Duke Science and Technology is described as a “strategic recruitment” initiative with investments of over $ 250 million. But what exactly does this imply?
DST, a faculty recruitment and retention effort, “will give the university the resources to expand Duke’s research strengths, spanning almost every corner of the university,” according to a report November Press release.
The effort focuses on three main themes: materials science, computing, and body and brain resilience. By hiring faculty in these three areas, Duke hopes to reshape the education of future leaders in science and technology to achieve breakthroughs in global challenges.
“Science was the one area of Duke that was significantly underinvested compared to other areas of Duke,” David Kennedy, vice president of alumni engagement and development, said in the press release. “And if we don’t do it soon, and we don’t do it strategically, it could have a huge negative impact on Duke. We are in the top 10 universities, but we were lagging behind our peers.
George Truskey, R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson, distinguished professor of biomedical engineering, explained what this initiative means for students and STEM programs at Duke.
“When hiring into new areas of expertise, these professors will likely want to teach courses in their area of interest at the undergraduate and graduate level,” said Truskey.
Truskey sees the addition of new senior post-docs and assistant professors as a driving force for collaboration with current professors. As part of this initiative, current professors can nominate people they wish to bring to Duke, which could bring “some research synergy and collaboration.” Research teams can also apply, which gives them “the opportunity to apply to proposals that, perhaps, as an individual someone could not apply.”
The first round of recruitment hired 11 senior professors. With a goal of recruiting 75 to 100 new faculty in total, and each round to recruit approximately 15 additional people, Truskey estimates that current funding will allow two to three additional years of recruiting.
The Duke Endowment awarded Duke its biggest prize to date by supporting this initiative, recently completing the second phase of a $ 100 million grant.
Truskey noted that the initiative is also raising funds to further contribute to the investment. They hope to use this initial investment as a fundraising tool to leverage funds from other donors and expand the initiative.
In addition to two $ 50 million investments from the Duke Endowment, the $ 150 million donated to DST includes an anonymous donation dedicated to the Duke Discovery Fund and of them gifts trustees. The program also received a $ 5 million donation from the Charles LaFitte Foundation to create an internship training program for undergraduates and to facilitate collaboration between the Pratt School of Engineering and the Duke’s Office for Research and Innovation.
By developing these new areas of excellence, DST hopes to foster new collaborations and opportunities for students.
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“The brighter the people around you, the more exciting the environment and the more you want to learn,” Truskey said.