Duke University has announced gifts and matching funds totaling $9.75 million for an initiative that aims to harness massive amounts of information in pursuit of solutions to society's biggest challenges.
Two gifts totaling $6.67 million from an anonymous donor, matched by challenge funds from philanthropists Anne T. and Robert M. Bass, will support the Information Initiative at Duke (iiD). Launched in 2013, the initiative brings together faculty and graduate and undergraduate students on projects that use "big data" to address a range of issues, from the identification of counterfeited art to the early detection of disease. In the initiative's first two years, iiD teams have collaborated with Duke Medicine to deploy personalized health care; with the Duke University Energy Initiative to improve energy efficiency; and with Duke's Social Science Research Institute to inform better public policies. The gifts also will provide flexible funding to iiD participants looking to explore new teaching and research avenues.
"The iiD has provided invaluable opportunities for our faculty and students to translate vast amounts of data into major breakthroughs," said Duke president Richard H. Brodhead. "This infusion of funds will allow us to continue to advance our understanding of how to convert data into knowledge for human benefit, as well as train students in these critical skills."