Professor receives two grants

Aman GebruAssistant Professor of Law Aman Gebru recently received two grants for research from Duquesne University. He was the recipient of a faculty development grant of $10,000 and he also received The Reverend Alphons Loogman Faculty Research Grant, worth $6,500.

Gebru will use the Faculty Development Fund for research that is underway, examining the ownership of inventions resulting from hackathons or innovation competitions. The project will attempt to answer several questions, including who owns the innovation from hackathons? Is intellectual property ownership needed for innovation in this field? And do participants and organizers of hackathons care about ownership of their contributions?

"The project has empirical, doctrinal, and normative aspects to it. The empirical part involves the use of custom-made software to access, examine and categorize the various types of terms and conditions dictating the ownership of intellectual property rights between hackathon participants and organizers. The doctrinal and normative parts will then assess how the law governs these relationships and whether anything needs to change. The funding will enable me to apply for external grants in hopes of expanding the scope of the project," Gebru said.

The other grant Professor Gebru received-The Reverend Alphons Loogman Faculty Research Grant-focuses on research related to the African continent and its people. Professor Gebru will use the grant to write a book chapter on biopiracy, the act of claiming ownership over biological resources and traditional knowledge of indigenous communities without their consent.

Gebru said, "Researchers and companies have benefited from the knowledge, practices, and resources of indigenous peoples and local communities for centuries. However, the innovation from these uses is not shared equitably because the researchers or firms tend to receive all the exclusive rights without sharing benefits with source communities. The book chapter will use a case study on the patent rights granted to a Dutch company over teff-a type of grain used to make injera-a staple food in Ethiopia and Eritrea. The book chapter will argue that these inequities need to be addressed and outlines potential solutions."

Duquesne University provides a variety of scholarship support opportunities to support faculty scholarship and research.

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