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Duke University has received a $3.5 million gift from the Rothermere Foundation to establish a professorship in technology policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy. The Rothermere Foundation is chaired by Duke alumnus Jonathan Harmsworth, The Fourth Viscount Rothermere.

The Rothermere/Harmsworth Duke Professorship Fund will build on Sanford’s expertise in technology policy, central to today’s society and public policy. This generous gift boosts the school’s growing expertise in tech policy, directly aligned with Duke Science and Technology.

“This gift will transform the future of Duke’s work on technology policy, which affects every aspect of our life—how we live, work, communicate and govern,” said Judith Kelley, dean of the Sanford School. “Technologies raise profound questions around ethics, privacy, cybersecurity, free expression and equity. These questions speak to the very foundations of our democracy. This investment for a faculty member is bold and transformational and could not come at a more pressing time.”

The new fund will provide recruitment of a professorship at the level of full, associate or professor of the practice–allowing maximum flexibility to identify and hire a leader in technology policy to continue to build upon Sanford’s strengths.

Sanford is fast becoming a key technology policy player, sharing expertise with the U.S. government, national media and with leaders in academia and industry. Through applied research, faculty and students are directly addressing the most pressing technology policy challenges, such as investigating the sale of personal data, exploring the safe use of social media, and training the next generation of tech policy leaders in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

Lord Rothermere said, “The Rothermere Foundation’s gift to Sanford is prompted by my connections to Duke, and my own personal concern about how new technology is reshaping all of our business and personal lives. My academic studies and my work life sparked a deep interest in these innovations. I know Sanford to be a top public policy school and a hub for real expertise and learning in this field. With this support to Duke I, and the Rothermere Foundation, are confident that this professorship will train a new generation to address the complex and evolving technology policy challenges throughout our society.”

Sanford has built its tech policy expertise through recent faculty hires. The endowment of the Steed Family Professor of the Practice spurred the hire of David Hoffman, who has built the Cyber Policy initiative at Sanford, developed a cybersecurity leadership executive education program, and led critical research in platform accountability, data brokerage, cyber policy and gender violence used and cited by policymakers—all since his arrival in 2019.

Hoffman said that further faculty investment brings collaboration and tremendous advantages to Duke and Sanford.

“As Duke invests in Science and Technology, we have a responsibility to also advance how we govern technology in society’s best interests,” he said. “In a short period of time, Sanford has built a technology policy reputation with a powerful network and reach. This support for our tech policy foundation will be transformative for the future.”

Learn more about Sanford’s expertise in technology policy: https://sanford.duke.edu/story/sanford-leading-way-tech-policy/

At Duke, Lord Rothermere majored in History. He is the Chairman of Daily Mail and General Trust, the newspaper and media empire founded by his great-grandfather Harold Harmsworth, The First Viscount Rothermere.

The Rothermere Foundation also founded the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford, which supports world-leading scholarship and public understanding of America.