Apply for a Bass Connections Student Research Award by March 6

January 15, 2020

Student Research Awards.
Student Research Award winners at the 2019 Bass Connections Showcase; not all winners are pictured (Photos: Kelley Bennett)

Deadline and Submission

Proposals should be submitted using this online form by Friday, March 6, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. ET.


Bass Connections creates opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to work alongside faculty to explore societal challenges through interdisciplinary research teams. The Bass Connections Student Research Award provides funds of up to $3,000 (for one to two students) or $5,000 (for groups of more than two students) to support student-directed research projects that meet one of the following parameters:

  1. Undergraduate and graduate students who have completed (or are completing) a Bass Connections year-long project team or summer program may propose to continue some aspect of the team’s work through a faculty-mentored research experience. Such research experiences may be either individual or collaborative although collaborative projects are preferred.
  1. Students who have participated in Bass Connections may also propose a research project that is not related to their Bass Connections experience so long as the proposed project is collaborative (i.e., involving at least two students) and interdisciplinary in nature.
  1. Undergraduate and graduate students who have not yet participated in Bass Connections may also apply so long as the proposed project is collaborative (i.e., involving at least two students) and interdisciplinary in nature.

Other Eligibility Criteria

  • All projects must have a faculty mentor.
  • Projects must involve research.
  • Projects must occur within the next year (from May 2020 to May 2021).
  • Students must be active students during the time of the proposed research (i.e., graduating students are not eligible).
  • Students who have previously received a Bass Connections research award may not apply again.

For examples, view previous awardees from 2019 and 2018.  

Proposal Criteria

Proposals should be no longer than five pages and should be submitted as a single document using this online form. Proposals are due Friday, March 6, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. ET and should include:

  • Abstract: Provide a brief summary of the project and the issue it will address (1-2 paragraphs, no more than 200 words).
  • Research plan: A brief narrative that articulates: 1) the goals of the research; and 2) a plan of how the research will be conducted, including a timeline for key activities.
  • Connection to Bass Connections: If this research follows directly from a Bass Connections team experience, please articulate this connection. For projects that are not connected to a Bass Connections team experience, please explain how the proposed project aligns with the Bass Connections model (team-based, interdisciplinary research around societal challenges), and the origins of the proposed work (e.g., inspired by an experience in a particular course, DukeEngage, Study Away, Duke Immerse, a humanities lab, an extra-curricular experience).
  • Team composition: List all students who will be involved in the research and any external partners.   
  • Student development: For each student involved, explain how this project fits within their overall academic and professional plan.
  • Budget: Submit a budget plan (up to $3,000 total for projects involving one to two students or up to $5,000 total for projects involving more than two students) and timeline for the use of funds. Please list all other sources and amounts of support for the research project, both confirmed and anticipated/applied for (if applicable). Funds may support travel, equipment or other needs associated with the research project, and may be used from May 2020 until May 2021. Students may not use the funds to compensate themselves for time spent performing the research.
  • Faculty endorsement: Submit a letter or e-mail of support from the faculty mentor (can be submitted as a separate attachment, if needed). This letter should articulate the faculty mentor’s willingness to supervise the project; why they feel the research is worthwhile; and any other relevant information about their connection to the proposer(s).

Review and Selection

We anticipate awarding funds to at least seven projects, with a preference for collaborative projects. Proposals will be reviewed by the Bass Connections Faculty Advisory Council and Bass Connections leadership. Decisions will be announced by March 31, 2020, and funds will be awarded as appropriate to the timing of the project.

As a condition of funding, awardees will be required to provide a 400-600 word reflection on their research experience, with photos, by no later than April 30, 2021. The Bass Connections program team may also check in with awardees during the year to request a short update.


Laura Howes, Director, Bass Connections; (919) 684-9021

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