Annual Report 2012

The Office of the Dean for Research supports Princeton’s mission to be one of the leading research universities by uniting people, resources and opportunities for the creation, preservation and transmission of knowledge.

The Dean for Research and the offices that report to the dean — Research and Project Administration, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Technology Licensing, Research Integrity and Assurance, and Laboratory Animal Resources — work together to steward and administer our thriving research enterprise. Additionally, the dean for research, with the advice of the University Research Board, is responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies on sponsored research.

Princeton’s research administration provides the environment and tools required for continued creativity and productivity. This environment includes guidance and oversight to ensure that research is conducted with the highest scientific and ethical standards; access to resources that enable researchers to compete effectively for research funding; development of relationships between the University and corporations and foundations; and protection of the University’s intellectual property rights to make discoveries available to the public.

Support for research

Federal support for research is essential as a driver of innovation that benefits the national economy. The majority of the University’s research funding (83 percent) comes from federal agencies (see figure A). Another 14 percent comes from corporations and foundations, which are essential partners in funding endeavors that complement the federal investment in research. These include projects that combine research with education, projects that fill the gap between fundamental and applied research, and specific investigator-led projects.

Sponsored research expenditures have grown steadily over the past 10 years from $138 million in 2003 to $192 million, excluding the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), which is managed by the University (figure B). The number of research proposals submitted has grown by nearly 15 percent during the past five years from 924 in FY2008 to 1,061 in FY2012. Between FY2009 and FY2012, 84 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) awards resulted in $30 million to help further research and education at the University (not including PPPL). This funding enabled the creation of vigorous research programs that continue to thrive — despite the expiration of ARRA funding — due to the success of Princeton faculty in obtaining highly competitive awards.

Funding highlights include:

• The National Science Foundation awarded $50 million to fund U.S. groups participating in the international Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) collaboration, one of two particle detectors at the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva that discovered the Higgs boson as well as other new physics phenomena. Daniel Marlow, the Evans Crawford 1911 Professor of Physics, serves as the U.S. CMS Deputy Operations Program Manager.

• The U.S. Department of Defense awarded more than $1 million for the development of new theories and methods for evaluating “big data” generated from studies of the genome to understand biological regulatory networks. The awardee was John Storey, a professor of molecular biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.

• The DOE provided nearly $1.5 million for the development of a new class of high-efficiency, low-cost photovoltaic (solar) cells to James Sturm, the William and Edna Macaleer Professor of Engineering and Applied Science and director of the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials.

• A 2011 National Institutes of Health Early Independence Award, consisting of $1.8 million, was given to associate research scholar Nicole Basta in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology to fund her research on antibody persistence after conjugate meningococcal group A vaccination in Mali. Basta was one of only 10 recipients nationwide of the awards, which are intended to help exceptional scientists transition into independent careers.

Noteworthy foundation and corporate support in FY2012 includes:

• The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Princeton a $3.3 million challenge grant to support the Fellows in the Creative and Performing Arts program, which will bring innovative early- to mid-career artists to campus and make the arts central to the undergraduate experience. The Mellon Foundation’s challenge grant has been matched through the gift of an anonymous alumnus.

• The Energy and the Environment Corporate Affiliates Program — led by the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment in partnership with the Princeton Environmental Institute, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and the School of Architecture — enhances collaboration and promotes technology transfer between the University and its corporate partners. Three inaugural members were added in FY2012: PSEG at the Charter Member level, and Lockheed Martin and DuPont at the General Member level.

• Sovereign Bank, part of Banco Santander, signed a three-year, $1.5 million funding agreement to support international scholarly initiatives, enabling faculty and students to engage in a variety of educational experiences with institutions and scholars from around the globe.

Technology Transfer

In FY2011, Princeton ranked fifth among American universities receiving royalty income, a fact that is even more impressive given the small scale of the University’s research enterprise in relation to other institutions earning similar revenues. Over the past decade, licensing income has increased dramatically (figure C). Princeton’s royalty income in FY2012 comes from research that led to the development of a cancer drug (Eli Lily & Co.’s Alimta®), a 3-D sound enhancement system (BACCH™ 3-D in Jawbone’s Jambox™ speaker) and organic light-emitting device technologies for smartphone screens (Universal Display Corp.), among others. In FY2012, the Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) worked with 250 inventors from across campus on 106 newly disclosed inventions and 139 patent applications.

OTL oversaw the issuance of 31 patents and the licensing of 27 technologies. Innovations developed at Princeton include those in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, ceramics and materials science, chemistry, computers and software, medical devices and diagnostics, and optoelectronics and electrical engineering. The University also supports the development of promising new technologies through its Intellectual Property Accelerator Fund, which awards funding of up to $100,000 to advance early-stage research to a point where it is attractive to commercial development.