About Us

Founded in 2014, The Center for Innovation Policy at Duke Law is a forum for independent analysis and balanced discussion of policies for promoting technological innovation and its contributions to economic growth. The Center brings together technology and business leaders, government officials, legal professionals, and academic experts to identify improvements in public policies focused on information, communications, and intellectual property. It places emphasis on evidence-based policymaking and anticipation of issues extending beyond the current election cycle. In addition to a varied program of public events on Duke’s Durham, North Carolina, campus and at the University’s conference facilities in Washington, D.C., faculty and staff undertake original research for presentation at conferences and/or for publication. The Center partners with Duke’s university‐wide Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, funded by Duke alumnus David Rubenstein, and with the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Fuqua School of Business. It draws on the expertise of affiliated faculty across the University. A board of distinguished business leaders and former public officials advises the Center’s leadership.

The Center’s activities receive financial support from a variety of public and private nonprofit and for‐profit entities, including ongoing corporate sponsors. To ensure the Center’s objectivity and independence, it adheres to a set of restrictive guidelines in its relationships with financially-interested stakeholders.

The Center’s Faculty Co-Directors, law professors Stuart Benjamin and Arti Rai, have done extensive academic work on spectrum auctions, broadband regulation, patent system improvement, and effective diffusion of federally funded research. Benjamin and Rai have also translated their research into practice through appointments to senior executive positions at (respectively) the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The Center’s Executive Director, Stephen Merrill, was a senior staffer in the Senate before founding and leading the National Academies’ Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) Program.