Program BioLAB 2022-23

The BioLAB Program offers one-year long (July to June/July) research traineeships to students enrolled in a Master or PhD degree programs in Poland in any area of biomedical sciences. Traineeships will be completed at one of the four host institutions in the U.S.:

University of Virginia
University of Chicago
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
UT Southwestern Medical Center BioLAB

The application for 2022-23 academic year is now open. Deadline for submitting an application is February 1, 2022, 11:59 PM.

The BioLAB Program (Visiting Research Graduate Traineeship Program) started in 2001 at the University of Virginia under the leadership of Professor Zygmunt Derewenda. In 2006, the University of Chicago became the second host institution in the United States, followed by the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in 2013 and University of Texas, Southwestern in 2014. Since its inception, more than 200 students have participated in the program.

Approximately 20% of BioLAB program’s graduates continued their studies at the Ph.D. level in the U.S., and another 20% were accepted to the top universities and research institutions in Europe, including Oxford, Cambridge, Max Planck and ETH. Overall, 90% of BioLAB participants have continued their careers at a Ph.D. level. 

The program participants’ contributions include co-authoring numerous papers based on the research they conducted in the U.S. In 2016, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation became the major coordinating center for the program.

The Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission has administered the BioLAB Program since 2013. Grants are fully funded by host institutions.

WE ARE LOOKING FOR STUDENTS:

  • Specializing in life sciences and medical fields,
  • Passionate about research and experienced in lab work, 
  • Who have a high grade point average (around 4.0),
  • Who are ready for a one-year stay in the US.

The Commission welcomes applications from all candidates regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status and physical or mental ability.

The BioLAB Program includes:

One-year long traineeship in a research laboratory. The BIoLAB Program is a chance to be a part of important research projects under the supervision of experienced mentors. In some cases, research findings can be used and published in a candidate’s Master/PhD thesis.

Salary is paid every 2 or 3 weeks. Students will have a status of a visiting graduate student or a research trainee.

The salary amount depends on the host institution’s location and it varies from 28 000 USD to 33 000 USD per year (students are responsible for any U.S. federal and/or state taxes).

Help in getting F1 or J1 visa (the cost of issuing a visa is covered by the grantee).

For the duration of the traineeship, students are covered by a comprehensive medical insurance plan offered by the host institution.

The Commission helps students prepare for their stay in the U.S. while the host institutions ensure they receive ongoing support during the course of the program.

FOR CANDIDATES

Individuals eligible to apply for the BioLAB Program have to meet the following criteria:

  • Meet formal requirements of a F-1 or J-1 visa,
  • Be enrolled in a graduate program where their major field of study is life sciences and/or medical fields of study (chemistry, biology, biotechnology, medicine, physics, pharmacy, biochemistry etc.),
  • Demonstrate knowledge of English proficiency at the B2 level or higher,
  • Hold a high grade point average from the course of their studies (GPA of 4.0 or above is recommended),
  • Hold, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree (licencjat/inżynier if the studies were completed in Poland) and at the time of an interview (March) will be enrolled in a Master’s or PhD program at a Polish university or research institution and maintain an active student status during the duration of the BioLAB program.

Before you apply

  • Be sure that you meet all formal criteria,
  • Read all the instructions, regulations, privacy policy and information at this website, 
  • Check available projects (you will find a link in the application form),
  • If you have any questions, contact the program specialist.

Prepare required documents

  • All attachments should be formatted in one PDF. file in the following order: CV, transcripts, personal statement, consent for participation in the program. A file should be named by your last name followed by your first name i.e.: Kowalski Jan.pdf

Prepare additional documents 

  • You can upload max. 5 additional documents (i.e. certificate of proficiency in English, confirmation of laboratory skills, publications),
  • All attachments should be formatted in one PDF. file. A file should be named by your last name followed by your first name and Supplement i.e.: Kowalski Jan Supplement.pdf

Get recommendations

Ask your referees to prepare confidential recommendation letters for you in a PDF. file. Referee must use THIS form to submit the letter –  Do not attach recommendation letters by yourself! You must not have access to the letters.

Application form

Fill out the application form, click HERE.

Remember: 

  • You do not have to fill out the application form in one go. You can open an account, save your answers and go back to filling out the application form later,
  • Recommendation letters must be submitted by the referees, 
  • You will not be allowed to submit any missing documents after the deadline.

All documents should be prepared in English and submitted to the application form. 

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae (C.V.) with a list of academic as well as non-academic accomplishments (please use the template).

Transcript

Bachelor’s diploma (licencjat/inżynier diploma if the studies were completed in Poland) and/or Master’s diploma, with diploma supplement and transcript (if applicable) and PhD’s transcript (if applicable).

Personal statement

Personal statement, i.e. a letter indicating candidate’s research interests, with justification, and future career plans (use the template).

Consent for participation

Consent for participation in the program signed by the Dean of the Faculty from the candidate’s home university as well as thesis supervisor (please use the template).

Letters of recommendation

Two recommendation letters submitted by the referees through the electronic form. If a candidate has participated in foreign internships, a letter from an internship mentor is welcome.

  • Students of Master’s studies in their second year must be granted a leave of absence by their home institution. 
  • In some cases, students may receive credits towards their second year and they will be able to use the results of their research towards a Master’s or PhD thesis at their home institution, 
  • The number of positions in any given year is subject to the availability of funding provided by the host institutions.

