Princeton University manages approximately one-quarter of a billion dollars of sponsored research funding annually. These funds support research efforts at Princeton and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), which is managed by the University.
The vast majority of sponsored research grants result from faculty-initiated proposals to government, foundation or corporate sponsors. A smaller number of research projects are funded directly by gifts, mainly from foundations and corporations interested in supporting particular programs. Additionally, University resources are directed toward Princeton’s research enterprise in several ways, including cost-sharing on grant proposals, overhead support, and fellowship support for first-year graduate students in the sciences and engineering.
Several offices assist with the solicitation, negotiation, and management of sponsored projects and gifts in support of research carried out at Princeton.
The Office of Research and Project Administration administers government grants and sponsored research and is responsible for compliance and regulatory matters related to sponsored research. The office also reviews, approves and submits all sponsored research proposals.
The Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations builds strategic partnerships with corporations and foundations in support of research and programs across all academic areas.
The Office of Technology Licensing protects and licenses University intellectual property, negotiates material transfer and confidentiality agreements, negotiates intellectual property terms related to sponsored projects, and oversees compliance with federal regulations regarding invention reporting under the Bayh-Dole Act.
The Office of Sponsored Research Accounting, part of the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Treasury, assists, guides and supports principal investigators and departmental administrators in the financial administration of their sponsored projects.
The first step in obtaining research funding is identifying appropriate sponsors and opportunities. Although there is no single database that provides comprehensive information about all grant-providing organizations, there are several internal and external websites that may serve as helpful resources. Additionally, e-mail announcements about internal and external funding opportunities are regularly distributed to the University research community.
The National Organization of Research Development Professionals maintains a comprehensive list of research grant mechanisms, types and programs representing collaborative, cross-disciplinary and team-based funding opportunities. The resource includes information from a number of federal agencies as well as information about corporate funding opportunities.
Corporate and foundation funding
Funding from corporations and foundations may be obtained in response to published solicitations as well as through ongoing relationships with sponsors. The Foundation Center compiles an extensive list of opportunities that may be searched by members of the Princeton community using the Foundation Directory Online from on-campus computers.
Princeton has ongoing relationships with a number of corporations and foundations that support research endeavors across the intellectual spectrum. Researchers who are interested in exploring and developing partnerships and collaborations with outside organizations are strongly encouraged to contact Corporate and Foundation Relations, which assists researchers in the identification and management of funding proposals for corporate and foundation sponsors. Members of the CFR team are available to provide members of the University research community with information about current requests for proposals and to offer strategic guidance on the development of productive research partnerships. Additionally, the Office of Research and Project Administration periodically announces formal corporate and foundation funding solicitations.
Grants from government agencies comprise the lion’s share of sponsored research funding at Princeton. Opportunities for all discretionary federal grants offered by the 26 grant-making agencies may be searched through Grants.gov, and individual agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy, also maintain their own lists of funding opportunities.
Dean for Research funding initiatives
The Office of the Dean for Research administers funding opportunities to support the University’s thriving research community in ways that complement and supplement traditional funding sources.
- The Dean for Research Innovation Funds encourage bold research in the natural sciences, collaboration between artists and scientists or engineers, and new partnerships with industry.
- The Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund supports the advancement of science and engineering through the development and use of entirely new technologies.
- The Bridge Fund supports key research staff members during critical gaps in extramural funding.
- The Intellectual Property Accelerator Fund, administered by Technology Licensing, supports the advancement of proof-of-concept, prototyping, data collection, and other research and development activities for a technology or invention with commercialization potential.
Selected University funding opportunities
The Grand Challenges initiative -- a collaborative effort among the Princeton Environmental Institute, the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs -- strives to tackle some of the most vexing and pressing global environmental problems of today and tomorrow through an integrative approach of interdisciplinary research and education.
The Global Collaborative Networks Fund, managed by the Council for International Teaching and Research, supports the development of international scholarly networks that engage Princeton with centers of learning worldwide.
The Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies Research Communities program provides funding to groups of faculty to engage research, teaching, and sustained dialogue on a common theme of interest within international studies that cuts across disciplines and world regions.