Bass Connections Model

Bass Connections team members

    Integration of Research, Teaching and Engagement

    Bass Connections brings together faculty, postdocs, graduate students, undergraduates and external partners to tackle complex societal challenges in interdisciplinary research teams. Teams establish three core connections:

    • Across areas of disciplinary expertise
    • Across learner levels (undergraduate, master/professional, doctoral and medical students)
    • Between the academy and the broader world.

    In year-long project teams, students and faculty engage in interdisciplinary, collaborative research that explores complex societal issues; some teams add a summer component.

    Numerous one-semester courses feature collaborative assignments and interaction with external partners on applied, interdisciplinary problems.

    In intensive summer programs, students spend six to ten weeks immersed in team-based mentored research.

    Student research awards support faculty-mentored projects proposed by individuals or teams of students.

    Involvement of Faculty and Students at All Levels


    Faculty across Duke’s schools engage in Bass Connections at every level, from providing vital program guidance on the Faculty Advisory Council, to developing and leading project teams, engaging as course instructors and mentoring students as they take their research further. Many faculty members have also leveraged initial findings from their Bass Connections teams to obtain external grants. Faculty, learn how to get involved.

    Graduate and Professional Students

    Graduate and professional school students play a crucial role in Bass Connections—on project teams, as mentors for Data+ and Story+ teams and as research or teaching assistants for faculty who design and deliver Bass Connections courses. Bass Connections provides these students with opportunities to develop career-oriented skills, including mentoring, project management, team-based research and sustained engagement with external partners and clients. Learn more.


    Bass Connections helps undergraduates build research skills in a small group setting, develop a deep understanding of an issue of interest, engage with communities, explore career paths, apply coursework to a complex societal challenge and enhance thesis research. Learn more.

    External Partners

    Most teams work with community partners outside Duke, including nonprofits, universities, school systems, hospitals, government agencies and private companies. Teams have worked with 430 partners in 40 countries on five continents in addition to cities and towns around the U.S., the Carolinas and right here in Durham. Learn more.