February 1, 2022

Deadline for submitting an application. 

We accept applications for the 2022-23 academic year by February 1, 11:59 PM.

March 1, 2022

The results of the substantive review will be announced. Selected candidates will receive invitations for interviews. The Selection Committee plans to qualify max. 60 candidates. 

The invited candidates will have to submit an additional document indicating max. two projects from each host institution (8 in total) with justifications for their selection. This selection of projects is not final and can be changed during the interview. If there is a large number of highly-rated candidates, an alternate list will be created.

March 5, 2022 

Deadline for submitting a transcript from the Fall 2021 semester for candidates selected for interviews. 

March 10-20, 2022

Interviews.

Unless there are special circumstances, the interviews will be conducted in person in Warsaw and/or any other selected by the Selection Committee city. In the event that travel is impossible, the interviews will be conducted remotely using ZOOM and the schedule will be set up by the Fulbright Commission.

The Selection Committee consists of the representatives of host institutions (Prof. Zygmunt Derewenda – University of Virginia, Prof. Anthony Kossiakoff – University of Chicago, Prof. Jose Rizo-Rey – University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Dr Umesh Deshmukh – Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation). 

There are 35-45 positions (this number may change). If all positions are not filled after the first round of interviews, additional interviews for candidates on the alternate list may be organized. In such a case, these additional interviews will take place March 25-30.

April 15

Preliminary results, placement process. 

End of April

Final results with the placements’ approval.

Mid-May

Pre-departure orientation in Warsaw or online. 

Late June-Early July

Departure to the U.S.

FAQ

The program provides you a year of high caliber research experience, working on an important and challenging project in one of the top Institutions in the United States. Often, the research you complete is published in high impact journals. In addition to your academic training, this extra year of intense research experience makes you highly competitive for the best PhD programs in the world. Our alumni have been accepted by Cambridge, Oxford, University of Chicago, University of Virginia, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, University of Oklahoma, Rockefeller University, Johns Hopkins University, ETH and University of Zurich, among many others.

The stipends differ slightly depending on the cost of living: ranging from $28,000/year in Oklahoma, going to $32,000 in Chicago. This stipend is more than sufficient to fully cover your costs of living, and have spare cash on hand.

Yes, all host institutions offer comprehensive health insurance. You will be informed about the details when you are offered a specific position.

The selected BioLAB stipend holders are responsible for travel. The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation reimburses return fare; this offsets the slightly lower stipend paid by this institution.

Once you accept an offer, the host institution will provide you with the visa documentation. Depending on the institution it will be F-1 or J-1. You will be informed about the process, it will require a visit to the Consulate and an interview. You are responsible to pay the cost of processing the visa application.

The host institutions do not provide housing and the BioLAB students are responsible for finding their own accommodation. However, each host institution has a significant infrastructure to assist incoming students with the selection of appropriate accommodation, typically shared apartments. You should expect no difficulties in finding good housing, if you seek assistance. Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation gives the option of moving into apartments leased exclusively for the BioLAB students.

There are mechanisms for US visas for spouses of F-1/J-1 visa holders. It is possible, in principle, for the spouse to obtain a work permit, although this may not be easy.  However, bear in mind that your primary commitment is to your work, and the presence of your spouse should not make this difficult. You will also be responsible for making independent housing arrangements that would accommodate both of you.

This program represents a unique research opportunity for you as a participant. You will be treated like a graduate student with the same expectations of productivity.  While there is no set time requirement for your lab work, you are expected to work diligently to achieve your goals. As with all graduate students, there will be times when you need to work in the evenings and some days on the weekend. This will ultimately benefit your training and education and you should be prepared for this. If you have any reluctance for this type of commitment, you should not apply to the program.

There are no set days of vacation, but there are national holidays that open up windows for travel, etc. If you organize your time wisely and put in extra work to compensate, it is generally possible to negotiate short breaks that will allow you to travel to see the country and meet up with friends at the other sites.

Unfortunately not. The key issue is the fit for a project. For instance, if you are a ‘dry’ bioinformatician, and there are no projects in this field – you are not likely to be offered a place in the program. Also, if there are several outstanding candidates for specific projects, the mentor will select one, and there may not be a suitable alternative for others. This is why an interview is so important to establish how flexible you are.

No. However, your condition should not be such that it will affect your ability to work in the laboratory. Each institution has resources that can help, but there are no provisions for long-term medical leave. These scenarios are rare and we will try to be flexible, but if your health is in jeopardy you may have to return to Poland to deal with it properly. Although you may not wish to disclose your health condition during the interview, the Selection Committee would be prepared to advise you, should you choose to discuss it, and you will have to provide details prior to enrollment to out Student Health Centers, which is confidential.

There are a number of projects that are highly over subscribed each year. You should therefore be prepared to be flexible since there will be good alternatives that should be just as suitable for you. There might be research areas that you are broadly interested in or you might be most interested in learning new techniques. This is what the interview process is for and is an opportunity to explore your options. If you have strong preferences against certain areas, we are sensitive to that, but that will limit your possibilities. 

Program Specialist

Patrycja Gołąb
Patrycja Donaburska
Senior Program Specialist

[email protected]
882-013-012

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