Duke University Upping Efforts To Convert Research Into Societal Impact PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 13 May 2021 09:23

Duke University will be enhancing the ability of faculty and staff to bring their scientific ideas into the marketplace and create new economic opportunities for the region and the nation.

Effective July 1, the university’s Research Translation and Commercialization effort (RTC) will expand the university’s capacity to accelerate new discoveries and create new companies, therapies and products.

The university of the next century doesn’t just educate and discover, it helps drive the American economy by bringing new innovations to the marketplace,” said Duke University President Vincent E. Price. “We are investing Duke’s resources and building new partnerships with donors and investors to raise our research and our commercialization to new levels.”

The RTC initiative will complement the recently launched Duke Science & Technology fundraising campaign, which is focused on recruiting outstanding research faculty to Duke and building fruitful new collaborations with corporate partners.

The university’s existing Office of Research, currently led by interim Vice President for Research R. Sanders Williams, will become the Office of Research and Innovation as a national search for a new leader is conducted.

The new Office of Research and Innovation will include Research Administration, led by Associate Vice President for Research Christopher Freel; Scientific Integrity, led by Vice Dean and Associate Vice Provost Geeta Swamy, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology; Translation and Commercialization, led by Robin Rasor, the current executive director of Licensing and Ventures; and External Partnerships, an expansion of the corporate relations office which will be conducting a national search for a leader.

The new structure and added investment has grown out of an intensive study by university leadership and the Board of Trustees and a campus-wide conversation with research leaders about creating a more robust, focused effort to bring the best Duke ideas into licensing agreements or startup companies.

I’ve never worked on an initiative where there was as strong a consensus that this ought to be done and that it can be done,” said Williams, who has been in leadership positions at Duke for decades, including Dean of the Medical School and founding Dean of the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore.

By accelerating our efforts to commercialize Duke’s research ideas, we are simultaneously making this a more attractive place for the best faculty and students to work, and helping North Carolina and the United States compete and thrive in the knowledge economy,” said George Truskey, associate vice president for research and innovation.

Technology is rapidly changing how we live, how we work and how we take care of our health,” said A. Eugene Washington, chancellor for health affairs and president and CEO of the Duke University Health System. “By harnessing the power of discovery here at Duke and engaging industry and community partners at home and abroad, we have the potential to improve health care worldwide. Guided by our mission of advancing health together, Duke’s influence can help ensure that the latest advances in medicine and technology benefit not just some, but all of us,” Washington said.

Through the expanded office of External Partnerships, Duke is going to increase its efforts to partner with corporations on major research projects and on the recruitment of Duke graduates.

We’ve never had a clear single point of contact for connecting corporations to faculty with whom they might collaborate on projects of joint interest,” said Provost Sally Kornbluth. “The RTC will provide just such a ‘front door’ to Duke for prospective corporate partners while also providing connections for our graduates who want to build careers here in North Carolina.”

The university will also tap into its global network of alumni to help recruit more C-level leadership talent to the region and to grow the pipeline of investment funding for young companies. Local entrepreneurs often cite shortages of experienced executive talent and investment capital as limiting factors in their growth.

Williams said that RTC will play an important role in raising funds to support endowed professorships that reward faculty for their entrepreneurial efforts as well as their research and teaching, and to provide additional flexible research spaces for new and important work. “We need space for research that is still not-for-profit Duke research, but would then become an idea that is competitive in the marketplace,” Williams said. “We need flexibility and speed.”

Duke’s discoveries and inventions can benefit society best and make the world a better place if they move out of the university and the academic journals and into the wider world, and that usually requires commercialization.” Williams said. “We are going to be engaging more deeply with the private sector to speed up that process.”

Three NC Students Named Presidential Scholars PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 13 May 2021 08:07
U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona today announced the 57th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, recognizing 161 high school seniors for their accomplishments in academics, the arts and career and technical education fields.
The North Carolina scholars include (hometown, scholar, school, location):
NC – Cary – Pratyush Seshadri, Raleigh Charter High School, Raleigh, North Carolina.
NC – Cary – Nrithya P Renganathan, The North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics, Durham, North Carolina.
NC – Charlotte – Ijay Narang, Ardrey Kell High School, Charlotte, North Carolina.
“The 2021 Presidential Scholars represent extraordinary achievements for our extraordinary times,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “I am delighted to join President Biden in saluting these outstanding young people for their achievements, service, character and continued pursuit of excellence. Their examples make me proud and hopeful about the future. Honoring them can remind us all of the great potential in each new generation and renew our commitment to helping them achieve their dreams.”
The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.
Of the 3.6 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 6,000 candidates qualified for the 2021 awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT or ACT exams or through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, other partner recognition organizations and the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts™ program.
As directed by Presidential Executive Order, the 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, 20 Scholars in the arts and 20 Scholars in career and technical education. 
Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored over 7,600 of the nation’s top-performing students. The program was expanded in 1979 to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.
The Presidential Scholars Class of 2021 will be recognized for their outstanding achievement this summer.
A complete list of 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars is also available at 
Elizabeth City State Radio Station Receives $220,000 CPB Grant PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 12 May 2021 16:37

