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2020: A Banner Year for Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship

In a world upended by COVID-19, innovation and entrepreneurship have proven more vital than ever as we seek to build back stronger on all fronts. Duke’s long-standing commitment to educating the next generation of change-makers, as well as its support of innovation as a means of solving the world’s most pressing problems, positioned our worldwide community to respond swiftly and creatively to the virus.

Serving Duke’s Innovation System

The Duke community’s COVID-19 response has starkly illustrated not only the need for innovation, but also the need for infrastructure and services that support innovators—innovation does not happen by accident. The Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative (I&E) serves as a hub and resource center for the University and Health system, inspiring and empowering the whole community to innovate and to leverage the robust offerings available across Duke.

Supporting Innovation Through Entrepreneurial Action

I&E’s approach is grounded in innovating for impact, designing solutions with a deep understanding of those they serve, and evaluating solutions within an ethical framework. In the past year I&E has continued to expand our offerings across the University and Health system, serving students, faculty, staff, and alumni innovators as they turn ideas into action and impact people’s lives.

Our efforts have focused on:

  • Advancing the intellectual leadership of Duke faculty in innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Scaling a distinctly Duke approach to entrepreneurial education through interdisciplinary, experiential opportunities that foster an entrepreneurial mindset in all students.
  • Nurturing a community of student innovators & entrepreneurs dedicated to creating impact through startup ventures.
  • Supporting Duke’s faculty, researcher, & clinician Innovators with funding, tailored workshops, and personalized advice on navigating the Duke innovation system.
  • Partnering with global leaders to tackle urgent problems through the Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator.
  • Leveraging the power of Duke’s alumni and faculty community to bring Duke innovations to the world through funding, education, and mentorship.
  • Connecting the Duke community to resources and expertise across the University and communicating the story of innovation and entrepreneurship across Duke.

Taken together, these activities constitute a robust and broad foundation to enable the entire Duke community to realize their potential as innovators, wherever they are on their journey. As we look forward to the coming year, we redouble our commitment to our work in service of the Duke community. We will continue to focus on investing in people, programs, and partnerships that energize and enable innovators, increase the number of innovations made by the Duke community, and maximize the impact of those innovations.

We invite you to learn more about our work supporting Duke’s vibrant community of innovators and entrepreneurs.


Duke-UNC Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research Symposium

Advancing the intellectual leadership of Duke faculty in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Scaling a distinctly Duke approach to entrepreneurial education through interdisciplinary, experiential opportunities that foster an entrepreneurial mindset in all students.

Student Founder Program kickoff event

Nurturing a community of student innovators and entrepreneurs dedicated to creating impact through startup ventures. 

Supporting Duke’s faculty, researcher, and clinician innovators with funding, tailored workshops, and personalized advice on navigating the Duke innovation system.

Partnering with global leaders to tackle urgent problems through the Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator.  

Leveraging the power of Duke’s alumni and faculty community to bring Duke innovations to the world through funding, education, and mentorship. 

I&E DIrector Jon Fjeld speaks to attendees at Duke Transform event

Connecting the Duke community to resources and expertise across the University and communicating the story of innovation and entrepreneurship across Duke.

Duke Department of Medicine Innovators Academy Zoom screenshot

Pivoting to the virtual world and building a path forward.

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