Get Involved with Bass Connections

Current Opportunities

Call for ABC Thrive seed grant proposals (due Sept. 30): Support for faculty teams exploring innovations in early childhood development (prenatal to age five). Grants range from $20,000 to $40,000. Funding will be awarded to three to four teams for a period of 18 months. At the end of a successful pilot project, seed grantees will be eligible to compete for a larger award of up to $300,000 over two years.

Call for 2021-22 Bass Connections projects teams (due Dec. 4): Support for year-long, team-based research projects that engage faculty, undergraduates, and graduate/professional students in the interdisciplinary exploration of complex societal challenges. Funding ranges from $5,000 to $25,000. In addition to the five themes of Bass Connections, faculty may submit proposals outside of these themes through Bass Connections Open. This year, we particularly welcome and encourage projects – proposed to any theme – focused on racial injustice and inequality, systemic racism and social justice.

About Bass Connections

Bass Connections bridges the classroom and the world beyond campus, giving undergraduate and graduate students a chance to tackle complex societal problems alongside Duke’s 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.

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. Nearly 800 faculty and staff members (such as librarians) have participated as of Spring 2020.

Participation in 2019-20.

Ninety-six percent of faculty team leaders say that they would recommend participating in Bass Connections to a colleague. Faculty report participating for a variety of reasons, including to:

  • Bass Connections team members in MadagascarStart a new research project
  • Mentor students while furthering their own research
  • Be part of something innovative
  • Be part of a multidisciplinary team and learn from other faculty members
  • Expand their professional network.

Teams result in a wide range of outputs, including peer-reviewed publications; external grant applications and awards; data collection for future use; conference presentations; public policy reports and recommendations; various prototypes and products; educational materials and trainings for community groups; and scientific models, formulas and algorithms. To learn more, read our evaluation report on the long-term impact of Bass Connections participation on faculty research, pedagogy and relationships.

Project teamProject Teams

Project teams are generally groups of five to 20 individuals, including at least two team leaders, graduate and undergraduate students, who work together to address a societal challenge through interdisciplinary research and outreach. Projects generally last nine to 12 months. Besides leading a team, faculty may opt to participate on a project team as a contributor, providing occasional guidance. Staff, graduate students, postdocs and trainees/fellows may also co-lead projects, but all projects must have at least one faculty team leader. 

Faculty may propose a project through our annual call for proposals which runs from early September to early November of each year. Faculty are invited to reach out at any time to discuss potential project team ideas. We will occasionally consider off-cycle proposals for projects addressing emerging or time-sensitive issues of strategic importance.

Bass Connections course participantsCourses and Summer Programs

Nearly 40 semester-long courses are affiliated with Bass Connections, each infused with interdisciplinary, team-based learning. Faculty can also receive guidance, support and funding to design new or modify existing courses that align with the model of Bass Connections through the Collaborative Project Courses Faculty Fellows Program.

Four summer programs offer additional opportunities for faculty to get involved as project sponsors, clients or leaders.

More Information

To learn more and get involved, please contact Laura Howes, Director, or any of our theme leaders. Additional information for faculty team leaders is available in our Team Resources section.