Project Proposal Guidelines: Immigration Pop-up Theme

Special Call for Proposals for Project Teams Related to Immigration

Deadline: October 28, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.

Important Note: This RFP is only for projects related to immigration. All other proposals for year-long Bass Connections project teams should be submitted through our normal RFP process for 2020-2021 project teams.


Bass Connections supports interdisciplinary, collaborative research to address pressing societal challenges. The five interdisciplinary themes of Bass Connections support research related to persistent societal challenges such as health inequities, education, environmental sustainability, the intersection of technology and society and the brain’s role in making us human. As broad as these themes are, they are not all-encompassing, and we recognize the need to respond nimbly to new challenges confronting society. As a result, in 2018, Bass Connections launched its first “pop-up theme,” focused on hurricane recovery and resilience with a specific focus on the local impacts of Hurricane Florence. This call is for project proposals related to a new pop-up theme around research related to immigration.


For a country that has defined itself as a “nation of immigrants,” immigration raises complex issues about identity, culture, economics, social services, health care and security. In a June 2019 Gallup poll, nearly a quarter of Americans cited immigration as the most important problem facing the country. At the same time, 76% of Americans agree that immigration offers more benefits than costs. Another June 2019 Gallup poll found that 37% of Americans want to maintain current immigration levels; 35% want to decrease immigration; and 27% want to increase immigration.

Elsewhere across the globe, spikes in immigration, whether the result of geopolitical conflict, economic crisis or climate change, have also generated sharp debates over refugee and asylum policy, the boundaries of national sovereignty and the extent and limits of moral responsibility.

This is a special call for proposals for faculty interested in addressing research questions related to immigration through a Bass Connections project. Proposed projects may begin in 2019-2020 or 2020-2021. Project funding ranges from $5,000 to $25,000.

Research questions may include, but are not limited to:

  • What has been the economic impact and/or social experience of immigration, in the U.S. or elsewhere?
  • How can we best assess the relationship between national security and immigration policy?
  • What rights, under either national or international law, are possessed by individuals entering a country without prior legal permission?
  • How have political attitudes toward immigrants and immigration, in the U.S. or elsewhere, changed over the past fifty years? What conditions account for the shifts in public sentiment toward immigration?
  • How has media coverage of immigration impacted perceptions, attitudes or biases regarding “otherness” and the current climate of political polarization?
  • What is the impact of immigration status on stress and health outcomes? How should countries plan and account for the provision of health care for immigrant populations?
  • How can public agencies most effectively engage with immigrant communities when those communities are often distrusting of government?
  • What approaches have countries used to structure legal immigration, and to what effect?
  • How should the U.S., or other nations, support new immigrants?
  • How have governments handled requests for asylum, by individuals or families, and to what effect?

Members of the Duke community who are interested in this topic are also encouraged to attend the Provost Forum on October 16-17: Immigration in a Divided World: Between Nationalism & Humanitarianism.


All proposals must be submitted through the online proposal form by October 28, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. We will review proposals on a rolling basis. You may work directly within the online form and save and return to your work, or you may use this Word template to first draft your responses. All character count limitations noted include spaces.

In alignment with the Bass Connections model, we will evaluate proposals based on the extent to which the project establishes connections:

1.    Across areas of disciplinary expertise
2.    Across learner levels
3.    Between the academy and the broader world

For questions, please contact Laura Howes, Director of Bass Connections, at or (919) 684-9021.