Department of
Plant Biology

Robert J. Graesser Award

for Undergraduate Research in Plant Biology

Next Deadline: Friday January 21, 2022

Robert J. Graesser grew up on a farm near Trenton in southern Illinois. He attended the University of Illinois and graduated with B.S. degrees in Botany and the Teaching of Biology in 1973. After continuing his studies at the University of Texas at Austin and UC Davis, Mr. Graesser enjoyed a highly successful career in private industries including Ciba-Geigy, Rhone-Poulenc, Aventis and Bayer CropScience.

Mr. Graesser's lifelong interest in plant biology was profoundly motivated by a class in plant physiology and a research project he carried out as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois. Accordingly, Mr. Graesser created this award to enable future undergraduates at Illinois to enjoy as productive and fulfilling a research experience as he had when he attended the university.

Eligibility and Award Details:

  • One award of approximately $1000 will be made annually.
  • Applicants must be undergraduates conducting research in a core U of I Plant Biology faculty (not affiliate) member's laboratory or field site, or planning to do so before the beginning of the next academic year.
  • Applicants need not be majoring in Integrative Biology and can come from any U of I department.
  • The award can be used:
    • As a stipend (living expenses) during the academic year or summer.
    • For travel expenses to do research at a remote site (but not to attend a conference)
    • For research expenses in a UIUC Plant Biology laboratory or field site
  • Applications should be submitted electronically as Word or PDF documents to
  • Inquiries about the award or application procedure should be addressed to the above email address, or to the Office Manager of Plant Biology.

Application materials must include the following for full consideration:

  1. Up-to-date college transcript (U of I plus any other institution attended).
  2. Description of proposed research project (one page, single-spaced). If you are already working in the lab in which the award will support future research, describe here how long you have been in the lab and what work you've already done.
  3. Letter of support from professor under whom research will be conducted.
  4. Budget and brief justification for each budget item.

Applications will be read and evaluated by the Graduate Affairs Committee of the Plant Biology Department and the winner will be announced within a week of the competition's deadline.