April 2018 Newsletter: Building the Innovation Ecosystem

Written by
Maura M. Fennessy
April 23, 2018

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Princeton University's Dean for Research, Pablo Debenedetti, in a recent interview with ROI NJ, discussed the University's efforts to build research collaborations with industry, non-profit, government and academic partners in New Jersey, advocate for public funding of basic research at the university level, and highlight priority areas of research innovation. The interview concludes by noting that the University's "interest in developing and expanding the research ecosystem dovetails quite well with the interest of Gov. Murphy and the legislature to grow the innovation ecosystem."

This issue of @princeton.edu echoes Dean Debenedetti's message by highlighting research partnerships, basic research findings and technology transfer efforts that collectively add to the full spectrum of New Jersey's innovation ecosystem.  We also touch on two Trenton-based learning opportunities in which Princeton students are engaged, one that examines a point in time in the city's history, and one that seeks to tackle the challenge of lead paint in homes. And finally, we put a spotlight on the recent acquisition by the Princeton University Library of former NJ Senator Bill Bradley (member of Princeton's class of 1965).

Partnerships to advance research and innovation


New Jersey Research Asset Database will facilitate academic and industry collaborations

Princeton University has taken a leadership role in New Jersey's adoption and implementation of a new tool to help build research collaborations. The New Jersey Research Asset Database (RAD) will help both academics and industry discover the research interests of faculty at New Jersey's participating institutions. This improved transparency will make potential collaborations easier to identify and form. Princeton is one of five institutions participating in the pilot program that will also include Rutgers University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Stevens Institute of Technology and Rowan University.  Learn more.



Princeton Innovation Center BioLabs is open for business

Princeton Innovation Center BioLabs is open and ready to provide coworking lab and office space for high-potential high tech startups. Available for companies formed by Princeton University faculty, students and alumni, as well as members of the wider New Jersey community, Princeton Innovation Center BioLabs is the latest effort by the university to support innovation in central New Jersey.  The official ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for May 17, 2018.  Learn more.



Wearable devices could diagnose illness as it emerges

Wearable medical sensors used widely in hospitals and clinics are spreading into the mainstream as tech companies increasingly incorporate them into popular electronics, from Apple's smart watches to Fitbit fitness bands.  Princeton engineers are working to take these sensor technologies one step further by developing software that could one day use multiple health clues from wearable sensors to diagnose myriad diseases in real-time. Learn more.


Carbon capture

New material could lower cost of carbon capture

As long as climate change has been in the news, carbon capture and storage has been part of the discussion. But so far, it largely hasn't been put into practice at coal-fired power plants and cement manufacturing facilities - two of the major emitters of carbon dioxide - because of carbon capture's expense. Now, a team of Princeton Engineering researchers has developed a method based on theoretical calculations they believe could drive down the cost of carbon capture.  Learn more.



University research produces patents; entrepreneurship grows in importance

At a research institution like Princeton University, the decision to patent and market products invented by professors and graduate students can be a complicated one. Much of Princeton's research marketing is conducted through the Office of Technology Licensing, a resource for researchers seeking to market their findings. Its mission is to "[facilitate] the transformation of scientific and technological discoveries into products and services for societal benefit in a manner consistent with Princeton University's emphasis on preeminent research, education and dedication to public service."  Learn more.


Innovation forum

The future of flow: Innovators pitch research ready to move from lab to market

Nine teams competed in this year's Innovation Forum, which allows Princeton researchers at all levels to display their best technical work, and demonstrates how fundamental research translates into technological innovation.   Learn more.


Trenton as a classroom

Trenton project

The Trenton Project documents 50 years of history

In April 2018, the city of Trenton will mark the 50th anniversary of violence that followed the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. To examine the civil unrest through two disciplines, documentary film and history, Woodrow Wilson School Documentary Film Specialist Purcell Carson and History Professor Alison Isenberg are leading an initiative called The Trenton Project.  Learn more.


Lead testing

Studying lead contamination in Trenton

The project "Urban Tap Water and Human Health" led by Princeton University professors John Higgins and Janet Currie combines science with community service. Funded by PEI's Urban Grand Challenges program, the initiative engages through Higgins' spring course, "Geochemistry of the Human Environment," where students learn scientific techniques to help provide Trenton residents with free lead-contamination testing.  Learn more.


On Campus

Bill Bradley

Princeton University Library acquires Bill Bradley Papers

Former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley has donated his papers to the Princeton University Library. The extensive collection documents the remarkable career of the former congressman, professional basketball player and 1965 Princeton alumnus. The papers, held in more than 1,000 boxes, primarily chronicle Bradley's time in Congress, where he served as U.S. Senator from New Jersey from 1979 to 1997. Learn more.