Social Innovation Foundations

July 14 - 19 &
July 28 - August 2, 2024

Program dates

16,800 RMB
(Early Decision Price 15,800 RMB)


High School

Who can apply



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Harper Chen

Program Coordinator
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
T: (+86) 0512-3665-8718


Social Innovation is “A novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than existing solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals.”

                                                                                                                                                              —Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford

The Social Innovation 101 Summer Program is a unique and immersive experience designed to engage, inspire, and empower the next generation of change-makers. Focused on the critical areas of environment, health, technology, human behavior, and media, this program is a call to action for young minds eager to understand and influence the world around them. Through a dynamic blend of expert lectures, interactive workshops, and real-world problem-solving, students will gain invaluable insights into the complex challenges that define our age.

Moreover, this program does not merely aim to raise awareness but to actively involve students in the process of social innovation. By leveraging design thinking methodology, the program harnesses the analytical and creative abilities of students, enabling them to conceive and develop solutions that can be implemented in real-world scenarios. It provides a platform for young visionaries to connect, create, and challenge the status quo. Successful completion of the program signifies more than academic enrichment; it is a testament to a student’s commitment to social innovation and problem-solving in an ever-evolving global landscape.

Learning Outcomes / Program Highlights

Gain a comprehensive understanding of the current global challenges in the fields of environment, health, technology, human behavior, and media. Develop an awareness of the interconnectivity between various social, economic, and political factors that contribute to these challenges.

Acquire a foundational understanding of design thinking methodology and its application in problem-solving. Apply design thinking stages – empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test – to develop creative solutions to identified problems.

Strengthen collaborative and team-working skills by working with peers from diverse backgrounds on a common project.

Develop the capacity to innovate and prototype potential solutions to chosen issues within the constraints of time and resources.

Enhance abilities to articulate ideas clearly and persuasively in both written and oral forms.

Reflect on personal values, ethics, and the role of an individual in contributing to societal change.

Application Requirements

– Current high school students (grades 10-12) with excellent overall qualities and good listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in English.
– Open to all arts and science students and admission is based on merit according to batch.


  • Program fee: 16,800 RMB/person
  • 15,800RMB/person for early decisions (apply before March 31)

Program Owner/Instructor

Liqi Ren Ph.D.

Associate Director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Duke Kunshan University

As the Associate Director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Duke Kunshan University, Dr. Liqi Ren leads the development of the innovative and entrepreneurial culture across campus by initiating and strengthening various programs, topics, and resources. Dr. Ren also serves as a faculty on Design and Innovation with teaching and developing pedagogy around the themes of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. She is specialized using design thinking as a trans-disciplinary method to drive innovation, creative expression, and entrepreneurial success. She received Ph. D degree in Design from Arizona State University in 2018. Her research focuses on the culture and creative industry, design innovation and entrepreneurship in contemporary China.

Fang Li D.Eng.

Assistant Director for Innovation Incubator
Duke Kunshan University

Fang Li has over 20 years of experience working in design-related fields, as well as a complex knowledge structure covering a wide range of fields including design, information technology, and economic management. Since joining Duke Kunshan University, in addition to guiding students’ innovation and entrepreneurship projects, his research interests have focused on sustainable practices of inclusive design, the application and translation of emerging technologies to enable inclusive design, and innovation in design theory and methods. Having extended the application area of inclusive design originally studied with the elderly and disabled, he constructed design theories and methods for more diverse target user groups in business and competitive environments, and effectively experimented with these theories for design practice through specific research projects.

Coraline Goron

Assistant Professor of Environmental Policy
Duke Kunshan University

Dr. Coraline Goron obtained a double Ph.D. degree in Political Science from the University of Warwick and the Université Libre de Bruxelles under the aegis of the Erasmus Mundus GEM program. Before joining DKU, Coraline was a postdoctoral research fellow funded by the Wiener-Anspach Foundation at the University of Oxford China Centre. Her research centers on environmental politics with a specific focus on China, both domestically and as an increasingly influential actor in global environmental governance. Her Ph.D. thesis received the Marthe Engelborghs-Bertels Prize for Sinology in May 2018. It traced the transformation of China’s power stem and environmental protection and analyzed their combined outcomes on the implementation of decarbonization policies. It draws on a vast corpus of Chinese-language documentation, as well as interviews with Chinese industry experts and policy stakeholders.

