The Vice Dean for Innovation provides academic leadership for innovation and entrepreneurship activities across campus and serves the faculty and other members of Princeton's research community by becoming the point of entry for innovation and entrepreneurship activities across campus.

Craig B. Arnold, the Susan Dod Brown Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and director of the Princeton Institute of Materials, became Princeton University’s vice dean for innovation on July 1, 2022. The position provides academic leadership for innovation and entrepreneurship activities across campus.

As vice dean for innovation, Craig B. Arnold is a member of Princeton's Office of the Dean for Research (DFR), and works closely with offices across campus and within DFR, including the Office of Technology Licensing, Corporate Engagement and Foundation Relations, and the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council.

Arnold is Princeton's Susan Dod Brown Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He has served since 2015 as the director of the Princeton Institute of Materials. He leads a vibrant 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. 

In 2017, Arnold 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. The tunable acoustic gradient (TAG) 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. Invictis Technologies is working to create a safer and less painful automated intravenous injection device.

Arnold is a preeminent researcher in the field of materials science; he and co-authors have published over 200 scientific papers and book chapters. He serves as a member of the National Research Council’s National Materials and Manufacturing Board and is a fellow of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) and the Optical Society of America.

Arnold was named a Knight of Laser Technology (2018) by the International Academy for Production Engineering (CIRP)-Photonic Technologies. He has received a number of prominent industry awards for his technology including R&D World magazine’s R&D 100 award, the SPIE Prism Award for Photonics Innovation, and Vision Systems Design magazine’s Innovators Award. Arnold has received prestigious federal awards and grants, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Award.

Recognized widely for his mentorship and teaching, Arnold has advised many undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. He has received the Princeton Undergraduate Engineering Council Teaching Award (2009, 2017 and 2022) and the School of Engineering and Applied Science Excellence in Teaching Award (2019 and 2021). Arnold is a member of the executive committee for Princeton’s Entrepreneurship Certificate Program and the executive committee of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.   

Arnold holds a Ph.D. in experimental condensed matter physics from Harvard University and a B.S. from Haverford College. He was a postdoctoral researcher at the Naval Research Laboratory prior to joining the Princeton faculty in 2003.

Arnold succeeds Princeton's inaugural vice dean for innovation, Rodney Priestley, the Pomeroy and Betty Perry Smith Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering. Priestley became dean of Princeton University’s Graduate School on June 1, 2022.


Craig Arnold

Craig B. Arnold. Photo by David Kelly Crow