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Duke Innovates Together

At Duke, innovation is everywhere. Our faculty, students, staff, and alumni are working to find solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges in healthcare, teaching, business, engineering, science, the arts, energy, and beyond.

With dedicated programs and opportunities, Duke empowers all members of our community to innovate in their fields—from business and medicine to climate and racial justice—and turn their ideas into impact.

What does innovation look like at Duke? Collaborative.

Duke supports like-minded members of our community in working together to solve problems they’re passionate about, resulting in infinite forms of innovation—from global partnerships, to the translation of multidisciplinary research, to teams making breakthroughs in new fields.

The Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator supports social enterprises tackling the most pressing challenges facing children and youth around the world, providing access to UNICEF subject matter experts and mentorship together with Duke education and faculty support. In May the accelerator will announce its second cohort of social enterprises, innovators working in East Africa and beyond on problems related to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH).

The Polarization Lab brings together scholars and students from sociology, public policy, data science, political science, computer science, cognitive neuroscience, and electrical and computer engineering to produce high-quality research on how social media shapes political polarization—and to translate those insights into tools people can use to hack polarization in themselves and others.

Duke is a pioneer in the field of quantum computing, which can support problem solving and predictions involving vast numbers of variables, such as weather models, financial markets, and new medicines. The DukeQuantum Center and its Scalable Quantum Computing Lab will offer quantum computing capability to engineers, physicists, chemists, mathematicians, and beyond from government, industry, and academia.

So when COVID-19 upended the world, making innovation more crucial than ever, Duke innovators were poised to respond swiftly and creatively—together—with initiatives like these:

Responding to COVID-19-related needs identified by Duke Health clinicians, engineering faculty and students have collaborated to build solutions ranging from a reusable face shield to a remote-controlled ventilator. 

As these Duke engineers and practitioners responded with new ideas and devices, the School of Nursing’s Health Innovation Lab served as an accelerator where these innovators could test their ideas and quickly move from concept to production, gaining participation and feedback from DUSON faculty and graduate students. 

Cathy Clark, faculty director for Fuqua’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship, coordinated the creation of, a searchable database for global, national, and regional capital sources for nonprofit and for-profit entrepreneurs. The success of CovidCap hinged on the response of partners all over the world in sending resources for inclusion. 

Duke’s response to the pandemic has affirmed what we have known about Duke’s innovation community: that together, we can solve the world’s most pressing challenges.  

In celebration of World Creativity & Innovation week, we’re highlighting some of the people, programs, and partnerships collaborating to make a difference through innovation—at Duke, locally, nationally, and around the world.

We invite you to learn more about how Duke innovates together… 

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