Freshman Research in Plants (FRIPS)

What is the FRIPS Program?

The FRIPS Program (Freshman Research in Plants) is a specially designed program to expose new college students to the vital and exciting research being done with plants and to encourage them to consider a research career in plant biology. FRIPS is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. We anticipate that 10-12 positions will be available for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Why Study Plants?

Plants are cool. Plants move, grow, breathe, and even see. They have muscles, choose mates, have families and sleep. They know self-defense and how to wage chemical war. They’re solar-powered and recyclable. They are varied and diverse, and they can live a long time. Plants are used as research tools by biochemists, molecular biologists, physiologists, ecologists, evolutionary biologists, geneticists, computer scientists and more. Basic research on plants has shed light on how cells, organisms, populations and ecosystems function. They can be studied indoors under controlled conditions, outdoors in fields and in interactions with things in their environment (water, insects, heat, chemicals, etc.).


    • First-Year/First-Time, undergraduate student at MU
    • Intended major(s) in biochemistry, biology, environmental science, computer sciences, chemistry, or plant sciences
    • Math or science ACT score of at least a 25 or a high school GPA of at least 3.0
    • Interest in plant biology research
    • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident

FRIPS students will…

• Be exposed to various areas of cutting-edge plant science
• Attend weekly professional development meetings as a group
• Learn basic skills in lab safety, greenhouse operations, and research ethics
• Meet other freshmen interested in plant biology research
• Work in a research lab 8-10 hours per week ($10.30/hr)
• Learn about research opportunities and funding beyond the freshmen year
• Refine professional skills
• Receive individual advising and coaching from their faculty mentor


Apply here! But before you begin, be prepared to:

  • Upload your resume (pdf format)
  • Describe three (3) personal goals for Fall 2021
  • Explain why you are interested in conducting undergraduate research
  • Summarize any prior lab, research, or advanced computing experience
  • Consider how involvement with plant research impacts your academic and/or career goals
  • Explain how your personal skills, strengths, and attributes will be helpful to you in research

Applications will be reviewed and interviews will occur on a rolling basis beginning August 23rd. The deadline for applications is September 3, 2021. Students may be invited for an interview prior to formal acceptance. Notification of your acceptance will be sent to your MU email address.


During the Fall 2021 semester, FRIPS students typically work 8-10 hours/week during the semester and earn $10.30/hour. During the Spring 2022 semester, FRIPS students will be paid $11.15/hour.

For more information, contact the Office of Undergraduate Research: 150 Bond Life Sciences Center, 573-882-5979,