Sustainability of Our Planet

The Innovation Fund for the Sustainability of Our Planet, made possible thanks to the extraordinary vision and generosity of John McDonnell ’60, supports research across the natural sciences, engineering and the social sciences focused on discovering, developing, and adopting sustainable solutions aimed at mitigating the effects of natural resource extraction and use, climate change, land-use change, and other human activities that degrade the environment and pollute Earth. High-impact solutions making a tangible difference in near- and medium-term range are of high priority for this funding.

The fund supports the exploration of new ideas and concepts aimed at finding sustainable energy solutions. Expenditures can include graduate student stipend and tuition, post-doctoral salary and benefits, undergraduate student stipend, travel, and equipment and supplies. Faculty summer salary is not allowed.

Brief descriptions of previously funded projects are available below.


Tenured and tenure-track Princeton faculty members in Divisions I (humanities), II (social sciences), III (natural sciences) and IV (engineering) are invited to submit proposals.

Submissions are limited to one proposal per faculty member.


Available funds ($300,000 total this year) may be allocated to one or more projects (e.g., one project receiving up to $300,000; or two projects receiving up to $150,000.) Projects can last up to three years. 


After completion of the project, a summary narrative and brief financial statement should be submitted to the Office of the Dean for Research, summarizing the outcomes and documenting expenses.  A copy of the suggested report template is available online


Applications are to be submitted online using the InfoReady Review platform. 

Applicants may use this template to compose a narrative of up to three pages.

Separate from the proposal narrative document, provide the following materials. A one-page budget that specifically describes how the funds will be utilized to accomplish the research objectives. A list of other internal or external funding (applied for or awarded) that explains how they relate to the research described in this particular proposal. A one- to three-page biographical sketch for each principal investigator or senior personnel on the project. When developing these materials, applicants are strongly encouraged to work with their regular grants manager, who will ensure that a prospective budget, other support, and biographical sketch will have all of the information needed for reviewers to assess them as key components of the proposal. If relevant to the proposed project, letters of support from collaborators may be included, but such letters are not required.

Proposals will be evaluated on the quality, originality, and potential impact of the research, as well as the availability of other internal and external resources to support the project.

Other things being equal, preference will be given to faculty members who did not receive funding in previous rounds of this competition.

Due Date

Online application submission is due by Friday, March 1, 2024.

Any questions may be brought to the attention of Karla Ewalt, Senior Associate Dean for Research, at [email protected].

Call for Proposals

  • Dates
    • Proposal submission deadline: Friday, March 1, 2024
    • Funding could start as early as: June 1, 2024
  • Apply
    • Upload your proposal here starting Jan. 8, 2024 (log-in required) 
  • Contacts
    • Karla Ewalt, Senior Associate Dean for Research
      [email protected]
    • Claire Gmachl
      Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering, Interim Director, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
    • [email protected]
    • Gabriel Vecchi
      Knox Taylor Professor of Geosciences and the High Meadows Environmental Institute
      Director, High Meadows Environmental Institute
      [email protected]

Forest viewed from above

Forest viewed from above. Image source: Shutterstock