Faculty Publications

Training Students With T-Shaped Interdisciplinary Studies In Predictive Plant Phenomics

Document Type


Journal/Book/Conference Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings




Modern engineering and data analysis techniques make it feasible to develop methods to predict plant growth and productivity based on information about their genome and environment, however students trained with broader skillsets will be needed to unlock this potential. This paper describes the structure and activities of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Traineeship (NRT) award focusing on Predictive Plant Phenomics (P3). Our program aims to increase agronomic output as highlighted by the National Plant Genome Initiative's current five-year plan [NST, 2014]. Ph.D. training production levels and types are not always a good fit for addressing complex technical and societal problems such as these. To train these scientists, the P3 NRT is using the T-training model proposed by the American Society of Plant Biology (ASPB) and described in "Unleashing a Decade of Innovation in Plant Science: A Vision for 2015-2025". This approach requires that students get broader exposure to multiple disciplines, work with industry and develop effective communication and collaboration skills without increasing the time to graduation. This paper describes how we are working towards meeting these challenges. Initial results show that the students have more contact with faculty across departments than single discipline graduate students and that the students are open to learning about new areas. However, we are still grappling with issues such as finding the best mechanism for balancing student skills as they start their program in leveling activities such as bootcamps and initial course training.


Department of Psychology


Center for Social & Behavioral Research

Original Publication Date



UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa



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