Overview of the UTRIP 2013 program

Figure 1

UTRIP 2013 was implemented from 10 June to 9 August, 2013. The program consisted of two six-week sessions: The first ran from 10 June through 19 July, and the second from 1 July through 9 August. We set the program schedule with consideration for the different academic calendars of the participants. Compared with the past programs, this year showed a sharp increase in the number of applications. For the maximum of twenty positions, we received 430 applications from 157 universities in 29 countries. The competition was more severe than ever before. After the application materials had been examined, 28 candidates were selected. Lab placements were made based on matching prior research experiences and areas of interests. The selected students were all highly motivated and were seriously considering the pursuit of higher education in scientific areas.

Generally, many undergraduate students spend hours in the classrooms with little practical experience such as designing a research plan and conducting research in a standalone way, whereas the recent job market requires people with the ability to work with flexibility and diverse points of view. It is also so in scientific research areas. We expected the students to broaden their views and open their eyes to new experiences and become more culturally aware during the program. The underlying policy of the program is shared by two associations which provide the school with financial support — Daiwa Securities Group Inc. and Friends of Todai, Inc.

At the reception hosted by the school, a representative of Daiwa Securities Group Inc., Mr. Atsuo Tachikawa, Executive Director, Myanmar Business Planning Section, Corporate Planning Dept., pointed out the significance of the program: "UTRIP is not just a program on which to study; it is also designed to give participants a broader view so that they can look at things from international points of view." showing his experience in business as an example. Dr. Masaaki Yamada, Director of the University Relations of FOTI and Chair of the FOTI Selection Committee, also remarked that the UTRIP would "significantly broaden the global views of participating students."

The UTRIP program includes laboratory work mentored by lead researchers and postdoctoral fellows, along with literature reviews, participation in lab meetings, and attendance at research workshops and seminars. At the closing of the program, all participants presented findings from their own scientific research over six weeks. They also wrote up the research reports.

Voices of UTRIP 2013 participants:

  • I was unsure about whether to choose going to a graduate school or opting for a career before participating the program. Now I am very strongly considering obtaining a PhD degree in my field of study.
  • UTRIP helped me to confirm that I want to pursue a career in research and it made me want to apply to UTokyo (the University of Tokyo) for a graduate school.
  • The program gave me a chance to expose frontier science with technology which was not found in a regular lab at my home university. The research was super interesting to me.

Thank you for supporting UTRIP.
Daiwa Securities Group Inc.
FOTI