Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Programs
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University of Virginia-University of Chicago Visiting Research Graduate Traineeship Program (VRGTP) for Polish Masters Students in the Biological Sciences

Participating U.S. Institutions & Coordinators:

University of Chicago Dr. Anthony A. Kossiakoff
University of Virginia Dr. Zygmunt S. Derewenda

Information on traineeship opportunities at the University of Chicago.

Participating Polish Institutions & Coordinators

The following four Polish universities currently participate in the VRGTP, although other Polish institutions of higher education may express interest to the U.S. coordinators.

Technical University of Lodz Prof. dr hab. Grzegorz Bujacz
Technical University of Wroclaw Prof. dr Andrzej Trochimczuk
University of Gdansk dr Sylwia Jafra
University of Lodz Prof. dr hab. Wanda M. Krajewska
University of Warsaw Prof. Joanna Pijanowska (Dean)
Wroclaw Univ. of Env. & Life Sciences Ewa Tracz, D.V.M.


The Visiting Research Graduate Traineeship Program (VRGTP) offers eleven-month research traineeships to select qualified students, recommended by participating Polish institutions. Students are in the fifth year of a Masters program, and the research conducted during the traineeship is used to complete a Masters thesis. The number of traineeships, in any given year, is subject to availability of funding; however, historically, a total of six to ten students are selected by U.Va. while four to six students are selected by the University of Chicago. Students are required to fulfill the academic requirements of their home institution prior to conducting research at U.Va. or the University of Chicago. Traineeships begin in early July and end in early June when students must return to their home institution to pass the final Masters exam.

Qualification Process

The qualification process begins with the identification of faculty members at U.Va. -- in the School of Medicine, the Department of Biology, and the Department of Chemistry -- and in the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago who have (1) suitable research projects, (2) expectation of funding, and (3) interest in mentoring a student from Poland. This phase is completed by December or January of each year with such information made available to participating Polish institutions and on the VRGTP Web site. Information about the research projects is

The information about available projects is provided to the students; interested individuals must contact the coordinator, at their institution, who will determine if the student is eligible and will be formally recommended by the institution. Only students recommended by their home institution, and with their formal consent, may apply to the program.

Among the qualifications required for consideration are (1) fluency in English (absolute prerequisite), (2) high academic standing (GPA of 4.2 or above is recommended), and (3) prior experience in research (both in Poland and abroad). Students who have secured provisional institutional consent submit the following to the coordinators: (1) a curriculum vitae (CV), (2) a transcript, and (3) a motivational letter indicating which projects are of particular interest, and whether they prefer to go to Chicago or Charlottesville.

Based on this information, the U.S. coordinators, or designated faculty, will travel to Poland in early- to mid-March to conduct interviews with interested students. The interviewers then will evaluate which students are most suitable for each of the available research projects; this phase may involve additional telephone interviews conducted by prospective mentors. Those students who are selected for traineeships will receive formal offers by e-mail, which they should accept within seven days.

Funding and Logistics

The costs of the program are covered by individual mentors through grants and other extramural funding. Students will receive a stipend of approximately US$25,000 at U. Va. and US$27,500 at Chicago for living expenses. Research tuition and health insurance fees also are covered. The higher stipend at Chicago is to cover a slightly higher for cost of living. Students are responsible for travel costs to and from the United States. The stipend is sufficient to cover living expenses, including accommodation and subsistence. Once a student accepts an offer, he/she will obtain the necessary paperwork required to issue documentation for a student visa. This documentation is mailed to students using a courier service; students are responsible for obtaining a visa from an appropriate U.S. consulate. Students are responsible for all fees associated with the visa process.

Most students coming to U.Va share accommodations rented at University Heights , a housing complex within walking distance of U.Va. Other options, such as renting small houses or apartments, are also possible. U.Va. and the City of Charlottesville operate bus service which provides a convenient means of transportation. At the University of Chicago, there is ample apartment space available close to the campus. Many times apartments and furniture are passed along between outgoing and incoming students.

Tentative Projects for 2011-12

The University of Virginia has the following tentative projects available for traineeships. Click on the link below to review information on tentative projects.

Tentative Projects

Student Life at U.Va.

Although the University of Virginia has expanded to encompass more than one thousand acres, it still retains the intimacy that characterized the Academical Village. University planners have been careful to reserve open space for study and contemplation while erecting modern facilities for each of the University's eleven schools. More information about graduate student life at U.Va. may be found
at the Graduate Guide.

Each year, the area attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists, who come to see the Grounds of the University, visit the homes of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe, tour local wineries, and hike through the Shenandoah National Park, just 20 miles west in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Charlottesville has its own traditions. The community celebrates each spring with a Dogwood Festival and New Year’s Eve with First Night Virginia fireworks and entertainment. Steeplechase fans attend the Foxfield Races, and every spring, runners in the Charlottesville Ten-Miler rush through town toward the finish line at University Hall.

A pedestrian mall downtown offers fine dining, distinctive shops, art galleries, and nightspots in a historical section of the city. In the Court Square area, lawyers and business people occupy offices in buildings dating back to the 1700s. The city is known for its fine restaurants, appealing to every taste and budget, and many establishments present nightly entertainment by local artists. The Virginia Film Festival brings new visitors and celebrities to the area each fall, along with movies, seminars, and premieres. The Virginia Festival of the Book brings poets, writers, and novelists to Charlottesville each spring.

Charlottesville is located 120 miles from Washington, D.C., and 70 miles from Richmond. The Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport (CHO), a non-hub, commercial service airport, offers 60 daily non-stop flights. Major highways convenient to the city include Interstate 64 and U.S. Route 29. Nationwide bus and railway service for passengers and freight is provided by Greyhound, AMTRAK, Norfolk Southern, and the CSX Corporation. The Charlottesville Transit Service and the University Transit Service provide bus service on Grounds and around the city.

History of Program & Opportunities for Graduate Study

The VRGTP has been in place since 2001, although it was limited in scope for the first few years. In 2006, the University of Chicago became the second host institution in the United States. Since inception, almost 100 students have participated in the program. All participants have successfully defended their Masters theses, and most went on to pursue graduate degrees in Europe and in the United States, including at U.Va. and the University of Chicago. The contributions of students who have participated in the program are documented by the numerous papers, which they co-authored, based on research conducted during their time in Chicago or Charlottesville.

Papers Co-Authored by Program Participants

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  Maintained by: Beth J. Beal
Last Modified: Monday, 27-Feb-2012 09:21:46 EST
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