Duke University didn’t just get lucky with $5.9 million in grants for research related to a broad spectrum of food issues, including malnutrition, obesity, agriculture and contamination. This university’s reach has been long and its ambition for bettering the world unrestrained, so the funds from the Duke Endowment ($5 million), the William R. Kenan Jr. Trust ($600,000) and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of N.C. Foundation ($300,000) are deserved.
The project will try to draw together different areas of food research, and Kelly Brownell, dean of the Sanford School, rightly has reached out to N.C. State, a world leader in agriculture research, and UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Public Health. “There are other resources in the Triangle area,” Brownell said, “that probably make us unique in the country in having so much expertise in a small geographic area around issues of food and food policy.”
That’s well said and exactly right. These institutions work together more than most residents of the Triangle, and for that matter, their own alums, know. Researchers understand that the important discoveries that await them don’t care about rivalry. These universities together with a grant of this size can literally change the world, which is what all great universities are about, whether that means motivating gifted students to think big thoughts or in harnessing the research resources at hand.