RTI-Duke Global Development Initiative

Grounded in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park area, RTI International and Duke University are uniting to leverage their diverse expertise and capabilities to help the world reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and fulfill their own global missions.

The RTI-Duke Global Development Initiative will build on existing collaborations and further promote working relationships among experts in key development sectors and provide technical and administrative support to facilitate new and improved partnerships.

The initiative has three main objectives:

  1. Secure new business to achieve greater global impact
  2. Develop next generation development professionals by engaging Duke students in RTI research and project implementation
  3. Raise the profile of RTI and Duke and their work in development through joint events and publications


To learn more and get involved, please contact Eric Johnson (ericjohnson@rti.org) and Alison Mitchel LeFew (amitchell@rti.org).


Complementary Capabilities

The RTI-Duke partnership leverages a wide range of capabilities and expertise across both organizations. It also leverages extensive networks, R&D infrastructure, laboratories, and ongoing university collaboration investments.

  • RTI International is a global leader in international development with more than 35 current development projects in over 75 countries. RTI’s international development staff is more than 1,600. In FY 16, RTI was a top-ten USAID partner in terms of dollars obligated.
  • RTI helps developing countries and communities address complex problems in education, energy, environment, health, food security and agriculture, governance, and workforce and economic opportunity. Its programs emphasize sustainability, bringing partners in government together with foundations, donor organizations, the private sector, and academic institutions.
  • RTI delivers advisory and training services at all levels of government and civil society, and designs and implements programs that are informed by strong evidence and deliver measurable outcomes. RTI also conducts research to develop innovative solutions to enduring and emerging issues facing developing nations.
  • Duke University is committed to working with communities across the globe to meet 21st century challenges. Duke students and faculty members work, learn and serve in more than 150 countries. Duke researchers have expertise in global health and healthcare delivery, climate change, water access, innovation, international development policy and a wide variety of other topics.
  • Duke has 180 partnerships with universities, hospitals, governments, NGOs and other organizations worldwide, including Makerere University, Fudan University, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre and the National University of Singapore. Partnerships range from faculty-to-faculty research projects to undergraduate and graduate student exchange programs.
  • Duke also brings the unique perspectives and talents of its student body.

Select examples of past and existing RTI-Duke collaboration

Initiative Leadership and Plan of Action

The initiative is led by Eric Johnson of RTI, with Alison Mitchel LeFew of RTI serving as the project manager.

A working group (below) will drive the initiative and provide in-reach to key teams and domains across RTI and Duke.

Smaller technical communities of practice will also be formed to keep collaborative activities moving forward in key areas. Each community of practice will have technical champion, interested staff members, and Initiative leadership oversight.

To engage students, the initiative will leverage already-funded research teams at RTI and Duke (i.e., Bass Connections) as well as interns from flagship programs at Duke such as Data+, Story+, and the Versatile Humanist.

Working Group Members

RTI   Duke