Conservation X Labs Opens Competition to Develop Innovative Conservation Solutions

October 11, 2015

Tim Lucas, 919-613-8084,

By Kati Moore, MEM ‘16

DURHAM, N.C. - For students interested in innovative, interdisciplinary conservation work, Conservation X Labs (CXL) is offering a new and unique opportunity: a six-day competition sponsored by the Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative to develop working solutions to a modern conservation challenge.

The competition, called Conservation 3.0, is open to Duke graduate and undergraduate students in all disciplines. Students may enter as teams of three to five members, or as partial teams or individuals who will then be matched with other students with complementary interests and skills.

Registration is available here and closes at 11:50 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15.

CXL will hold a two-hour information session for interested students at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, in the Connection Cafe of Gross Hall. At the session, students will learn more about the competition and be able to network with potential teammates. The specific challenge will be released on Monday, Oct. 19. Students will then have until 9:00 a.m. October 26 to design a solution.

Conservation 3.0 is designed to bring novel ideas and actors to the table, said Xander Kent (MEM/MBA ’16), who is spearheading the competition.

“We’re trying to connect with people who don’t normally focus on conservation,” Kent said. “We want to see what kind of ideas and perspectives can come from engaging not only environmental students but also students in engineering and public policy to solve these challenges.”

Kent is part of a team of five Duke students who work with CXL: Jocelyn Tsai (MEM ’16), Mauricio Hernandez (MEM ‘16), Jay Sullivan (Trinity ‘16), and Connor Guest (Pratt ‘17).

CXL was founded by Duke alumnus Alex Dehgan, former chief scientist at the US Agency for International Development and a former Duke Rubenstein Fellow.

Kent, Tsai, Hernandez, Sullivan and Guest will hold office hours during the competition period to serve as a sounding board for teams’ ideas. On October 27, CXL will announce the finalists who will present their projects to the competition’s student organizers and other judges at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29. The winners will be announced immediately following the presentations. Winners will receive $500 and a behind the scenes tour of the Duke Lemur Center.

For more information, email Xander Kent.