Corporate affiliates program aims for energy and environment solutions
Posted December 13, 2011; 09:46 a.m.
PSEG joins as inaugural charter member
In an effort to accelerate innovation in sustainable energy and environmental technology, a collaborative network known as the Princeton Energy and Environment Corporate Affiliates Program has been created at Princeton University to engage a wide range of businesses.
The program is being led by Princeton's Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment in close partnership with the University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the Princeton Environmental Institute and the School of Architecture. PSEG, the parent company of the New Jersey-based utility PSE&G and other energy companies, signed on Nov. 30 as the program's first charter member.
The program offers member companies special access to expertise at Princeton in scientific, engineering, economic and public policy issues related to energy and the environment. Member companies will provide Princeton with financial support that will seed new research and education initiatives to address critical needs for sustainable energy and environmental protection. The companies also will have opportunities to use shared laboratory facilities, to hire students and to offer strategic guidance to Princeton researchers on the practical opportunities and barriers in transferring research to the marketplace.
"Businesses play an essential role in translating scientific knowledge and technological innovations into practical solutions," said Lynn Loo, the deputy director of the Andlinger Center who is leading the corporate affiliates program. "This program will open partnerships between member companies and Princeton faculty, while fostering and strengthening interactions among members from a variety of industries. Together, we will create investment opportunities that revitalize the energy sector, disseminate deep knowledge to inform our policy leaders, and develop measures to protect the environment."
Ralph Izzo, president, chairman and CEO of PSEG, said the corporate affiliates program can be "an important bridge between academic research and corporations such as ours."
"It is important that we transfer ideas developed in academia to the marketplace and lessons learned in the marketplace to academia — especially in advancing sustainable approaches to energy and the environment," Izzo said. "This endeavor can help make that happen. PSEG, like Princeton, is an important New Jersey institution and we are proud to be the first charter member in this new and exciting partnership."
The program is structured with three levels of participation by businesses: charter members, general members and affiliate members. Charter and general members will have seats on the affiliates advisory committee, which will meet annually to give advice on the strategic directions of the program. Charter members also have pre-negotiated royalty-free licenses to intellectual property derived from the research they fund. In addition, charter members may assign an individual from the company to work on campus in office space provided by the Andlinger Center during the term of their membership.
Affiliate membership is designed to encourage participation from small, growing and entrepreneurial businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Loo, working with Princeton's Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations, is in the process of contacting a select group of companies to discuss the program and encourage participation. It is anticipated that at full strength, the program will have approximately two dozen charter or general members and about 10 affiliate members. The inaugural annual meeting of members will be held on Princeton's campus during the summer of 2012.
Bringing many types of businesses and a broad range of academic expertise together is a key step in ensuring sustainable energy and a clean environment for future generations, said Emily Carter, the Andlinger Center's founding director.
"The problems of energy and the environment are complex and require that many organizations and people work together to solve them," Carter said. "That is the common vision for the Andlinger Center and all our campus partners. The corporate affiliates program is a key vehicle for making that vision a reality."