Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund

Request for Proposals


The Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund (EWSF) was established at Princeton in 2009 by Princeton alumnus Eric Schmidt, the former executive chairman of Alphabet, Google's parent company, and his wife, Wendy. The Schmidts created the $25 million endowment fund for the invention, development, and utilization of cutting-edge technology that has the capacity to transform research in the natural sciences and engineering.

The purpose of the fund, as put forth by President Emerita Shirley M. Tilghman at its inauguration, is “to fund risk-taking projects, understanding that with risk comes not only the potential for huge reward, but some frequency of failure.”

The University therefore seeks to fund the following kinds of research:

  • The invention of a disruptive new technology having potential major impact on a field of research.
  • The development of equipment or an enabling technology that will transform research in a field. 

PI Eligibility

Faculty and research staff.


Proposal submission deadline: 5:00 p.m. November 17, 2023

Size and Term of Awards

The size of the awards is typically between $0.5M and $1M per project, depending on the number and requirements of high-quality proposals received. Funding will normally be spread over one or two years. In years where the quality of the submitted proposals is deemed inadequate, no awards will be made.

Allowable Expenses

Equipment, materials and supplies, support for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers directly working on the project. Renovation costs are not allowed, nor is salary support for the Principal Investigator or any research staff members. Additionally, these awards are exempt from indirect costs. 

Application Procedure

Proposals must be no longer than five pages, and should focus on the research proposed, emphasizing its potential significance and impact. Please be sure to address the following issues:

  • The proposal should explain why the invention or development of the specific technology is groundbreaking. 
  • Please include a simple budget containing sufficient detail to be reviewable by the committee. (The budget should be formatted on a separate page in the proposal and will NOT count towards the page limit.)
  • Proposed research that would combine support from the EWSF and other sources is eligible. In such cases the sources, amounts, and status of non-EWSF support must be specified. It is essential to emphasize the impact and leverage (“bang for the buck”) that a grant from the EWSF would provide.

Submission Information

Proposals should be sent electronically to John Ritter, Office of Technology Licensing ([email protected] ). Each PI will receive a prompt acknowledgement, as assurance that his/her submission has been properly received.

Selection Procedure

A peer-review committee will evaluate the proposals, and selection of awardees will be based entirely on the overall quality and innovativeness of the proposed research, its significance and its likely impact. The committee will be selected by the Dean for Research and will be composed of at least five faculty members and/or outside experts having scientific backgrounds across a variety of technical disciplines.

The committee will forward its recommendations to the University President, who will consider them and announce the winner(s). Typically, one to three proposals are recommended for funding on any given year.


John Ritter
Director, Office of Technology Licensing
T 609-258-1570
E [email protected]  

Call for Proposals


5:00 p.m. November 17, 2023.


Awards totaling between $500,000 and $1,000,000 per project, on average

Submission and Contact Information

Submit proposals via email to
John Ritter
Director, Office of Technology Licensing
T 609-258-1570
E [email protected]  


Download the Request for Proposals (PDF)