Dean for Research Innovation Funds

The Office of Dean for Research offers a series of competitive "innovation funds." These competitions encourage bold new ideas that involve the use of the campus as a lab, bold research in the natural sciences, collaboration between artists and scientists or engineers, and new partnerships with industry.

Proposals are reviewed by a committee of Princeton peers knowledgeable in the discipline being explored. Each committee will make funding recommendations.

    Innovation Fund for Industrial Collaborations

    This fund aims to support research collaborations between industry and academia. Tenured and tenure-track faculty members in Divisions III (Natural Sciences) and IV (Engineering) are invited to submit proposals online using this SharePoint Submission Form for Innovation Fund for Industrial Collaborations

    Applications should be brief, no more than two pages plus a separate budget page, and must include a letter of intent stating the partner company’s commitment to provide funding in year two. Applications can request up to $100,000 for year 1, and up to $75,000 in year 2. Funding for year 2 is contingent upon 1:1 matching by industry. Projects can therefore receive up to $250,000 over two years, of which up to $75,000 would come from industry, and $175,000 from the University.

    Expenditures can include equipment, supplies, graduate student stipends and tuition, post-­doctoral salaries and benefits, and undergraduate student stipends.

    A faculty committee will review the proposals and make funding recommendations. Proposals will be judged on the basis of quality, originality and potential impact. Other things being equal, preference will be given to faculty members who did not receive funding in previous rounds of this competition. Funding from a company in which a PI has significant financial interest is not allowed. For the purpose of this initiative, a PI has a significant financial interest in a company if he/she has received $5,000 or more in cumulative salary or payment for services during the previous 12 months, or if the value of any equity interest possessed by a PI in the company plus cumulative salary and payment for services during the past 12 months equals or exceeds $5,000.

    Submissions are limited to one proposal per faculty member.  Please contact Coleen Burrus, Director of Corporate Engagement and Foundation Relations, at cburrus@princeton.edu for any questions pertaining to this funding opportunity. 

    Innovation Fund for New Ideas in the Humanities

    This fund is designed to encourage innovation, as well as scholarship on enduring questions, in the humanities. Assistant professors, associate professors and professors in Division I (Humanities) are invited to propose projects that will result in the advancement of a discipline (through the development of new ideas, working groups, conferences, technologies, datasets, and/or expanded access to research resources) and/or a major piece of scholarly work.

    Proposers can request up to $50,000 (total) for projects lasting up to 2 years. Expenditures can include research assistants, consultants, faculty summer salary, publishing charges, equipment, event organization, and travel. Faculty release time (semester leave), preparation of textbooks and courses will not be supported through this innovation fund. The proposal should specifically describe how the funds will be utilized to accomplish the research objectives. The budget justification should list other funding applied for or received in the last two years in support of the project.

    A faculty committee will review the proposals and make funding recommendations. Proposals will be judged on the basis of quality, (the soundness and persuasiveness of the concept and the elegance of the research design), originality (how the proposal brings new ideas together to suggest surprising outcomes) and impact (the ways in which the proposed research will shift thinking in the field toward new methodological or topical directions).

    Submissions are limited to one proposal per faculty member. Please contact Karla Ewalt, Associate Dean for Research, at kewalt@princeton.edu for any questions pertaining to this funding opportunity. 

    Innovation Fund for New Ideas in the Natural Sciences

    This initiative is designed to support the exploration of new concepts and ideas that are at an early stage and therefore not ready for forming the basis of a competitive proposal submitted to a funding agency. Tenured and tenure-track faculty members in Division III (Natural Sciences, including Mathematics and Psychology) can request up to $100,000 per year for up to two years.

    Expenditures can include graduate student stipend and tuition, post-doctoral salary and benefits, undergraduate student stipend, and equipment.

    A faculty committee will review the proposals and make funding recommendations. Proposals will be judged on the basis of quality and originality, and must include a brief statement of plans to submit a regular proposal to a funding agency after two years. Special attention will be paid to the articulation of a compelling case for the exploratory nature of the research.  Applications should be brief, no more than two pages of text plus a separate budget page with justification.

    Other things being equal, preference will be given to faculty members who did not receive funding in previous rounds of this competition. Submissions are limited to one proposal per faculty member.

    Submit proposals to the attention of Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti (pdebene@princeton.edu). 

    Innovation Fund for New Ideas in the Social Sciences

    This fund is designed to encourage innovation, as well as scholarship on enduring questions. Faculty members are invited to propose projects that will result in the advancement of a discipline (through the development of new ideas, working groups, conferences, technologies, software, datasets, and/or expanded access to research resources) and/or a major piece of scholarly work. Tenured and tenure-track faculty in Division II (Social Sciences) can request up to $50,000 (total) for projects lasting up to two years.

