Corporate Giving

With world-class faculty pursuing leading-edge research in a wide range of environmental areas, a demonstrated commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation, a student body comprised of extraordinarily bright, motivated individuals who graduate well prepared for leadership, and global connections in both environmental research and education, Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment offers considerable value to business leaders who engage with us.

The Nicholas School, too, reaps substantial value from partnerships with the private sector, through sponsored research support, internships and career opportunities for our students, enhancements to educational programs through shared knowledge, philanthropy and more.


Learn more about what your gift can accomplish



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Collaborations between the Nicholas School and private sector partners can have powerful impacts on discovery, innovation and leadership in the environmental realm, providing value for society as a whole and for your business’s bottom line.


Through research partnerships with the Nicholas School’s world-class faculty, corporations leverage specialized expertise, leadership and innovative perspectives within a range of environmental fields, including:

  • Environmental & Human Health: ecotoxicology, childhood exposures, fracking, coal ash, water safety
    Energy: innovative energy sources and production, clean energy, biofuels, fracking, climate change impacts, emissions
  • Water: ecohydrology, biochemistry, geochemistry, water quality/quantity, climate change impacts of flooding and drought, fracking impacts
  • Conservation & Biodiversity: environmental policy, conservation finance, forestry, species conservation, ecosystem protection, resource allocation, effects of climate change
  • Ocean & Coastal Conservation: marine biology, oceanography, application of high-tech approaches like drones to research, fisheries and bycatch issues, sea level rise, coastal and marine policy and management
  • Environmental Innovation & Entrepreneurship: the startup process, risk assessment, predictive modeling, supply chain management.

Corporate partners have access to several innovative research centers within the Nicholas School bring together scholars and professionals with wide-ranging expertise to address timely natural resource and environmental issues, including the Duke Center for Sustainability & Commerce, Center on Global Change, and Center for Geospatial Medicine.

Training tomorrow's business leaders

The Nicholas School’s highly regarded professional master’s, doctoral and undergraduate programs attract bright, passionate students. Through a combination of rigorous classroom academics, practical skills-based instruction, and internships and client-based projects where knowledge and skills are applied to real-world practice, Nicholas students graduate well prepared to contribute to employers from day one. The Nicholas School can help your company to build a professional workforce that is amply prepared to find creative, profitable solutions to your business’s greatest challenges.

  • Management candidates who bring an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset to your business, particularly those trained through our Environmental Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program or our new Business & Environment Program.
  • Skilled employees trained in specific areas of relevance and value to today’s business, including corporate sustainability, energy, ecotoxicology, geospatial analysis, sustainable systems analysis, and environmental communications.
  • Innovative training programs for practicing professionals, including our new Venture Mentoring ProgramTM and other executive education programs taught by Nicholas faculty experts.

Here are a few of the growing number of start-ups with roots in the Nicholas School. 


TRUfish uses DNA testing to improve the accuracy of seafood labeling and prevent seafood fraud.

Wild Kombuchia  - MEM ’14 Sid Sharma (right) and business partners Adam Bufano (center) and Sergio Malarin (left).jpg

Mobtown Fermentation co-founder Sid Sharma credits his Nicholas School experience with giving him the skills to build a successful kombucha-brewing company.

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Ungraded Produce receives a grant to test the potential of selling "ugly produce" to reduce economic and environmental impacts and food insecurity.


Ways to Engage

Corporations that engage with the Nicholas School of the Environment find tremendous benefits. Whether your company’s interest is in research, business development or building the capacity of your workforce, we encourage you to talk with us about ways to create value for all parties. Here are some ways to engage:

Research Partnerships

  • Sponsor or collaborate on research with Nicholas faculty.
  • Provide seed funding for early-stage research or entrepreneurial endeavors.

Consulting/New Perspectives

  • Let a faculty-guided team of Nicholas students tackle one of your business’s key environment-related challenges through a client-based course or master’s project.

Student/Workforce Development

  • Host internships and/or mentoring opportunities where exceptionally bright, motivated Nicholas students can gain real-world experience while advancing projects that benefit your company.
  • Hire well-qualified Nicholas graduates to join your management team by participating in recruiting events, posting job and internship openings or browsing resumes.
  • Bring in Nicholas faculty experts to provide executive education and training for your current workforce.
  • Take a sabbatical from the corporate setting at the School, or host a Nicholas faculty member on sabbatical at your company.


  • Provide a grant or philanthropic support for scholarships, professorships, internships, research or programs.
  • Make an in-kind gift of equipment, technology or expertise.
  • Sponsor a conference, workshop or another event.

Other ways to engage

  • Become a guest speaker for one of our classes or student organizations.
  • Provide a business case study or other educational content, so students and others can learn from your experience and success.
  • Invite a group of Nicholas Students to your company for a visit through our Career Treks program.