Facts & Numbers
The Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) fundamentally alters the paradigm of undergraduate education in the sciences, offering a broad range of first-year students the opportunity to progress in their degree plans while performing cutting-edge, original and publishable research. It is changing the way students learn science at The University of Texas at Austin, and will serve as a model for other colleges and universities as they look to modernize their curricula and priorities for the 21st century.
MORE STUDENTS and OPPORTUNITIES
FRI is the only program in the nation that places 500 freshmen in dedicated labs doing real, original research. The days of cookbook labs are becoming extinct. This program is modular, exportable and infinitely scalable.
- > 600 freshmen per year.
- > 40% from underrepresented groups.
- > 70% still researching at the end of their third year.
- Over 20 unique research areas, including many that were not previously accessible for freshman
BETTER STUDENTS and PREPARATION
Coursework is directly integrated with research and the learning structure is completely reorganized. In a sense, FRI opens up a faculty member’s lab to 30 students; faculty and graduate student projects benefit from increased involvement, and undergraduates learn how to be part of the scientific community.
- FRI students have higher GPAs and get more scholarships.
- They remain in scientific career paths and participate more fully in the research community.
- Freshmen are involved directly with top faculty and graduate students.
- FRI graduates are better prepared for honors theses, industry internships, graduate school and research experiences abroad.
- They gain critical thinking, technical and problem solving skills.
REAL RESEARCH and RESULTS
Students participate in research streams in chemistry, biochemistry, nanotechnology, molecular biology, physics, astronomy or computer sciences. They design AI driven cars, select aptamers for use in therapeutics and diagnostics, explore the theoretical physics of white dwarf stars, and mathematically model the spread of infectious diseases.
- Students participate in authentic research from the start.
- They work on their own independent, hypothesis driven project, within the larger research question.
- Students publish in peer-reviewed journals and present at national conferences.
- Their data contributes to larger faculty research projects.