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 2019-2020, this initiative is supporting four Bass Connections project teams that are:

  • Developing new microorganisms to convert plastic waste into biodegradable products
  • Refining tools for coastal conservation practices to protect oyster reef ecosystems
  • Assessing conservation interventions for coral reefs, mangroves and sea grasses
  • Understanding the impacts of gold mining on aquatic ecology in the Amazon.

Read more about Biodiversity Conservation

Energy Access Project

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 2019-2020, two Bass Connections project teams are tackling this challenge by:

  • Reducing the reliance on wood-fired stoves (a leading cause of premature death in the developing world) by developing an alkaline water electrolyzer and hydrogen storage system that can provide low-cost, clean fuel for cooking and heating
  • Using satellite imagery and remote sensing data to help decision-makers expand access to electricity in developing countries.

Read more about the Energy Access Project