Princeton partners with UNCF and HBCUs to expand research and innovation

Written by
Tracy Meyer, Corporate Engagement and Foundation Relations
May 4, 2022

New Princeton Alliance for Collaborative Research and Innovation announces five partner institutions

Princeton University is partnering with UNCF (United Negro College Fund) and five historically Black colleges and universities to launch a groundbreaking program designed to enable research collaborations between Princeton faculty and their peers at HBCUs. 

In the initial phase, Princeton researchers and researchers from Howard University, Jackson State University (JSU), Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU), Spelman College and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) will co-lead research projects. These projects will be funded by Princeton University through its new Princeton Alliance for Collaborative Research and Innovation (PACRI).

Teams of Princeton-HBCU researchers are invited to submit proposals by June 30. The initiative’s aim is to fund multiple collaborative projects each year between Princeton and each partnering institution.

“Collaboration is a powerful force for new ideas and creativity in research and scholarship,” said Princeton’s Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti, the Class of 1950 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science and professor of chemical and biological engineering. “By creating a mechanism that encourages faculty from Princeton and HBCUs to work together, we hope to spark the creation of new teams of researchers that bring together people with different perspectives, experiences and expertise. The potential to generate new knowledge and discoveries across a wide range of disciplines is very exciting,” Debenedetti said. 

Echoing Debenedetti’s enthusiasm, Vice Dean for Innovation Rodney Priestley, the Pomeroy and Betty Perry Smith Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and a co-leader of the PACRI program, said, “We highly value partnerships at Princeton, whether they are with other academic institutions, industry, governments, or nonprofits. We believe that these collaborations enable Princeton researchers and innovators to achieve things that we cannot achieve alone.” 

“I hope the alliance will lead to faculty from Princeton and partners working together to create new intellectual property and spinouts. These could be powerful pathways for PACRI-fueled collaborations to have a positive impact on society.” - Vice Dean for Innovation Rod Priestley


Read the main article on the University homepage.

PACRI is one of several initiatives by Princeton’s Office of the Dean for Research aimed at expanding a more inclusive research, innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem at Princeton and beyond. While this first phase of the Alliance focuses on HBCUs, Princeton anticipates expanding the effort to forge research collaborations with other Minority-Serving Institutions and women’s colleges.