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Center aims to change ‘siloed’ approach to policy challenges

Picture: Duke University

Duke University has received almost $6m in grants to improve global policy and issues such as food safety.

The World Food Policy Center (WFPC) at the Sanford School of Public Policy got $5m from The Duke Endowment, $600,000 from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust and $300,000 from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation (BCBSNC Foundation).

The center’s research, educational programming, conferences and policymaker outreach will focus on collaborative problem solving.

Participants include experts from the World Health Organization, the Council on Foreign Relations, the White House and the World Bank. The group will develop best practices to correct fragmented and counterproductive approaches to food policy.

Kelly Brownell, dean of the Duke Sanford School of Public Policy and WFPC’s director, said the needs of policymakers can guide research and scientific findings can help policymakers make informed decisions.

Brownell said numerous policy research and advocacy groups exist but there is little coordination across areas such as food safety and food defense, which covers contamination and foodborne bioterrorism.

He added that without connections, food policy can get made in uncoordinated ways meaning there is a win in one area but negative consequences in others.

Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke, chair of The Duke Endowment’s Committee on Educational Institutions, said the center will serve as a bridge between sectors of the food policy spectrum that don’t typically collaborate.

“It will bring new opportunities for learning and collaboration, with the potential for substantial improvement in how the world grows, consumes and safeguards its food supplies.”

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