UW Graduate School

Eligibility| Reach Out | Apply | Visit | Post-Visit | FAQs | Funding Opportunities | UW Opportunities | Leadership Team

Over 90% of postdoc jobs at R1 universities are funded from grants and contracts to faculty. How do you find out about them? By being a part of the network.

The Research Exchange supports eligible postdocs and Ph.D. students who have advanced to candidacy in the fields of Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Computer Sciences, and Engineering with travel funds to visit and network at one of eight prestigious R1 partner universities.

Is there a faculty member you want to explore working with? Use the Research Exchange to make that connection.

Lucas Vargas Zeppetello

“My experience with the Research Exchange was fantastic. Getting outside the UW and having the experience of a visiting scholar was empowering and gave me a lot of confidence in my research that carried me forward towards graduation.”

Lucas Vargas Zeppetello, Ph.D. Student, Atmospheric Sciences, Research Exchange to McColl Lab, Harvard University, January 2020


  1. Postdoctoral scholar or all-but-dissertation (“ABD”) Ph.D. student in the Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Computer Science, and Engineering
  2. Member of:
  3. Identifies as an underrepresented in their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field, especially including underrepresented minorities (URM) defined as Black or African American, Hispanix/Chicanx/Latinx, Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.
  4. Is a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or “dreamer” under DACA

If you have questions regarding eligibility, please contact the UW Research University Alliance (RUA) coordinator, Drew Gamboa, at dgamboa@uw.edu.

If you do not meet the eligibility criteria and wish to participate in an exchange, please contact your department and/or the relevant member of the Leadership Team to learn more about other potential travel opportunities.

Reach Out

Planning a Research Exchange visit starts with finding a lab that fits your needs, run by a faculty member you can see yourself working with.

In addition to checking with your current faculty advisor and your emerging network, we suggest:

Step 1. Check out faculty in your field(s) of interest at RUA partner universities. Here are the RUA contacts at each university partner. They are happy to help you make contacts.

Step 2. Once you have a list of potential faculty you would like to visit, initiate contact to find out whether a Research Exchange visit is the logical next step. Need help? The Leadership Team (see below) can connect you.


The deadlines are approximately monthly in October, January, April and July. Please apply to the UW RUA Research Exchange first so that we can assist in completing the programmatic application on the RUA site at UC Berkeley. The UW will fund approximately 15 senior Ph.D. students and postdocs on Research Exchange visits each year.

Apply now!

You will receive an automatic notification that your application was received and a formal determination letter via email within 30 days.

Need help? Contact UW Research University Alliance (RUA) Coordinator, Drew Gamboa at dgamboa@uw.edu.


What happens during a Research Exchange visit?  Here are some things you should plan for:

As a Ph.D. candidate:

  • Work with your host faculty member and their lab, to exchange techniques, ideas, and information.
  • Set up 1:1 meetings with faculty, postdocs or graduate students find out what it’s like to be there.
  • Give a lab meeting presentation or a “chalk talk.” Set up your visit so that you can show them how good you are.
  • Attend networking mixers, meals and social events. Figure out what life is like at a new institution.

As a postdoc:

  • Work with your host faculty member and their lab, to explore research and proposal writing collaborations.
  • Set up 1:1 meetings with the associate dean and department chair/director get to know the leadership.
  • Give a departmental seminar. Set up your visit to maximize interactions with faculty.
  • Attend networking mixers, meals and social events. Get a feeling for departmental culture.


Once you’re back at UW, there are just a few more things you’ll need to do:

  • Submit travel expenses for reimbursement within 30 days
  • Complete a Visit Evaluation to receive your reimbursement


For UW Principal Investigators

Q: Can UW principal investigators reach out to Ph.D. students and postdocs from other institutions to apply for a visit to UW? 

A: Yes, then they should direct these candidates to the RUA contacts at that institution. Need help? Email UW’s Research University Alliance Coordinator Drew Gamboa, dgamboa@uw.edu.


Q: Are long-term funds for visiting postdoctoral scholars available?

A: No, no salary or benefits are available through this program. The Research Exchange provides short-term travel funds, up to $1,500 USD.

Q:  Are there specific institutions that UW students and postdocs can visit?

A: Yes, any eligible postdoc or Ph.D. candidate can apply to visit a faculty lab at: Berkeley, CalTech, GeorgiaTech, Harvard, Michigan, Stanford, UT-Austin, or UCLA.  And postdocs and students from any of these eight RUA partner institutions can visit UW.

Q: Do I need to identify a host lab before filling out an application?

A: No, this is optional, but it’s a great idea to talk with your faculty advisor about possibilities before applying. Need help making a connection? Email UW’s Research University Alliance Coordinator, Drew Gamboa, dgamboa@uw.edu.

Q: How will I know my application is received and accepted?

A: You will receive an automatic email that your application has been received and a determination letter within 30 days of submission.

