Scholarship and Research
Scholarship and research are essential components of the University’s enterprise. Pushing the frontiers of knowledge and addressing real-world problems, Princeton scientists and scholars conduct research across the spectrum of intellectual inquiry. Every member of the faculty engages in research, and each year the members of the faculty publish more than 3,000 scholarly documents. In addition, graduate students and undergraduates pursue independent research. While many research projects begin with individual scholars and scientists working within their academic departments, others arise from collaborations among traditional academic disciplines.
The Office of the Dean for Research supports Princeton’s mission to be one of the leading research universities in the world by uniting people, resources and opportunities for the creation, preservation and transmission of knowledge. Within the Office of the Dean for Research are five departments that address different aspects related to scholarship and research. Research and Project Administration oversees the solicitation, acceptance and administration of research grants from government and other sources. Research Integrity and Assurance ensures that research activities involving human, animal and biohazardous agents are performed in compliance with applicable federal or state regulations and also reviews financial conflicts of interest. Laboratory Animal Resources provides humane care, research support and veterinary services for research animals based on a philosophy of compassion and respect. Technology Licensing supervises the patenting and licensing of discoveries made in Prince-ton laboratories. Corporate and Foundation Relations manages relationships with partners in the business community and with charitable foundations for the support of research projects.
Students have numerous opportunities to become members of the research community and pursue new channels of investigation through the bachelor of arts (A.B.), bachelor of science in engineering (B.S.E.) and interdisciplinary programs. Undergraduates actively participate in research through a required senior thesis project. These projects range from hunting for genes linked to colorectal cancer to developing a technique for measuring the irrigation needs of plants. To reinforce classroom learning, students have many research resources on campus, from the Peyton Hall telescope for stargazing to the Frick Chemistry Laboratory, which features state-of-the-art laboratories and instrumentation. Scholarship and research also take students far beyond Princeton through vibrant partnerships with faculty and institutions around the world.
External sources funded 1,363 separate projects in 2012-13 (not including the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory). There were 612 sponsored projects in the natural sciences, 467 in engineering and applied science, 146 in the humanities and social sciences, and 138 in centers, institutes and nondepartmental programs. Expenditures for these projects totaled $199 million — 84.6 percent from government and 15.4 percent from foundations, corporations and other sources. Including PPPL, the University received approximately $280 million in 2012-13 in research funding from external sources.
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) is a collaborative national center for plasma and fusion science. Its primary mission is to make the scientific discoveries and develop the key innovations that will lead to fusion as a safe, economical and environmentally attractive energy source. Associated missions include conducting world-class research along the broad frontier of plasma science and providing the highest quality of scientific education. The laboratory, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, is located on the James Forrestal Campus. PPPL has approximately 445 employees, and the laboratory’s budget in federal fiscal year 2013 is approximately $85 million.