Special Initiatives

Gifts from generous donors are enabling us to apply the Bass Connections model of interdisciplinary, team-based inquiry to special research and engagement initiatives.

All Babies and Children Thrive (ABC Thrive)

ABC Thrive leverages the innovative research, education, clinical care and outreach capabilities of Duke University and Duke Health to promote optimal development in children from prenatal to age five. The initiative supports interdisciplinary teams of experts who identify, validate and disseminate best practices for use by parents, educators, health care providers and community stakeholders to ensure that every child has the best possible start in life, with a particular emphasis on three goal areas:

  • Prenatal and early childhood health and wellness
  • Community outreach
  • Applied technology to achieve scale

Read more about ABC Thrive

Biodiversity Conservation

This special initiative was formed in support of wildlife conservation programs at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and environmental research and education at Duke. In 2021-2022, this initiative is supporting six Bass Connections project teams that are:

  • Working with the Durham community to maintain ecological diversity in a local watershed
  • Informing forest restoration and spider monkey conservation efforts in Panama through research and local partnerships 
  • Developing technology to engage a broad community in identifying rainforest canopy species quickly and accurately
  • Using drones to establish baselines for current and future research in a warming ecosystem
  • Studying how declining animal populations impact carbon stocks in tropical forests
  • Using ocean evidence gap maps to examine the relationships between conservation interventions and social-ecological outcomes

Read more about Biodiversity Conservation

James E. Rogers Energy Access Project at Duke

Through a founding gift from Jim and M.A. Rogers, Duke University launched the Energy Access Project to develop new, collaborative ways to meet the energy needs of some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities, without exacerbating climate change. In partnership with Bass Connections, this initiative provides students the opportunity to build a sustainable energy future for all through participation in applied courses and year-long project teams.  

Read more about the Energy Access Project