Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund

Request for Proposals


The Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund 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 Schmidt Fund is used to support the invention of entirely new technologies that will have a major impact on a field of research or the development of equipment or an enabling technology that will transform research in a field. Unlike most endowments, the fund does not need to be spent evenly from year to year. The dean for research has the discretion to recommend that no grants be awarded in years when there are no sufficiently compelling proposals, and to spend down principal as well as income in years when there are many compelling ideas. 

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

Tenured faculty, tenure-track faculty and research staff


Proposal submission deadline: 5:00 P.M. November 12, 2021

Size and Term of Awards

Awards totaling approximately $1,000,000 may be made each year on the average, 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 senior researchers. Additionally, these awards are exempt from facilities and administrative costs.

Application Procedure

Each proposal should be no longer than five pages, with an additional budget page, and should focus on the research proposed, emphasizing its potential significance and impact. Proposals should address the following issues:

  • An explanation of why the invention or development of the specific technology is ground-breaking
  • 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 toward the page limit)
  • Proposed research that would combine support from this fund and other sources is eligible. In such cases the sources, amounts, and status of other support must be specified. It is essential to emphasize the impact and leverage (“bang for the buck”) that a grant from this fund would provide.

Submission Information

Submit proposals via email to John Ritter, Director, Office of Technology Licensing, Each proposal will receive a prompt acknowledgement as assurance that it has been properly received.

Review Criteria

A peer-review committee will evaluate the proposals. Selection 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 comprise 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 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

Call for Proposals


5:00 P.M. November 12, 2021. Proposals are no longer accepted.


Awards totaling $1,000,000 per year, on the average

Submission and Contact Information

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


Download the Request for Proposals (PDF)