Collaborative Interdisciplinary Research Tackling Complex Societal Challenges

Bass Connections is a university-wide academic program that gives students a chance to work on important research alongside faculty from all of Duke’s schools. Each year, nearly a thousand undergraduates, several hundred graduate students and more than 350 faculty and staff participate in Bass Connections through approximately 60 year-long project teams, 45 one-semester courses, 45 summer projects and 10 student research awards.


The program’s thematic areas connect faculty and students to societal challenges through project teams, courses and summer programs.

Bass Connections Open supports other interesting projects that fall outside of these themes.

We also recognize the need to respond nimbly as new issues emerge and command attention. This past year, in partnership with the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy and with the support of the Duke Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, we launched a COVID-19 “pop-up theme” to support teams that examined the complex issues and impacts of the pandemic. This followed our first pop-up theme in 2018 on hurricane recovery and resiliency, and second pop-up theme in 2019 on the social, political and economic issues related to immigration.

Images from the Brain and Society theme.