Sponsored Research

The solicitation and administration of funds for sponsored research are coordinated and to some extent controlled by the University Research Board and its executive arm, the Office of Research and Project Administration.

The University Research Board is advisory to the president of the University. It makes recommendations as to policy regarding the acceptance of outside research funds and their administration, and its Committee on Appointments and Advancements recommends on the ranks and salaries for professional research and technical personnel. A general policy statement as to the criteria to be considered in accepting grants or contracts for research and the procedures to be followed in obtaining such grants or contracts was approved by the president on April 26, 1960, and later communicated to the faculty and approved by it. Since that time the procedures have been amended in several respects. The statement as amended to October, 1971, is included below to acquaint professional research and technical staff members with the aims, policies, and procedures governing sponsored research at the University.

Policies for Sponsored Research April 26, 1960
Revised October 1971

Princeton University has based its adoption of these policies for sponsored research upon the fact that it is dedicated to the following primary and essential objectives:

  1. The education of undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students.
  2. The advancement of knowledge through research and scholarship.
  3. The preservation and dissemination of knowledge.
  4. The advancement and protection of the public interest and public welfare.

The Obligations of Sponsored Research

In accepting a grant or contract for research, Princeton University, the departments, and the members of the faculty or staff involved have accepted obligations to furnish:

  1. An appropriate share of the time and talent of those members of the faculty and staff who are committed to perform the research.
  2. An appropriate share of the University's administration, both at the general administrative and departmental levels, services such as library assistance, shop and secretarial services, and general guidance to the extent needed.
  3. Reports and publications describing the research performed and the results achieved.
  4. Compliance with any terms and conditions of the grant or contract, such as those covering patents, copyrights, fiscal requirements and so forth.

Administration and Procedures

The Dean for Research with the advice of the University Research Board is charged with the formulation of policy for the solicitation, acceptance and administration of research grants and contracts throughout the University. The University Research Board is composed of six members of the Faculty. The Dean for Research serves as Chair and the Director of the Office of Research and Project Administration serves as Administrative Officer. An administrator from the Office of the Dean for Research serves as Secretary.The Treasurer and the Dean of the Graduate School also sit on the Board. When necessary, the Provost, Dean of the Faculty, Vice President for Development, General Counsel, and Director of Environmental Health and Safety meet with the Board. Other individuals may sit with the Board as needed. The University Research Board is advisory to the President of the University.

The following procedures are to be followed with regard to sponsored research:

  1. Every application or proposal for sponsorship, renewal or expansion of research within the University, with funds to be furnished by an outside source, but administered by the University, should be submitted with the approval of the chair of the department involved to the Office of Research and Project Administration before any formal proposals are transmitted to the outside source or any commitments are made. This is not to be construed, however, as limiting the freedom to discuss possible research sponsorship on an informal basis with outside individuals or organizations. The Office of Research and Project Administration will be available for assistance with the preparation of proposals and the location of receptive sponsors. Excluded from the requirement for processing through the Office of Research and Project Administration are grants to individuals, such as Guggenheim Fellowships, etc., where the University has no responsibilities for administering the funds.
  2. After the University Research Board has reviewed proposals to insure their compliance with established University policies, formal proposals to outside sponsors will normally be transmitted through the Office of Research and Project Administration. Any negotiation necessary to consummate an arrangement or contract with the sponsor will also normally be handled through that Office.
  3. The acceptance of grants or gifts designated to be used for research, where no proposal from the University is involved, will be coordinated through both the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations and the Office of Research and Project Administration in accordance with policies adopted by the University Research Board.
  4. Proposals for gifts and the acceptance of gifts from corporations and foundations that are not specific to sponsored research are normally handled through the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations.

