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, which includes the offices of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Laboratory Animal Resources, Research Integrity and Assurance, Research and Project Administration, and Technology Licensing, oversees the solicitation, acceptance and administration of research grants from government and other sources. The office also manages relationships with corporations and foundations, regulatory compliance, and the patenting and licensing of discoveries made in Princeton laboratories.
External sources funded 1,374 separate projects in 2011-12 (not including the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory): There were 614 sponsored projects in the natural sciences, 460 in engineering and applied science, 157 in the humanities and social sciences, and 143 in centers, institutes and nondepartmental programs. Expenditures for these projects totaled $192 million — 84.4 percent from government and 15.6 percent from foundations, corporations and other sources. Including PPPL, the University received approximately $274 million in 2011-12 in research funding from external sources.
Students have numerous opportunities to become members of the scientific 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 scientific 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.
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 2012 is approximately $82 million.