Being the basis of the PhD study the research project spans throughout the whole period of the students stay in the program. The research project aims at qualifying the student for independent and professional scientific work. In the beginning of the PhD study the student will choose three different laboratories for the rotation period, according to his/her research interests. During this period the student will learn the fundamentals of scientific methodologies and theories and is getting introduced into the scientific work of the different laboratories. After the rotation period the student will declare preference for a PhD project in one of the laboratories. The student will have to select a graduate guidance committee, consisting of at least three faculty members, with one faculty member serving as the major professor. The guidance committee will have at least one member of the associate faculty of the Michigan State University. Throughout the PhD research project the student will deliver annual reports to the committee members in form of a written report and a presentation/discussion of the project in committee meeting. All students will complete a 6 to 9 months research stay at the Michigan State University. Students will be prepared for the international experience, if necessary, by language classes at HHU. Supervision of graduate students at MSU will be guaranteed by the MSU faculty member being part of the student's guidance committee. In the last semester of the iGRAD-Plant program the student will complete the research project and prepare the PhD thesis report. The student will have to defend the PhD thesis in a public oral exam. The exam has to be taken at least 6 month after handing in the PhD thesis report.