Duke University has been selected as one of seven schools to be on the forefront of a United States effort to help eliminate desperate poverty around the world. Duke will receive a $10 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to form a development lab whose goal is to pinpoint and support progress in solutions to worldwide health problems in low- and middle-income nations.
According to Philadelphia News, the seven university partnerships funded by USAID will use research scientists and students to develop and apply new science research, technology and engineering approaches towards global development. The partnerships will encourage entrepreneurship in using these approaches and take advantage of students’ enthusiasm for development. The seven universities selected to participate in the USAID network include: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley, Michigan State University, Texas A&M University, the College of William & Marry, Makerere University in Uganda, and Duke University. The universities were chosen from a group of 500 institutions that applied for the award.
Duke University Medical Center
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Duke University’s development lab will be a joint initiative among the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, the International Partnership for Innovative Healthcare Delivery at Duke Medicine and the Duke Global Health Institute, which will work with the Developing World Healthcare Technology at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering. The Herald-Sun reports that faculty from the Duke Center for Science Education, Sanford School of Public Policy, the Department of Economics and other departments at Duke will also work as advisors for the development lab.
“We are thrilled that Duke’s global health and entrepreneurship initiatives will be founding elements of USAID’s new partnership with universities,” said Richard Brodhead, president of Duke University. “Our faculty look forward to contributing their research and expertise toward new and effective solutions to global health problems.”
According to The Chronicle, Duke’s development lab will be known as the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke, or SEAD. By working with universities using models such as SEAD, USAID allows room for a creative process that’s not traditionally available at government institutions. The SEAD model allows Duke University’s initiative members to bring diverse experience to the table, said Dr. Victor Dzau, president and CEO of Duke University Health System and chancellor for health affairs.
“By bringing these people who have great ideas on how to make care better and bringing them together with funding, it increases the chances they will be successful,” Dzau said.
Duke President Richard Brodhead
Image courtesy of Duke University
The specifics of how research scientists and students at USAID participating schools will work together are still in the development stage. Those participating met each other for the first time in early November. It has been noted, however, that each participating institution will work with the agency and with each other, and there’s no question that there will be extensive communication among research scientists and students.
USAID is very active in healthcare development around the globe. The agency’s funding for the new network of institutions makes up less than 2 percent of their investments worldwide. Duke expects to receive its grant money soon and will begin work on the project in early 2013.
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