In this position, Chirik will be responsible for establishing and maintaining a broad spectrum of external partners. His primary role will be to lead Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership, which enables transformational innovations in the fields of energy and environment through close collaborations between academic experts and industry leaders.
Chirik succeeds Lynn Loo, the Theodora D. ’78 and William H. Walton III ’74 Professor in Engineering, and Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Loo is stepping down after four years, having successfully launched the program and established strong relationships with a diverse set of E-ffiliates corporate members.
“It’s been wonderful to work with our corporate partners and with colleagues across the campus to build this program,” Loo said. The E-ffiliates annual meeting now draws more than 200 attendees and participants; the E-ffiliates grant-making program has become an important source of funding for collaborations between faculty and industry researchers; and the annual retreat has become a valued venue for fostering interactions between students, faculty, and industry practitioners.
In addition, Loo said, the recently completed membership agreement with ExxonMobil represents a new model for future interactions with companies by creating a long-range framework that facilitates collaborations across campus without the need to negotiate individual contracts.
“We could not have been so successful without the strong support of all the units within the Dean for Research office and our faculty and administrative colleagues across campus,” Loo said. “It is fitting that Paul is coming to lead E-ffiliates from the Department of Chemistry, which underscores the broad reach and value of the program.”
“To be effective in addressing the monumental task before us, we must be all-hands-on-deck,” said Emily Carter, founding director of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment. “This position is critical for engaging partners beyond the University and also for providing a resource to all our partners within the University as we work together to put our global energy systems on a more sustainable footing. Lynn got us off to an excellent start, and I am delighted that Paul is taking up the reins. I’m particularly pleased to bring on board a faculty member from the sciences as part of the ACEE leadership team. I encourage faculty across the University and corporations around the world to contact him to learn how we can help advance their sustainable energy goals.”
Chirik is a leader in sustainable chemistry, with an emphasis on developing chemical catalysts that come from abundant, environmentally benign elements rather than the rare or environmentally damaging materials currently used in many manufacturing processes. His research also focuses on developing chemical transformations, such as catalytic ammonia synthesis, that are compatible with renewable resources and ultimately reduce fossil fuel inputs and carbon dioxide pollution.
“I am thrilled to begin the next chapter of the Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership,” Chirik said. “Corporate involvement through research support, visitors in residence, postdoctoral programs and other mentorship activities is an essential and distinguishing feature of the Andlinger Center. Lynn set a high standard, bringing in a diverse set of industrial partners. My goal is to expand upon this tradition of excellence.”
Chirik joined the Princeton faculty in 2011 after nearly 10 years at Cornell University. He earned his Ph.D. in chemistry at the California Institute of Technology. His honors include the Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists, the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award, a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering and the Cope Scholar Award presented by the American Chemical Society. Chirik is currently a faculty advisor at Forbes College and in 2015 was named editor-in-chief of the journal Organometallics.