P3 for Prospective PhDs

Louis Pasteur, the father of microbiology, heralded use-inspired research as a fundamentally different approach to the discovery and understanding of natural phenomena. Pasteur started with a practical need or problem, and employed it as a guide to identifying important fundamental questions.

This approach, in contrast to traditional curiosity-driven research, is especially valuable to those who wish to see the impact of their doctoral dissertation in real life within a reasonable timeframe. It provides graduate training through active partnership with companies that are familiar with potential applications and the needs of the ‘customer’ or of society at large.

Those selected as Pasteur Fellows receive competitive stipend and full tuition for the duration of doctoral studies that are expected to be completed in four years. This use-inspired research track for doctoral studies in science and engineering disciplines is a unique, student-centered program, developed with support from the National Science Foundation’s Innovation in Graduate Education project at Lehigh University.The aims of the P3 program go beyond those of prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship program.

Features of the P3 program include:

  • The student is actively involved in defining the scope of her/his dissertation, wherein the traditional modus operandi for identifying research topics is flipped. P3 starts with a pre-program summer internship at a company to get the ‘big picture’ of the problem of interest through discussions with industry researchers, thereby gaining insight into research questions that matter in the field.
  • With a broad perspective of research problem, the student arrives on campus and selects appropriate courses in consultation with the academic adviser. Overall, each scholar’s program is personalized with co-advisers from both the university and a partner company.
  • A one to two semester company residency is required to ensure use-inspired, industrial perspective as well as the rigor of a high caliber doctoral degree.
  • In addition to meeting Departmental requirements, the Fellow is required to take modular, graduate-level professional development courses, co-taught by faculty and industry researchers. The topics may include team and project based learning, Intellectual Property (IP) constraints, economic considerations and the global marketplace, ethical considerations, diversity and cultural sensitivity, technical oral and written communication skills, and techniques to develop personal creativity and innovation.


For more information, contact:

Pasteur PhD Partners Fellowship Office
Professor Himanshu Jain, Lehigh University
Brianne Lisk, Manager of Graduate Programs, Lehigh University
Email: pasteur.phd@lehigh.edu