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Research Centers & Programs

The Sanford School of Public Policy provides a dynamic campus hub for interdisciplinary research centers exploring vital policy questions in the field and in the classroom. Headed by a director, the centers have faculty drawn from both the Sanford School and across the university. Some centers also have support staff and research assistants. The centers provide students the opportunity to participate in research projects and special course offerings. The centers also bring in guest speakers and hold conferences of interest to the Sanford community. Listed are both centers housed within the Sanford School, as well as university-wide centers in which public policy faculty are active.

Sanford Affiliates

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society researches, analyzes, and promotes philanthropy that consistently produces high impact. The center stimulates communication, collaboration, and problem-solving around pressing issues of public policy and philanthropy. It operates the Duke Foundation Research Program. Director: Joel Fleishman, Professor of Law and Public Policy

Center for the Study of Philanthropy and Voluntarism promotes the exchange of ideas among students, scholars, policymakers, and practitioners in the nonprofit sector. Director: Kirsten Goss, Kevin D. Gorter Professor of Public Policy and Political Science

Center on Science & Technology Policy serves as an interdisciplinary hub for science and technology policy analysis, while also fostering deeper ties between the university and the local and global tech communities. The center is a joint venture between the Sanford School and the Duke Initiative for Science & Society.

Counterterrorism and Public Policy Fellowship Program provides mid-career military and civilian national security officials with an academic year of instruction in national security studies and the policymaking process, as well as more directed courses in areas such as intelligence, counterterrorism policy, and regional studies. Executive Director: Tim Nichols, Visiting Associate Professor of the Practice, Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security

DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy works to sustain the accountability function of journalism through research, education, policy development, and professional training. The center manages the Policy Journalism and Media Studies Certificate and the Duke Reporter’s Lab. Director: Phil Napoli, James R. Shepley Professor of Public Policy

Duke Center for Child and Family Policy seeks to solve problems facing children in contemporary society by bringing together scholars from many disciplines with policymakers and practitioners.

Duke Center for International Development addresses specific policy issues associated with globalization and international development through training, graduate-level education, advisory programs, and related research. Interim Director: Edmund Malesky, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy

Fleishman Civil Society Fellows Program focuses on the changing public policy roles of philanthropic foundations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), social enterprises, and other organizations and participants in the nonprofit sector. Director: Joel L. Fleishman, Professor of Law and Public Policy

Hart Leadership Program is the first endowed undergraduate program at a major university to emphasize ethics, service, social entrepreneurship, and the responsibilities of leadership as part of its curriculum. Director: Andrew Nurkin, Hart Associate Professor of the Practice of Public Policy

The James B. Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy is a nationally recognized leader in educational policy, dedicated to empowering governors, policymakers and educational leaders in the development and implementation of strategies to transform public education. Executive Director and CEO: Javaid E. Siddiqi

POLIS: The Center for Political Leadership, Innovation and Service engages the Duke community in meeting a great challenge of our time: restoring the health of our politics through leadership, innovation and service. Through teaching, research, and collective engagement, the center aims to inspire and empower Duke students to participate in political life in all its forms, and to improve democratic processes in the United States and around the world. Director: Deondra Rose, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Political Science and History

Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Center for Ethics, Public Policy and the Professions focuses its teaching and research activities on ethical issues in public policy decisions. The center sponsors symposia, speakers, and conferences. Director: Joel L. Fleishman, Professor of Law and Public Policy

Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security was launched in 2005 to stimulate cross-disciplinary discussion and scholarship on military, diplomatic and domestic counterterrorism strategies and policies for preventing and protecting against terrorist attacks. It is cosponsored by Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, and RTI International. Director: David Schanzer, Associate Professor of the Practice of Public Policy

Triangle Institute for Security Studies is an interdisciplinary consortium founded in 1958 and sponsored by Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State University to advance research and education concerning national and international security, broadly defined. Director: Peter D. Feaver, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy

