Princeton University has signed a $5 million deal with ExxonMobil to fund energy and environmental research at the new Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.
The university said the company is joining its E-filliates Partnership program, which promotes collaboration on research between companies and the university.
“Meeting the world’s energy needs in a sustainable way is a formidable challenge,” said Pablo Debenedetti, Princeton University’s dean for research. “Developing economically viable solutions requires the collaborative efforts of industry, government, and academia. We are delighted that ExxonMobil is joining E-ffiliates, broadening the vibrant collaboration between Princeton and leading industry partners in the energy and environmental sectors.”
The E-filliates program was founded in 2011, and the ExxonMobil deal is its largest so far. As part of the program, several graduate students and post-doctoral researchers will be designated ExxonMobil Fellows.
E-ffiliates will also host a visitor-in-residence from ExxonMobil, who will catalyze research initiatives and collaborations across campus. The university said the collaboration could be a model for future interactions with companies.
“Having our faculty and students work closely with industry is essential to developing economically viable and environmentally responsible solutions to meet the world’s energy needs,” said Emily Carter, founding director of the Andlinger Center. “ExxonMobil brings a global perspective and a longstanding commitment to innovation that, coupled with Princeton’s deep expertise, will help move impactful, sustainable technologies into the market.”
Meanwhile, the university is facing a lawsuit by attorney Bruce Afran, representing four Princeton residents, who want to take away the university’s property tax exemption for being a nonprofit institution. The suit alleges that certain university activities, such as licensing faculty-developed technology to corporations, are commercial in nature. The suit is being argued in New Jersey’s tax court.