size.

After the first round interview, candidates will fill out a survey to rank their interest in the available projects. While we cannot provide a list of the projects participating in the program ahead of time, we encourage all applicants to explore ISR’s projects to learn about the work going on at the institute. Prior JPR cohorts have worked on projects investigating economic inequality, aging, and social epidemiology.

Candidates are expected to find their own housing in the Ann Arbor area.

Please contact the JPR Program Manager, Paige Brann, with any questions.

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