The World Food Policy Center addresses four broad categories of food issues: hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity; obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes; agriculture and the environment, including biodiversity, GMOs, climate change, water, and other issues; and food safety and defense. It seeks to create a global network of people working on food issues to create a world food policy idea bank. Director: Norbert Wilson, Professor of Divinity and Public Policy; Professor of Food, Economics and Community

Duke University Research Centers and Institutes Related to Public Policy

Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University teaches, engages in, and presents documentary work grounded in collaborative partnerships and extended fieldwork. CDS promotes documentary work that cultivates progressive change by amplifying voices, advancing human dignity, engendering respect among individuals, breaking down barriers to understanding, and illuminating social injustices. Director: Wesley C. Hogan

Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research bridges science, law, and public policy to provide policy and legal solutions to crucial public health issues. Director: Kathryn Whetten, Professor of Public Policy and of Community and Family Medicine

Center for Law, Economics, and Public Policy organizes workshops, conferences, and other scholarly activities in the area of law and economics, with a particular focus on the intersection between welfare economics and normative questions regarding legal frameworks, institutions and doctrines. Director: Matthew Adler, Richard A. Horvitz Professor of Law, Professor of Public Policy and Philosophy

Center on Law, Ethics and National Security encourages and sponsors teaching, research, and publications concerning national security law topics, as well as conducting conferences and seminars in the national security field. Additionally, it seeks to provide a focus on national security decision-making from an ethical perspective. Executive Director, Charles J. Dunlap, Professor of the Practice of Law

Duke American Grand Strategy Program is an interdisciplinary program that blends education and scholarship. Our mission is to raise future leaders by having students study past strategists and engage with current leaders. Through workshops, distinguished lectures, and courses, participants in AGS have the opportunity to interact with leaders from the world of policy as well as the best scholars writing on these topics today. Director: Peter Feaver, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy

The Duke Population Research Institute (DuPRI) is dedicated to the conceptual unification of the demographic sciences. Its affiliated faculty and research scientists are drawn from the fields of sociology, public policy, economics, biology, genetics, botany, and applied and pure mathematics, among others. Director: M. Giovanna Merli, Professor of Public Policy and Sociology, Research Professor of Public Health

Duke Sexual and Gender Minority Health Program is an initiative to support sexual and gender minority health through three areas of excellence: groundbreaking research, best practices in care & clinical practice, and public policy formation. More information is available at Codirectors: Sarah LeGrand, Associate Research Professor of Global Health, Kathryn Whetten, Professor of Public Policy, Global Health, Nursing and Community and Family Medicine.

Kenan Institute for Ethics is a university-wide initiative that supports the study and teaching of ethics and promotes moral reflection and commitment in personal, professional, community, and civic life. The institute’s work is guided by the conviction that universities have a responsibility to prepare students for lives of personal integrity and reflective citizenship by nurturing their capacities for critical thinking, compassion, courage, and their concern for justice. Nannerl O. Keohane Director: Suzanne Shanahan, Associate Research Professor of Sociology

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions’ mission is to become the nation’s leading source of effective solutions to critical environmental problems by providing decision makers in the public and private sectors with unbiased evaluations of policy risks and rewards, and innovative, practical ideas for meeting complex challenges. Interim Director: Brian Murray, Research Professor, Nicholas School of the Environment and Public Policy

Program in Public Law promotes better understanding of our nation’s public institutions, of the constitutional framework in which they function, and of the principles and laws that apply to the work of public officials. Codirectors: Marin K. Levy, Professor of Law, Ernest A. Young, Alston & Bird Professor of Law

The Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity is a scholarly collaborative engaged in the study of the causes and consequences of inequality and in the assessment and redesign of remedies for inequality and its adverse effects. Director: William A. Darity, Jr., Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics

The Social Science Research Institute supports innovative, externally funded research that bridges to policy, integrates knowledge and service, and makes the translation between theory and practice. Director: Donald H. Taylor, Professor of Public Policy, Community and Family Medicine and Nursing