Data+ Call for Applications

Looking to take on new challenges this summer? Want to learn more about machine learning and data visualization? Curious to understand how the U.S. expanded electricity access in rural areas?

Consider applying to join the Energy Access Project’s Data+ project, Taking electrification on the road: Exploring the impact of the Electric Farm Equipment roadshow!

What is Data+?

Data+ is a full-time ten week summer research experience that welcomes Duke undergraduate and masters students interested in exploring new data-driven approaches to interdisciplinary challenges. It is suitable for students from all class years and from all majors.

Students join small project teams (at most 3 undergrads and 1 masters per team), working alongside other teams in a communal environment. They learn how to marshal, analyze, and visualize data, while gaining broad exposure to the modern world of data science. The projects (see below) come from an extremely diverse set of subject areas.i It is our hope that students will be able to both work deeply into their specific project and get a very broad picture of most of the skills needed for modern data science.

What is this project about?

In this project, a team of students led by researchers in the Energy Initiative and the Energy Access Project will explore historical data on the U.S. Electric Farm Equipment (EFE) demonstration show that ran between 1939 and 1941, which aimed to increase usage of electricity in rural areas. Students will compile data collected by the Rural Electrification Agency into a machine-readable form, and then use that data to explore and visualize the EFE’s impact. If time allows, they will then compare data from the EFE and a related, smaller-scale project from 1923 (“Red Wing Project”) to current data on appliance promotion programs in villages in East Africa that have recently gained access to electricity. The outcomes of this analysis would offer evidence on the successes and limitations of these types of programs, and the relevance of the historical U.S. case to countries that are currently facing similar challenges.

How can I learn more?

You can learn more by attending the Data+ information session on January 17th, 3-4pm, in the Energy Hub Atrium. You can also learn more and apply here. Feel free to direct any questions to

Applications due by February 27, 2020. Applications are evaluated on a rolling basis.

Interested in more qualitative research? Check out our partner Story+ project, Joining the electric circus: rural electrification and gender in the papers of Louisan Mamer.

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