About Bass Connections

Bass Connections team members and partners in Uganda

Bass Connections bridges the classroom and the world beyond the university, giving students from all of Duke’s schools a chance to tackle complex societal problems alongside our superb faculty. We support research teams that draw on perspectives and methods from multiple disciplines, as well as robust engagement with communities, stakeholders and decision-makers.

Named in honor of founding donors Anne T. and Robert M. Bass P’97, the program exemplifies Duke’s commitment to interdisciplinary, collaborative inquiry. The Basses’ $50 million gift sparked a new approach to integrating research, education and civic engagement within the university; by including a $25 million matching challenge, their donation has already inspired more than 65 donors to support this innovative program.

Through Bass Connections, Duke is channeling its unique culture of collaboration, ambitious entrepreneurial spirit and established record of applying classroom learning to pressing global problems, to create a distinctive new model for education.

Our Goal

Elevate the importance of exploring societal and cultural challenges by:

  • Engaging faculty, undergraduate students, graduate/professional students and trainees in teamwork
  • Integrating disciplinary approaches and professional practice
  • Applying knowledge, research and skills in problem-solving, with engagement from community partners.

    Our Objectives

    1. Students and trainees at all levels gain problem-centered expertise and team-oriented skills and then use them to pursue research across disciplines that explore societal and cultural challenges.
    2. Faculty members integrate interdisciplinary education, research and outreach to explore societal and cultural challenges within specific themes. 
    3. Themes support and administer project teams and develop curricular pathways into, through and beyond teams, fostering cohesive, problem-centered education for students and trainees.
    4. Duke administration, departments, schools and institutes make infrastructure and programmatic changes that facilitate, sustain and promote the above objectives.

    Read our brochure and annual report.