Criteria Applicable to Sponsored Research

It will be the policy of the University, the University Research Board, the departments and members of the faculty involved to consider the merits of any proposal for sponsored research based upon the following criteria:

  1. The research should fit within the framework of the four primary and essential objectives of the University cited earlier.
  2. The research should be soundly based; its primary goal should be a significant contribution to knowledge rather than product development; and the personnel involved should be qualified and enthusiastic.
  3. The research should be proposed and carried out within a regular department of the University, or through the cooperation of several departments, and be led by a member of the faculty or the Professional Research Staff. The provisions of the research agreement should not grant the sponsor or any other external party a continuing role in the scientific direction of the research.
  4. Major research projects should be clearly related to the academic programs of the department or departments involved, and provide opportunities for graduate or undergraduate research training. Projects which do not meet these requirements shall be considered by the Executive Committee of the Council of the Princeton University Community. In no case shall the research extend the activities of a department to an extent that compromises the quality of the educational programs.
  5. Adequate facilities should be available or provisions should be made for funds to make them available.
  6. There should be a good prospect of employing any additional professional or non- professional personnel required within the limits of existing salary scales and personnel policy.
  7. The budget should be adequate for the work proposed, including allowance for contingencies and possible salary increases.
  8. Provision should be made for any University funds required, either in the form of direct costs or indirect expenses computed in accordance with usual University practice.
  9. The terms of any contract, grant or gift to cover the research should, insofar as possible, permit flexible operation under regular University policies and procedures, permit free publication of results (except where the requirements of national security dictate otherwise), reimburse the indirect expenses as well as the direct costs of the research, conform to the principles of the University Patent Policy, and in general permit the University to exercise administrative control and responsibility for the work.
  10. As a matter of policy the University does not administer funds whose purpose and the character of whose sponsorship cannot be publicly disclosed. In the particular case of research abroad, faculty, research staff, graduate students and undergraduates receiving grants for this purpose from funds administered by the University are requested not to accept additional support from agencies of the government for purposes that cannot be disclosed.

Policies on Classified Research

  1. The University will not, as a matter of policy, accept any contracts or grants for the support of classified research.
  2. If any portion of the research carried out under a contract or grant is classified by the Government, that portion shall be terminated as soon as possible.
  3. Exception to the policies shall be authorized by the University Research Board only under extraordinary conditions, the existence of such conditions to be determined by special review in which the board, the faculty, and the Council of the Princeton University Community shall participate.
  4. Classified information shall be stored and classified research, if authorized, shall be conducted in such physical quarters, and under such contractual requirements, that the free functioning of the educational operations of the University will not be hampered.
  5. No outside agency shall have the right to determine that any individual employed by the University shall be excluded from participating in work which does not involve classified information.
  6. Government attempts to restrict the free flow of unclassified information or to restrict participation of personnel in work which does not involve classified information, by termination of contracts or by other means, should be resisted and deplored.

Procedures for Reviewing Individual Projects and Departmental Sponsored Research Programs

  1. The University Research Board will periodically review and discuss with representatives of the departments involved all sponsored research within each department or area of the University.
  2. The URB has oversight responsibility for sponsored research grants as a whole. It sets the policies and criteria for the processing of proposals for sponsored research by the Office of Research and Project Administration, and participates in the review of selected proposals with broad or unusual implications for the University.
  3. The chair of the Research Board shall from time to time report to the Council of the Princeton University Community on issues of policy before the board.

Dissemination of Sponsored Research Information

  1. The Annual Report of the Office of Research and Project Administration (ORPA) contains a full listing of all research projects current during the year, together with brief summary information for each project. Copies of the Report are available to all members of the University Community on the ORPA website.
  2. A monthly listing of all proposals funded during the previous month, giving the names of the sponsoring agencies, the names of the principal investigators and the titles of the research is distributed to all members of the Council of the Princeton University Community, to the Firestone Library and to departmental offices.
  3. Sponsored research proposals funded after July 1, 1970, with budget figures summarized, are placed on file in the Reference Room of the Firestone Library. If an individual or group can pay the processing and duplication costs, any proposals funded before July 1, 1970, may also be added to this public file.
  4. Certain proposals contain detailed research plans in competitive fields which the principal investigators regard as proprietary and subject to plagiarism. Such proposals are placed in the file only after a delay of 12 months; a summary prepared by the principal investigator is placed in the file when the proposal is funded.
  5. Full bibliographies of the publications, including technical communications and reports, which result from each sponsored research project are placed on file in the Reference Room of the Firestone Library. Copies of these which have been sent to the sponsor and are not available within the University Library system will be made available by the author, or his/her designee as requested by any member of the University Community.