Center for Innovation Policy

Former DKU Vice Chancellor Simon joins as executive director

Denis Simon

Denis Simon, a professor of the practice at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and former executive vice chancellor of Duke Kunshan University, was named executive director of the Center for Innovation Policy in March.

“We are delighted to welcome Denis Simon to the Law School to lead the Center for Innovation Policy,” said Kerry Abrams, James B. Duke and Benjamin N. Duke Dean of the School of Law. “His expertise and experience in the field, coupled with his impressive leadership at Duke Kunshan, make him an ideal choice to drive its important research and programming and further enhance Duke’s visibility as a center of excellence in the field of innovation policy.”

The center, which was established in 2013, serves as a campus-wide platform for engaging faculty, students, corporate executives, and government officials in research projects, academic programs, policy analysis, and seminars and conferences regarding the domestic and international issues related to innovation processes and activities. Its mission is to help stimulate competitiveness that spurs economic growth and supports long-term social welfare.

Simon recently returned to Durham following a five-year term as executive vice chancellor of Duke Kunshan, a joint venture of Duke, Wuhan University, and the city of Kunshan located in Jiangsu, China. Under Simon’s leadership, Duke Kunshan launched its undergraduate degree program, expanded its graduate degree programs, and developed a series of research units.

Simon also supported the establishment of Duke Kunshan’s Innovation Research and Training Center, which conducts research studies and operates as an incubator to support student-led entrepreneurial initiatives.

Simon has long specialized in the field of science and technology policy and innovation studies. He recently participated in a special National Academy of Sciences panel titled “Science and Innovation Leadership in the 21st Century,” which explored a new paradigm for sparking more sustained innovation progress in the United States.

He was a founding member of the Experts Group of the U.S.-China Innovation Dialogue organized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and China’s Ministry of Science & Technology; served as a special adviser to the U.S. Patent and Trade Office on intellectual property rights issues in U.S.-China relations; was a member of the IBM-sponsored project Innovation Outlook 2.0 and 3.0; and served on the U.S. Council on Competitiveness as an expert dealing with China and international innovation issues.

Simon has written extensively on innovation issues in China, and is often consulted by U.S. and Asian media about developments in R&D, technology transfer, and innovation policy in the Pacific Rim. He earned his master’s degree and PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York.

“I am thrilled to assume this strategic position at the Center for Innovation Policy,” said Simon. “Duke possesses deep expertise in all facets of innovation policy. My hope is to harness that expertise to take the center to the next level in terms of international recognition and its involvement in the U.S. domestic policy arena.”

Stuart Benjamin, the Douglas B. Maggs Professor of Law, and Arti Rai, the Elvin R. Latty Professor of Law, who founded the Center for Innovation Policy, continue to serve as faculty co-directors.

“With the arrival of the Biden administration, there are clear signals that innovation will be a topic of immense attention,” said Benjamin. “Our hope is that with Denis Simon as an integral part of our team, we can make certain that Duke is a key player in the evolving discussions and debates about U.S. innovation policy and America’s role in the global innovation system.”