Professor and Director of the Princeton Institute of Materials Craig Arnold has been appointed Princeton University’s vice dean for innovation, effective July 1.
Arnold will be Princeton’s second vice dean for innovation, a role the university established in 2020 to provide academic leadership for innovation and entrepreneurship activities across campus.
“Craig Arnold exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit of Princeton,” said Princeton University Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti, who is also a professor of chemical and biological engineering. “Throughout the University, Craig is recognized for his pioneering research, his visionary leadership of the Princeton Institute of Materials, his entrepreneurship and his outstanding service on behalf of Princeton.”
Arnold succeeds Rodney Priestley, who served as inaugural vice dean for innovation beginning in February 2020. Priestley will become the dean of the Graduate School on June 1.
“Craig will be building on the extraordinary foundation established by Rodney Priestley during his visionary tenure as inaugural VDI,” Debenedetti said. “What is more, Craig will bring his own experiences, creativity and inspirational leadership to this role.”
In his new role, Arnold is tasked with strengthening Princeton’s capacity to engage with technology investors, industry, entrepreneurs, alumni and other potential partners. The position leads the Princeton Innovation initiative and oversees the university’s efforts to grow Princeton’s culture of innovation across disciplines.
“The vice dean for innovation is the University’s representative for all innovation activities, connecting Princeton with external partners in industry, entrepreneurship, government and academia, and ensuring that faculty, students and staff can fulfill their aspirations to innovate in areas spanning research, education and service to humanity,” said Provost Deborah Prentice. “Craig Arnold brings to this position a wealth of firsthand experience in university innovation and entrepreneurship, and he has a long history of reaching across disciplines and across our campus community.”
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Upon taking his new position, Arnold will join the Office of the Dean for Research and work closely with DFR offices including the Office of Technology Licensing, Corporate Engagement and Foundation Relations, and the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council.
“It is such an honor to take on this opportunity to build bridges between the different parts of the campus and the external community,” he said. “Princeton is such an incredible place for innovation, and I am thrilled to be able to serve the community and to help people create impact in ways that benefit society.”
Arnold has served as the director of the Princeton Institute of Materials since 2015, leading a research program that “ranges from basic science to applied technology aimed at developing a deeper understanding of materials synthesis and processing in areas including advanced manufacturing, energy storage and conversion, and optics and photonics,” according to his May 10 position announcement.
He received an Edison Patent Award from the Research & Development Council of New Jersey for the creation of an adjustable lens that focuses light in response to sound waves in 2017. According to Princeton, the tunable acoustic gradient lens is now used in many industrial and research applications including robotics, machine vision, industrial metrology and ultra-high precision microscopy.
Arnold holds 13 granted patents and is the co-founder of two companies based on research conducted at Princeton: TAG Optics Inc. developed the TAG lens and was later acquired by a major precision instrument manufacturer; and Invictis Technologies is working to create a safer and less painful automated intravenous injection device.
Arnold and co-authors have published over 200 scientific papers and book chapters in the field of materials science. Prior to joining the Princeton faculty in 2003, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Naval Research Laboratory.