Bass Connections is made possible by more than 70 donors, including our founding donors Anne T. and Robert M. Bass. Bass Connections donors have established 86 funds to support project teams, educational programming, faculty engagement and linkages between Bass Connections and other university programs.

By investing in Bass Connections, our alumni and friends play a vital role in building this transformative program to its full potential and providing an inspiring model for the future of higher education. To learn the impact of Bass Connections, please see our annual reports and student reflections, or see three examples of how donor support makes a difference for the program.

Your gift to support Bass Connections – whether unrestricted or designated for one of the following priority areas – will continue to build the impact of the program. For more information about ways to give, please visit Giving to Duke.

Summer programs.

Summer Research Experiences

Bass Connections offers opportunities for students to engage in interdisciplinary, team-based research over the summer through programs such as Data+ and Story+. For undergraduates, these programs serve as a gateway into more in-depth research experiences and provide relevant experience for their career pathways. For graduate students, who often participate as project managers, these summer experiences develop leadership and management skills. The projects, which typically have an applied element, also further a faculty member’s research or benefit a community partner. Gifts to support these formative programs will help meet high student demand and create equitable opportunities for all students to engage in these experiences over the summer.


Health Policy & Innovation Theme

In Fall 2022, Bass Connections announced the creation of a new Health Policy & Innovation theme. Anchored in the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, this theme will support interdisciplinary research focused on improving health and well-being in the United States. The new theme will provide more robust opportunities for Duke’s large number of pre-health students and harness Duke’s strength as a world-class health system. Gifts to support the Health Policy & Innovation theme will sustain this unique student experience and help prepare the next generation of health and health policy leaders.

Students and faculty working together.

Project Teams

Our year-long project teams connect students and faculty throughout campus to tackle compelling challenges. Teams work together over the course of a year, or sometimes longer, traveling to collect data or meet with collaborators and immersing themselves in their question or problem. Team members experience the complexity of societal problems in applied contexts, the value of integrating areas of knowledge and the importance of teamwork to addressing the most pressing problems of the day. Gifts may be directed towards supporting project teams in broad thematic areas, including, but not limited to, climate change, mental health or urban development. 


Curricular Innovations

In addition to research experiences, Bass Connections is integrating the model of interdisciplinary, team-based inquiry around societal challenges into the curriculum by supporting the development or redesign of a growing number of courses. Courses that are affiliated with Bass Connections enable students to experience the Bass Connections model of education during one semester. These courses may serve as a gateway into a research experience, or an avenue for students to continue pursuing a certain style of learning and a line of inquiry following a research experience. Regardless, these courses help students develop critical teamwork and applied learning skills. Gifts to support curriculum development will provide course development support and funding for graduate students to aid in course design and delivery.

Flexible Program Support

Unrestricted support is crucial to sustaining and growing the program over time. Flexible endowed or expendable gifts support support students and faculty and bolster the program's top priorities, including project teams, summer research experiences and educational innovations.