Fan Liang

Assistant Professor of Media
Duke Kunshan University

Fan Liang is an Assistant Professor of Media in the Division of Social Sciences at Duke Kunshan University. His research and teaching explore how new communication technologies construct social and political changes. His research has received recognition and support from British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), and Volkswagen Foundation. He received Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Michigan. He also has a M.Sc. in Political Communication from the University of Glasgow and a B.A. in Public Administration from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Prior to academia, he was a journalist in China.

Claudia Nisa

Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science
Duke Kunshan University

Claudia’s scientific agenda is centered around identifying what works to helps us lead healthier and more sustainable lives. Her research program focuses on the effectiveness of behavioral interventions to promote healthy and sustainable living – eg. how to best promote energy savings, reduce food waste, increase cancer screening or blood donation. She translates behavioral science into practice to tackle these critical challenges, and to respond to calls for better informed policies. In order to do so, she uses a variety of methodological tools including (1) lab studies testing small-scale psychologically-driven interventions; (2) large field experiments testing how to scale-up behavioral interventions in natural settings; and (3) evidence-based policy evaluation, based on meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials and quasi-experiments. Claudia has a BSc degree in Social and Organizational Psychology and a MSc in Economics and Social Policy from the University of Lisbon, Portugal. She also holds a MSc in Decision Sciences and a PhD in Social Policy, both from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She has served a postdoctoral researcher to ETH-Zurich in Singapore, and New York University in Abu Dhabi.

Daniel Weissglass

Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Duke Kunshan University

Daniel’s work focuses on the intersection of philosophy, the cognitive sciences and emerging technologies. He has two major projects: Improving our understanding of cognition and the mind, and developing policies’ ethical outcomes in health, science and technology. His past work includes papers on mental representation, cognitive architecture and reactivity, health ethics, AI ethics and game/media studies. His teaching interests include the philosophy of mind, cognitive/behavioral sciences, artificial intelligence and applied ethics, particularly in global health. Weissglass has a B.A. in philosophy and a B.Sc. in psychology, along with a minor in Jewish studies, from the College of Charleston, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from City University of New York. He previously served as a graduate teaching fellow at the College of Staten Island and taught additional courses there as well as at Rio Hondo College.

Ja Hua-Henning

Assistant Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
Duke Kunshan University

Jan Hua-Henning is a historian of technology and risk. He writes about topics ranging from the history of emergency services and urban infrastructure to the history of race and disease. His current research focuses on how technology helps reveal who and what societies have deemed worthy of protection. His teaching interests at Duke Kunshan include the history and philosophy of science and technology, the global history of risk, and German and U.S. history. He has published in the flagship journal for the history of technology, Technology & Culture, and with the research group KRITIS on critical infrastructure. He has been a member of the Society for the History of Technology and the German Studies Association since 2019. Hua-Henning has an M.A. in history from the Technical University Darmstadt, Germany. He received his Ph.D. in the history and philosophy of science and technology from the University of Toronto, Canada. Before joining Duke Kunshan University, he was a pre-doctoral fellow at the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies at the Free University Berlin.

Application Deadlines

Application Materials

Applicants must complete the information requested within the link in its entirety which includes:

1. Recommendation Form (Required)
Please contact your high school to complete the Recommendation Form and affix the official seal. Application forms without official seal will not be accepted. You can find the recommendation form template by the below link:

2. High School Transcript (Required)
The high school transcript must affix an official seal or the academic affairs department seal. You are recommended to use the transcript template provided by the program team. Transcripts should include end-of-semester grades for each semester since high school (full marks for individual subjects must be indicated). Please also provide overall rankings or rankings by arts/science and indicate the total number of students If there is a grade ranking. You can also find the transcript template by the below link:

3. Self-introduction in English (Required)
Please introduce yourself in English with no more than 200 words (e.g. personal background, reasons for choosing the program, academic interests, leadership experience, extracurricular activities...).

4. Other supplementary Materials (Optional)
• Certificates of academic competitions, e.g., Five Subject Olympiads, national/provincial/municipal academic competitions, etc.
• Certificate of Language Proficiency (CLP), e.g., TOEFL, IELTS, etc.
• Proof of creative and innovative ability, e.g., National/provincial/municipal innovation competitions, invention patents, etc.
Notes: While these materials are not required, it is recommended that you merge them into a PDF file before uploading.

Are You Ready To Start?


Harper Chen

Program Coordinator
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
T: (+86) 0512-3665-8718