If you work on grant proposals or other university reports, you may be familiar with this request: Find me all of the Duke faculty members who are experts in cancer, water quality or some other field of research.
Answering such questions at a decentralized university can be a challenge.
That's why the provost's office has been developing a campus-wide database to provide quick summaries of faculty scholarship in diverse fields. It plans to begin rolling out Scholars@Duke in 2013, initially with several departments and schools and then expanding to include others.
In the meantime, Duke faculty and staff can find answers at another new data source. In early 2012, Duke contributed profiles on thousands of its faculty members to a database that seeks to boost North Carolina's economy by connecting researchers with new collaborators. REACH NC highlights a faculty expert's research fields, publications, patents and other information.
"It's a very useful tool," says Tom Healy, Duke's director of corporate relations. "When I get an inquiry from a company about whether Duke is doing research on some topic, I go to REACH NC and check which of our faculty members might be good matches."