Bass Connections Invites Proposals for Projects Related to Immigration

Special Call for Project Proposals Related to Immigration

Deadline: October 28, 2019

Bass Connections is now accepting proposals for new projects addressing research related to immigration. Faculty interested in proposing such a project should review the immigration project proposal guidelines and submit a proposal by October 28 at 5:00 p.m.

Proposed pop-up theme projects may begin in 2019-2020 or 2020-2021. Project funding ranges from $5,000 to $25,000.

This special call for proposals does not take the place of the normal Bass Connections RFP process. All other proposals for year-long Bass Connections project teams should be submitted through our normal RFP process, which will open on September 3 with a deadline of November 4 at 5:00 p.m.


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.

Why 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.

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 16-17Immigration in a Divided World: Between Nationalism & Humanitarianism.

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

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