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Scholarship & Research

Scholarship and research are essential aspects of the University’s enterprise. Pushing the frontiers of knowledge and addressing real-world problems, Princeton scientists and scholars publish research across the spectrum of intellectual inquiry. Every member of the faculty is engaged in scholarly research; each year the members of the faculty publish more than 2,000 scholarly documents. In addition, graduate students and upperclass undergraduates pursue independent research. While many research projects begin with individual scholars and scientists working within their academic departments, many others arise from collaborations between traditional academic disciplines.

The Office of the Dean for Research, which includes Offices of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Research and Project Administration, and Technology Licensing, oversees the solicitation, acceptance, and administration of research grants from government and other sources as well as the patenting and licensing of discoveries made in Princeton laboratories.

According to figures available as August 1, 2007: External sources funded 1,229 separate projects in 2006–07 (not including the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory); there were 528 sponsored projects in the natural sciences, 447 in engineering and applied science, 168 in the humanities and social sciences, and 86 in centers, institutes, and nondepartmental programs; and funding for these projects totaled $145 million—86.6 percent from government, 8.2 percent from foundations, 3.4 percent from industry, and 1.8 percent from other sources. Including PPPL, the University receives approximately $220 million per year in research funding from external sources.

From learning fundamentals of physics through music in a freshman seminar to working at the cutting edge of electronics and materials research for a senior thesis, undergraduates have outstanding opportunities to explore science and research. Students are encouraged to become members of the scientific community and pursue new channels of investigation, through the A.B., B.S.E., and interdisciplinary programs.

To reinforce classroom learning, undergraduate students have many scientific resources on campus, from FitzRandolph Observatory for star-gazing to Icahn Laboratory for discussing the latest in genomics research. Scholarship and research also can take students far beyond Princeton; for example, the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology offers “a semester in the field” in Panama for juniors.


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 for the long-term. 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 420 employees, and the laboratory’s budget in fiscal year 2007 is $76.5 million.