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Research Centers & Programs

The faculty of the Sanford School of Public Policy lead or collaborate with a wide variety of on-campus interdisciplinary research centers that are exploring vital policy questions and bringing provocative and timely speakers to campus. These research hubs can offer students opportunities to work with faculty on ground-breaking research, and to engage with leaders in many fields.

Listed below are institutes, centers, programs and initiatives housed at the Sanford School, as well as other Duke centers in which public policy faculty members are active. Those led by Sanford School core or secondary faculty members include the faculty director’s name.

Children & Families

Duke Center for Child and Family Policy
Director: Leslie Babinski
Associate Directors: Anna Gassman-Pines, Beth Gifford, Jennifer Lansford, Katie Rosanbalm, Leah Goldsmith

The James B. Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy

Ethics and Leadership 

The Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity
Director: William “Sandy” Darity

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Hart Leadership Program
Director: Gunther Peck

Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Center for Ethics, Public Policy, and the Professions
Director: Joel Fleishman


Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
Director: Timothy Profeta

Duke Energy Initiative


Center for Health Policy & Inequalities Research
Director: Kathryn Whetten

Duke Global Health Institute
Associate Director: Gavin Yamey

Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy
Director: Mark McClellan
Expert: Donald H. Taylor, Jr.

World Food Policy Center
Director: Kelly Brownell


Duke Center for International Development
Director: Eddy Malesky

Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center
Managing Director: Susan Carroll

Duke University Population Research Institute
Associate Director: M. Giovanni Merli


Center for Law, Economics and Public Policy
Director: Matthew Adler


DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy
Director: Bill Adair

Duke Reporters' Lab
Director: Bill Adair

Duke's Cyber Policy and Gender Violence Initiative
Director: David Hoffman

Counterterrorism experts Fran Townsend and Amb. Daniel Benjamin discuss “The Evolving Terrorist Threat" at Sanford Sept. 10, 2014.National Security/ Foreign Policy

Counterterrorism and Public Policy Fellows Program
Director: Tim Nichols

Duke Program on American Grand Strategy
Director: Peter Feaver

Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security
Director: David Schanzer

Triangle Institute for Security Studies
Director: Peter Feaver


POLIS: The Center for Political Leadership, Innovation and Service
Director: Mac McCorkle

Director of Research: Deondra Rose


Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society
Director: Joel Fleishman

Center for the Study of Philanthropy and Voluntarism
Director: Kristin Goss

Science and Technology

Duke Center for Science & Technology Policy
Director: Matthew Perault

Social Science

The Social Science Research Institute
Director: Donald H. Taylor, Jr.

Research Spotlight

Durham, NC is growing, but it has a legacy of inequality. For example, many neighborhoods had "covenants" requiring that excluded non-whites from buying homes. Professor Bob Korstad has been looking into the issue, and his research has been turned into a civic education initiative, Bull City 150: Reckoning with Durham's Past to Build a More Equitable Future. The project culminated in 2019, Durham's 150th birthday.