Graduate Research Cooperative

The Graduate Research Cooperative (GRC) is an initiative of the University of Chicago Office of the Vice President for National Laboratories, Science Strategy, Innovation, and Global Initiatives that coordinates and administers projects that involve UChicago graduate students performing PhD thesis research on site at a National Laboratory in National Laboratory-funded programs. The GRC ensures that each project meets program requirements and manages all financial transactions related to student support. The GRC meets these objectives by requiring that every graduate student engaged in the GRC apply for the appropriate program and be approved by the GRC Director.

The GRC, which launched as a pilot phase in October 2019, currently places Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) graduate students at Argonne National Laboratory. The GRC was conceived as part of the Joint Task Force Initiative (JTFI), which brings UChicago resources to bear in helping Argonne and Fermilab achieve mission success. The GRC eventually will expand to include other University academic departments and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

Interested in conducting research with an Argonne scientist? View a list of current Argonne scientists who are approved to work with UChicago students through GRC.

The GRC is led by Paul Nealey, the GRC Faculty Director and Dougan Professor in Molecular Engineering.

Executive support is provided by Heather Crews, Chief of Staff for Science Strategy, Innovation, and Global Initiatives. 

GRC oversight is provided by an Executive Committee composed of UChicago and Argonne senior leadership.

Learn more about the pilot phase.

How it Works

Graduate students participating in the GRC participate in one of two programs. The PhD Research In-Residence Program is for new PhD students who express an interest in conducting the research-centric portion of their program at Argonne National Laboratory for the duration of their graduate career. The Collaborative Research In-Residence Program is for current PhD students who express an interest in continuing the research-centric portion of their program at Argonne National Laboratory

All students participating in the GRC are part of teams consisting of the PhD student, an Argonne National Laboratory PI who will serve as the Primary Research Advisor, and a Primary Academic Advisor. The Primary Academic Advisor will be a UChicago faculty member from the academic unit of the Graduate Student and will at all times have primary responsibility for the GRC student’s academic progress. The Primary Academic Advisor will serve on all committees related to candidacy and thesis defense and meet with the Graduate Student periodically to assure their well-being.

How to Participate

Argonne National Laboratory scientists seeking entry into the GRC should request PME affiliation by submitting an application package including:

  • the applicant’s rationale for seeking membership,
  • a description of the proposed research to be undertaken,
  • the University unit where collaborations currently exist or will be established,
  • a current CV,
  • a letter of recommendation from the applicant’s cognizant supervisor of the home institution, and
  • a long-term financial plan for how GRC students will be supported in his or her laboratory. 

These materials should be submitted to Paul Nealey, with copy to Heather Crews. The application will be evaluated by the UChicago academic unit and, if approved, the scientist will be notified to apply for affiliated status through the UChicago CASE portal.

Graduate students seeking entry into one of the GRC programs should consult the Office of Student Affairs within the PME for information on the process and documentation required for participation.

More Information

For more information please contact Paul Nealey and Heather Crews.