Research, Translation and Commercialization a Prime Topic for Duke Trustees

The board also reviewed a report on Duke’s endowment, which recorded a 6.9 percent annual return on its long-term pool

The Duke University Board of Trustees began what will be a year-long review of the university’s research, translation and commercialization efforts at its quarterly meeting this weekend.

Duke faculty and academic leaders, including Larry Carin, vice president for research, Jon Fjeld, director of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative, Mary Klotman, dean of the School of Medicine, and Robin Rasor, executive director of the Office of Licensing and Ventures, discussed the opportunities to strengthen its partnerships and become even more successful in translating discoveries by faculty into products and services that benefit others around the world.

The sessions focused on the research enterprise at Duke’s professional and graduate schools as well as on the undergraduate level, the infrastructure Duke has built over the years to support faculty who seek to translate or commercialize their research, and the faculty culture as it relates to innovation. The trustees also heard about similar efforts at peer institutions.

Future board meetings will include briefings on Duke’s engagement with entrepreneurs in Durham, the opportunities for regional engagement, and potential collaborations with universities, corporations, government agencies and research institutions in the Triangle. 

In other business, the board:

-- Reviewed the annual report on Duke’s endowment, which is managed by DUMAC. The university’s endowment recorded a 6.9 percent annual return on its long-term pool, the primary investment vehicle for its assets. The market value of the university's endowment as of June 30, 2019, stood at a record $8.6 billion. 

Duke’s endowment provides permanent support for university programs and priorities as designated by donors. Income from the endowment and other university investments contributed more than $647 million for student financial aid, faculty salaries, facilities, athletics and other critical academic and support services in the last fiscal year. 

Over the past 10 years, DUMAC has been one of the highest-performing university investment managers, recording an average annual return of 10.4 percent. More information about DUMAC's investment portfolio is available here.

-- Took part in a ribbon-cutting and celebratory dinner marking the opening of the Karsh Alumni and Visitors Center.

-- Received briefings on trends and issues in undergraduate admissions and strategic plans for Duke Health.