January 12, 2022

Climate+ To Engage Duke Students in Data-Driven Climate Research

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
Climate+ To Engage Duke Students in Data-Driven Climate Research

One of Duke University’s signature summer education programs is expanding student opportunities to apply cutting-edge data science methods to climate challenges.

The Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke (Rhodes iiD), in partnership with the recently merged Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and Duke University Energy Initiative, is now accepting student applications for its first cohort of Climate+ projects. Climate+ is a new vertical within Rhodes iiD’s Data+ program, a full-time, ten-week summer research experience for Duke students of all class years and majors.

“With the Data+ program, we have established an effective program for equipping Duke students with data science skills as they tackle interdisciplinary research projects that have the potential for real impact,” said Robert Calderbank, PhD, director of Rhodes iiD. “Over the years, several Data+ teams have completed successful climate and energy projects, in partnership with the Energy Data Analytics Lab, Nicholas School of the Environment, James E. Rogers Energy Access Project at Duke, and more. With the new Climate+ vertical, we will work with faculty across many Duke schools to strategically build on those successes, engaging even more students in this important work.”

Climate+ is aligned with Duke’s commitment to advancing interdisciplinary understanding of climate change’s causes and societal impacts and to identifying sustainable solutions, including climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. This summer’s Climate+ teams will work on diverse topics, including electricity consumption, wetland carbon emissions, climate change’s impacts on river and ocean ecosystems and microbial food webs, and the use of remote sensing data to inform climate strategies. View the Summer 2022 projects.

“Duke University is strengthening its already substantial climate education and research efforts, and the introduction of Climate+ is part of that push,” said Brian Murray, PhD, interim director of the Nicholas Institute and Energy Initiative. “Climate+ creates new opportunities for Duke students to make meaningful, immediate research contributions while they develop strong data science skillsets. It’s just one of the ways that Duke is readying future leaders to address the climate crisis and accelerate the global energy transition.”  

Like the broader Data+ program, each Climate+ project team will consist of at most three undergraduates and one graduate student, who will work in a communal environment to learn how to marshal, analyze, and visualize data. Graduate students (including master’s and PhD students) typically serve as project managers, helping their teams stay on track with deliverables and timeline; their compensation may vary.

In addition to developing new skills through project work, Data+ participants gain broad exposure to the modern world of data science through interactions with guest experts and opportunities to learn from other project teams. Beyond these educational benefits, students in the Climate+ cohort will also have regular opportunities to engage with climate, environment, and energy researchers and practitioners.

All Data+ participants will receive a $5,000 stipend to arrange housing and travel. Funding and infrastructure support are provided by a wide range of departments, schools, and initiatives from across Duke, as well as by outside industry and community partners.

Interested Duke University students should apply to join a Climate+ project by Friday, Feb. 25.

Students who want to learn more about the program and projects can register to attend a virtual information fair hosted by Data+ on Friday, Jan. 21 at 1:30–3:30 p.m. ET.

A full list of Summer 2022 Climate+ projects can be found at bigdata.duke.edu/climate and below:


In fall 2022, faculty and staff across all Duke University schools will be invited to submit proposals for the second cohort of Climate+ projects, which will take place in summer 2023.

Questions about Climate+?  Contact Trey Gowdy, Energy Data Analytics Lab program coordinator, at trey.gowdy@duke.edu.