    Expenditures can include research assistants, graduate student stipend and tuition (where applicable), postdoctoral researchers’ salary, consultants, publishing charges, equipment, event organization, travel, and costs related to purchasing, curating, or creating data. Faculty summer salary or release time (semester leave), preparation of textbooks and courses will not be supported through this innovation fund. The proposal should specifically describe how the funds will be utilized to accomplish the research objectives.

    A faculty committee will review the proposals and make funding recommendations. Proposals will be judged on the basis of quality (the soundness and persuasiveness of the concept and the elegance of the research design), originality (how the proposal brings new ideas together to suggest surprising outcomes) and impact (the ways in which the proposed research will shift thinking in the field toward new methodological or topical directions or the ways it will help address important social problems). Applications should be brief, no more than two pages of text plus a separate budget page with justification.

    Submissions are limited to one proposal per faculty member. Submit proposals to the attention of Associate Dean for Research Karla Ewalt (kewalt@princeton.edu).

    Innovation Fund for Research Collaborations between Artists and Scientists or Engineers

    This fund aims to support collaborations that bring together artists/the arts with scientists/science or engineers/engineering, allowing experts in seemingly unrelated fields to unify and expand their respective knowledge in ways that benefit both disciplines.

    Assistant, associate, and full professors and program directors in Division I (Humanities), and assistant, associate, and full professors in Divisions III (Natural Sciences) and IV (Engineering) are eligible to apply for this fund.

    Proposals should have at least two co-PIs, one from Division I and one from Divisions III or IV. Applicants can request up to $75,000 per year for up to two years. Expenditures can include graduate student stipend and tuition, post-doctoral salary and benefits, undergraduate student stipend, equipment, event organization, and travel.

    A faculty committee will review the proposals and make funding recommendations. Proposals will be judged on the bases of quality, originality, intellectually compelling case for a close collaboration between artists and scientists or engineers, and plans for making the activity self-sustaining through competitive funding.

    Other things being equal, preference will be given to faculty members who did not receive funding in the previous round of this competition. Submissions are limited to one proposal per faculty member. Submissions are limited to one proposal per faculty member.  Please contact Karla Ewalt, Associate Dean for Research, at kewalt@princeton.edu for any questions pertaining to this funding opportunity. 

    Innovation Fund for the Campus as a Lab: Faculty Research in Sustainability, Energy and the Environment

    At Princeton, the “Campus as Living Lab” approach is defined as a campus-based intersection of cultural, behavioral or operational activities and research that result in the advancement of sustainability problem-solving or discourse. Faculty from all four divisions may propose up to two research projects, one for undergraduate student research and another for graduate student or postdoctoral research. The intent is to make funding available for innovative projects that encourage faculty to collaborate with undergraduate and/or graduate students on studies that help promote campus sustainability and environmental responsibility. 

    One-year projects involving undergraduate students can receive up to $15,000 for research. Expenditures can include summer stipends, research-related travel by undergraduate students, capital equipment and laboratory supplies.

    One-year projects for graduate students or postdoctoral researchers can receive up to $150,000 for research. Expenditures can include graduate student stipend and tuition, post-doctoral salary and benefits, research-related travel by graduate students or postdocs, capital equipment, and laboratory supplies.

    This initiative is made possible through support from the Office of the Dean for Research, the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, the High Meadows Foundation Sustainability Fund, the Princeton Environmental Institute, the Office of the Dean of the College, and Facilities.

    Proposals should be no more than three pages long, plus a separate budget page, and will be evaluated by a faculty committee on the basis of quality and originality. Submit proposals to the attention of Associate Dean for Research Karla Ewalt (kewalt@princeton.edu).

    Open Calls for Proposals

    Campus as a Lab

    Deadline: To be announced
    Contact: Karla Ewalt (kewalt@princeton.edu)

    New Ideas in the Humanities

    Deadline: To be announced
    Contact: Karla Ewalt (kewalt@princeton.edu)

    New Ideas in the Natural Sciences

    Deadline: To be announced
    Contact: Pablo Debenedetti (pdebene@princeton.edu)

    New Ideas in the Social Sciences

    Deadline: To be announced
    Contact: Karla Ewalt (kewalt@princeton.edu)

    Industrial Collaborations

    Deadline: to be announced
    Contact: Coleen Burrus (cburrus@princeton.edu)

    Collaborations between Artists and Scientists or Engineers

    Deadline: To be announced
    Contact: Karla Ewalt (kewalt@princeton.edu)