Q: I am not a member of one of the 26 listed UW schools/departments/institutes, can I still apply for an exchange?

A: Yes, Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars from research science disciplines outside those listed may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please check with the UW’s Research University Alliance Coordinator Drew Gamboa, dgamboa@uw.edu, before applying.

Q: I do not identify as one of the underrepresented minority groups listed, but I am considered a minority in my field (e.g., Persian female in engineering) can I still apply for an exchange?

A: Yes, Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars from minority groups outside those listed will be considered.

Q: I identify with multiple underrepresented groups, or a mix of groups, is there a way to specify that, and can I still apply?

A: Yes, multiple, or mixed groups, can be specified within the application, and these individuals can and should apply.

Q: I do not identify as a minority, but I would still like to apply for an exchange. Is that possible?

A: Yes, all applications from Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars in participating units will be considered.

Q: I just graduated with my Ph.D., but I was hired as “Research Scientist” can I still apply?

A: No, only those with UW postdoctoral scholar titles can apply.

Q: Does my postdoctoral position cover my salary on my exchange?

A: Work with your supervisor/PI to determine how your salary will be covered during your exchange – via contract/working hours, vacation time off, personal holiday time off, unpaid time off or some combination.


Q: When will in-person visits begin?

A: The first in-person visits are expected to occur in August 2021, in accordance with CDC guidelines and on-campus restrictions.

Q: Which university pays for my research exchange?

A: Your home university pays for your exchange to another university (e.g. UW pays for UW’s students and postdocs to visit other universities).

Q: Can some travel expenses be purchased a priori, instead of through reimbursement?

A: Yes, for airfare. No, for lodging. Contact the UW’s Research University Alliance Coordinator Drew Gamboa, dgamboa@uw.edu, for additional questions.

Q: Is the duration of my exchange restricted?

A: Exchange visits vary from 2-7 days in duration and reimbursement will not exceed $1,500 in travel expenses.

Q: Are travel expenses restricted?

A: Yes, travel expenses are limited to an economy fare airfare, lodging, food per diem and incidental travel expenses (e.g. uber/lyft/taxi, light rail ticket, airport parking, etc.).


Q: How long do I have to submit my travel expenses after my trip?

A: Submit expenses within 14 days (2 weeks) of travel.

Q: What else am I responsible for?

A: Participants in a Research Exchange visit need to fill out a post-visit evaluation.

Q: Is it possible to go on a second exchange?

A: Second visits, to a different lab and university, may be possible, depending on funding availability. Check with the UW’s Research University Alliance Coordinator, Drew Gamboa, dgamboa@uw.edu, before applying again.

Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Email Drew Gamboa, UW Research University Alliance (RUA) Coordinator, at dgamboa@uw.edu.

RUA Opportunities and Events

  • Professional Development Workshop: “Designing Your Postdoc,” hosted by Stanford University. June 17th from 9am to 12pm (PST). Learn more and register here.
  • 2022 RUA Conference. My RUA Community: Celebrating the Whole Self. September 12th to 14th at Caltech.

Funding Opportunities

  • WRF Postdoctoral Fellowships (WRF-PF). Deadline June 26th, 2022.
  • CyberCorps Scholarship for Service (SFS). Deadline July 15th, 2022.  
  • Postdoctoral Fellow in Animal Behavior and Sensory Neuroscience (Venkatesh N. Murthy Lab).
  • Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (AGS-PRF). Deadline: apply anytime.
  • Innovative Postdoctoral Entrepreneurial Research Fellowship (I-PERF). Deadline: registration phase open.
  • Institute for Global Change Biology Postdoctoral Fellows (IGCB), University of Michigan. Recruiting 6-10 postdoctoral scholars.

UW Opportunities

“Participating in the Research Exchange provided me with a structured opportunity to interact with potential collaborators and advisors, share my research, brainstorm potential future research projects, and receive crucial mentorship/feedback at an early stage in my career. Most excitingly, it kicked of a sequence of events that led to a successful tenure-track faculty interview and offer at the Georgia Institute of Technology before I even defended my Ph.D.”

Isaiah Bolden, Ph.D. Student, Oceanography, Research Exchange to Kobb Lab, Georgia Institute of Technology, January 2020

Leadership Team

  • Julia Parrish, Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, College of the Environment, jparrish@uw.edu
  • Anind Dey, Dean, Information School, anind@uw.edu
  • Drew Gamboa, RUA Program Coordinator, dgamboa@uw.edu
  • Bill Mahoney, Associate Dean for Student and Postdoctoral Affairs, UW Graduate School, wmahoney@uw.edu
  • Daniel Pollack, Divisional Dean for the Natural Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, pollack@uw.edu
  • Daniel Ratner, Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, College of Engineering, dratner@uw.edu
  • Kevin Williams, Executive Director, Applied Physics Laboratory, klw8@uw.edu

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. HRD-2015104 AM03. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.