Uniting innovation at Princeton: The Princeton Entrepreneurship Council joins the Office of the Dean for Research

Friday, May 8, 2020
by Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research

The Princeton Entrepreneurship Council (PEC) has become part of the Office of the Dean for Research, reporting to Vice Dean for Innovation Rodney Priestley. The move emphasizes the role of entrepreneurship in enhancing the societal impact of innovations that emerge from research.

"The integration of the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council into the operational framework of the Office of the Dean for Research is an important step toward bringing together research, innovation and entrepreneurship in ways that strengthen Princeton's capacity to benefit humanity," said Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti, the Class of 1950 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science and a professor of chemical and biological engineering.

The move aligns with Princeton's initiatives to grow its impact by transitioning fundamental and applied research into actions that address today's challenges through innovation and entrepreneurship. One of these initiatives was the appointment of Vice Dean for Innovation Priestley in February 2020.

"As the University expands in innovation, the encompassing of Princeton's entrepreneurial activities under the Dean for Research is a natural outcome of the desire to construct synergies that enable Princeton to translate research into meaningful solutions," said Priestley, a professor of chemical and biological engineering.

PEC focuses on building Princeton's entrepreneurial community by hosting events and conferences, providing mentorship, and assisting new ventures in finding funding. Through these activities, PEC brings together startup founders, executives and investors in a range of entrepreneurial areas, including life sciences, finance, data science, cleantech, the arts, and the non-profit sector.

The move will enable PEC to further its close collaborations with two departments within the Office of the Dean for Research, the Office of Technology Licensing, which oversees the translation of University research into innovative answers to worldwide problems, and Corporate Engagement and Foundation Relations, which fosters relationships with external entities to build programs and research across all academic areas.

PEC hosts a number of events throughout the year, including its TigerTalks panel discussions with faculty and alumni entrepreneurs

PEC hosts a number of events throughout the year, including its TigerTalks panel discussions with faculty and alumni entrepreneurs. Photo by Wright Señeres

As part of the Office of the Dean for Research, PEC will continue to offer support to the alumni community while enhancing its focus to address the needs of faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.  The organization will engage with the regional innovation ecosystem through partnerships that enhance Princeton's research, teaching, diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship, and broader impacts on the greater community.

Anne-Marie Maman will continue as the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council executive director, reporting to Priestley. The council's staff of five will report to Maman.

PEC will continue to be located in downtown Princeton at the Princeton Entrepreneurial Hub, a central site that offers entrepreneurship programming and co-working spaces for University-related startups. The organization will continue its signature programs, including TigerTalks, which features panel discussions with faculty and alumni, and OfficeHours, in which faculty, students and alumni can access mentorship and advice. PEC makes introductions between founders and investors such as the Princeton Alumni Angels, and will soon launch a new online platform to facilitate valuable connections among Princeton's entrepreneurial students, alumni and researchers.