Pushing the envelope

Duke launches center to explore innovative science and technology policy

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DURHAM, N.C.—A new institution at Duke University, the Center on Science & Technology Policy, will explore the impact of emerging technologies on society and develop new approaches for regulating those technologies. The center is a collaboration between The Duke Initiative for Science & Society and Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, and it will serve as an interdisciplinary hub for science and technology policy analysis, while also fostering deeper ties between the university and local and global tech communities.
Directing the center is Matt Perault, who will have a joint faculty appointment in the Sanford School and in Science & Society. Perault previously served as a director of public policy at Facebook, where he led the company’s global public policy planning efforts on issues such as competition, law enforcement and human rights, and oversaw public policy for WhatsApp, Oculus and Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research. Prior to joining Facebook, Perault was counsel at the Congressional Oversight Panel. He holds graduate degrees from Duke’s Sanford School and Harvard Law School.
“An academic institution can play an instrumental role in translating concerns about our technology services into concrete policy options that address potential unintended consequences of technology and social media,” Perault said. “My hope is that the center will be sufficiently nimble to tackle new policy issues as they emerge.”
Judith Kelley, dean of the Sanford School, said Perault’s appointment reflects the school’s growing technology expertise, interdisciplinary connections and innovative approach.
“Technology is in the foreground of so many decisions today, including policy. Matt Perault’s faculty appointment will contribute to knowledge on key research questions around technology and policy, as well as national and international security,” Kelley commented. “We are thrilled that an alumnus of our nationally ranked Master of Public Policy program with expertise working in major technology companies and for the government is returning to Duke. In addition, his role as director of the new center is a wonderful example of the value Sanford places on our interdisciplinary and applied work.”
In addition to engaging with regional and global corporate, government, academic and non-profit stakeholders on issues of science and technology policy, the center will expand Duke’s curriculum offerings in science and technology policy and continue to develop SciPol.org, which tracks active legislation, regulation and court judgments.

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