A $25 million gift from former University Trustee Eric Schmidt ’76 and his wife, Wendy, has created an innovative fund that will power cutting-edge research and technology in the natural sciences and engineering.
The Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund will support one or more projects which have the potential to make revolutionary advances, according to Dean for Research A. J. Stewart Smith *66, the Class of 1909 Professor of Physics. There are 45 proposals under review from departments and institutes ranging from electrical engineering and geosciences to neuroscience and chemistry.
“The enlightened flexibility of the Schmidt gift has generated an unprecedentedly large and broad set of proposals. It is exciting to see 18 departments and institutes represented from all four academic divisions of the University, and a full third of the proposals featuring collaborations among faculty from the sciences and engineering,” Dean Smith said. “There is no prescribed format, detailed set of requirements, nor one-dimensional grading scale. We’re simply looking for the best ideas, fundamental or practical, that will make the most impact upon an important field of basic or applied research.”
The proposals reflect the participation of faculty in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. A campus-wide peer review committee will meet with finalists in early 2010 before forwarding recommendations to President Shirley M. Tilghman, who will announce the winner or winners. Requests for proposals will be issued annually.
"This fund will allow Princeton's scientists and engineers to explore truly innovative ideas that need the creation or application of new technologies, including the kinds of technological breakthroughs that most funding sources are too risk-averse to support. We are deeply grateful to Eric and Wendy not only for providing this support, but for providing the capacity and flexibility to make investments that are likely to have the broadest and most transformative impact," President Tilghman said.
Schmidt, who majored in electrical engineering at Princeton, is CEO of Google.
October 2009 (updated January 2010)