Elizabeth City State University’s public radio station, WRVS 89.9 FM, has received more than $220,000 in grant funds from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The grant, according to station general manager Melba Smith, will provide funds to produce and present local news broadcasts on a consistent basis.

The grant funds come from the CPB’s American Rescue Plan Act Stabilization Grant. The grant is funded under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus.”

Through local news broadcasts, WRVS will not only provide up-to-date reports on the region’s news, but also emerging information regarding COVID-19.

“WRVS plans to utilize the funds awarded to ensure that staff have the ability to provide live broadcast coverage in the event of a quarantine or limited in-person station access through the use of remote broadcasting tools,” said Ms. Smith.

The funds, she said, will also allow WRVS to continue providing “nationally acclaimed programming dedicated to educating and informing the general public on topics related to coronavirus prevention, preparedness, and response.”

“For the station, that also means bolstering its lineup of public affairs programming,” she said.

In March, the CPB board of directors approved a distribution plan for $175 million in emergency stabilization funds for public media. The funds were included in the American Rescue Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11.

During the height of the pandemic, WRVS worked to keep its listening area informed on the latest COVID-19 news. The station’s program director, Clay Mercer, continued daily broadcasts, not only providing local public service announcements and entertainment, but also through National Public Radio.

Mr. Mercer did much of his work, like so many, from home. Much of WRVS’s programming was prerecorded due to stay-at-home orders throughout the pandemic, and Mr. Mercer worked with a minimal staff.

Now, thanks to the CPB grant, the addition of staff will give WRVS the needed resources to provide broader coverage of the region and important information surrounding COVID-19.

“Through broadcast, streaming, and podcasting platforms, WRVS will produce and present local news and information for its listening audiences on a consistent basis,” said Ms. Smith. “As such, the station will also invest funding in coronavirus related resources and services that will be available to the public at station-sponsored community events and activities.”

For more information about WRVS, and a broadcast schedule, go HERE.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 May 2021 16:38
Elizabeth City State Launches Initiative With $ 4.2 Million In Credits and Grants PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 06 May 2021 10:38
Elizabeth City State University is launching its VikingPLUS program, a comprehensive set of initiatives to help students afford a high-quality college education.  The university will award new funds under VikingPLUS this year and has already provided a total of nearly $4.2 million in free credits, additional emergency funding, and housing and meal plan grants since spring 2020.
“Our students should be discovering their passions, not worrying about finances, which can be a significant concern for many families,” said ECSU Chancellor Karrie G. Dixon.  “A college degree opens doors to the future, and we have combined programs under the VikingPLUS umbrella to nurture our students and empower them to conquer their dreams.”
Ranked one of the Best Bang for the Buck colleges, ECSU supports students financially, and offers programs to help students feel a sense of belonging and purpose on campus.  As noted in Best Colleges, when students “tap into their school’s resources and programs, they have a better chance of graduating and entering the workforce with a bachelor’s degree.”
One of the biggest concerns for students and families is student loan debt.  According to Student Loan Hero, Americans owe more than $1.71 trillion in student loans, which is about $739 billion more than the total U.S. credit card debt.  
“We consider the overall welfare of our students.  From supporting them financially to keeping class sizes small, we strive to give our students the individual attention and resources they need to thrive,” said Chancellor Dixon.
Below are highlights of the VikingPLUS program, with more initiatives to be added in the future.


The first six credits of summer school are free:  431 students just received an award totaling $517,733 in free tuition for the summer 2021 term.


Students will receive $1,500 towards their housing and meal plan if they live on campus for the Fall 2021 semester.  ECSU expects to award $1.5 million for the 1,023 students projected to live on campus this fall.  


ECSU awarded more than $2.1 million in emergency grants to support students during the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds are awarded on an ongoing basis, and do not impact financial aid eligibility.  


The university offers a $150 to $4,000 grant if a student withdrew temporarily and re-enrolled at a later date.  ECSU has provided $50,000+ since the launch of the program last year, with additional grants to be awarded this summer.
Last Updated on Thursday, 06 May 2021 10:41

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