Trainee Requirements

Our vision is to develop and implement a model academic approach for cultivating a more integrated, interdisciplinary faculty.  The program will foster faculty who can communicate across the divide between disciplines,  are proactive in addressing national-priority issues as applied locally and regionally, and are better equipped to communicate research-guided methodologies to engage the citizenry in sustained economic and environmental bioenergy development.  This will require progress in integrating disciplines in the land-grant university mission of discovery, learning, and engagement.

The IGERT Education and Training program emphasizes discovery both in cutting edge disciplinary research and at the interfaces between disciplines, through the novel implementation of core research teams and involvement of outstanding research mentors.  New learning opportunities are provided to IGERT trainees in planned classroom, seminar, conference, certificate program, and field experience  activities.  This learning will be deepened for IGERT trainees and expanded to undergraduate researchers through research mentorship opportunities.  Engagement is assured through collaboration with agricultural biomass producers and bioenergy industrial partners.  These program features also ensure trainees embody scholarship elements of discovery, integration, application, and teaching in their graduate program. 

The IGERT program is an innovative educational and training program that recognizes certain realities.  First, IGERT trainees will work, at least early in their careers, within the existing infrastructure of research that has disciplinary origins.  University colleges and departments, and publishing outlets, for example, most easily recognize and reward achievements within specific disciplinary boundaries.  Second, the most pressing problems of society are complex and require combinations of disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and cross-disciplinary thinking.  It is into this world that IGERT trainees will lead and transform the next generation of research scholars.

IGERT trainees will learn how to function within an interdisciplinary team to target practical, implementable, and effective solutions to complex socio-bio-physical issues associated with the world’s bioenergy future.  They will retain their disciplinary expertise/identity but gain knowledge of methods, knowledge, and skills of other disciplines that will allow discussion and development of truly integrated solutions.  The results will be (a) researchers that can participate in highly functional and highly fundable interdisciplinary teams and collaborations, and (b) projects that evolve to address not only cutting-edge disciplinary advances but also the indirect, and often unforeseen, issues in associated disciplinary areas.  From such projects will come results that have a direct and positive effect on community, regional, and global energy, environmental, and economic issues. 

The I-STAR Education and Training program features the following elements. 

IGERT Requirements and Opportunities:

Component Description Frequency of Participation
Field experiences:
3-5 day excursions to agricultural facilities and commercial biorefineries
4 times
I-STAR seminar series (1 credit each) 2 times/year
Student research seminars / technical conferences
2 oral presentations required
2 times
UG research student mentoring 1 time/year
Graduate certification in biobased products and bioenergy Optional
International experiences Optional

IGERT Timetable and Deadlines:

Attend lab safety training Orientation week
Complete annual data elemets collected on the trainee survey March 1 - April 31

Attend IGERT faculty presentations, visit IGERT faculty and their current research groups

August, September, early October of 1st year

Select major professor preferences October of 1st year
File committee appoint form
NOTE: Must appoint two co-major professors representing two different disciplines. Co-major professors assist in committee selection.
Before end of 1st year
Hold first program of study (POS) committee meeting and file POS form By 1st semester of 2nd year
Hold annual POS meeting Each subsequent October
Take preliminary examination By 1st semester of 3rd year By 1st semester of 3rd year
Submit thesis to POS committee 2 weeks prior to defense
Provide Ph.D. research seminar information, title and abstract to IGERT office 2 weeks prior to seminar