Bass Connections Seeks Proposals for New 2018-2019 Projects

September 05, 2017

Bass Connections, a university-wide initiative that facilitates interdisciplinary teams in exploring societal challenges, is calling for proposals from Duke faculty, graduate and professional students, post-docs, trainees and fellows for new project teams starting in summer 2018 or the 2018-2019 academic year. The application process begins today and closes November 3.


Bass Connections brings together Duke faculty and students to explore real-world issues in interdisciplinary teams. For some faculty, Bass Connections funds a pilot research project that lays the groundwork for external grant proposals. For others, the program offers an innovative teaching model and an opportunity to mentor students in a small group atmosphere. And some faculty view Bass Connections as an opportunity to initiate or deepen engagement with a community organization or other collaborators outside of Duke who can provide input into the development of research questions and translate findings into action.

Launched by a $50 million gift from Anne and Robert Bass in 2013, Bass Connections was created with the vision to create a distinctive new model for education that actively engages both graduate and undergraduate students to tackle some of the world’s unanswered questions. Projects are aligned with five themes from Duke’s top interdisciplinary institutes and initiatives: 

  • Global Health
  • Brain and Society
  • Information, Society and Culture
  • Education and Human Development
  • Energy and Environment

This year, the program is also accepting proposals that don’t fall squarely into one of the five themes—an option called “Bass Connections Open.” 


Faculty, post-docs and fellows are encouraged to propose global health projects that focus on addressing health disparities worldwide, including in the United States.

Since the program’s inception, more than 40 projects have been funded or co-funded under the global health theme. These projects have spanned more than a dozen countries, including India, Peru, Madagascar, Jordan and the United States.

The global health theme is co-directed by Mary Story, professor of community and family medicine and global health and David Boyd, Hymowitz Professor of the Practice of Global Health. Lysa MacKeen, assistant director for experiential learning at DGHI, is the global health theme administrator. 

The Bass Connections in Global Health projects funded for 2017-2018 include: 

  • Global Mental Health Program (Kenya, Nepal)
  • Environmental Epidemiology in Latin America: Impact of an Oil Spill in the Peruvian Amazon 
  • Customizing a Tool to Collect Complex Network Data among HIV-positive Youth in South Africa 
  • Decisions on Complex Interdisciplinary Problems of Health and Environmental Risk (United States)
  • Global Alliance on Disability and Health Innovation (multiple countries)
  • mHealth for Better Routine Immunization Data in Honduras 
  • Building Capacity for Surveillance and Diagnosis of Respiratory Viruses in Sarawak, Malaysia 
  • Cultural and Practical Barriers to Epilepsy Care in Uganda 
  • Addressing Global Health Needs among Refugee Children and Families in Durham County 
  • Pocket Colposcope: Increased Distribution and Adoption (Peru)
  • Duke Undergraduate International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Team (United States)Read what students are saying about their Bass Connections in Global Health experiences.

Read what students are saying about their Bass Connections experiences.


This year, in addition to their general request for proposals, Bass Connections is accepting project proposals that specifically focus on ethics, the arts, humanities, biodiversity conservation and sustainable energy transitions. Learn more about these special funding opportunities.  


In addition to the faculty request for proposals, the leaders of two Bass Connections in Global Health projects are recruiting students for the current academic year:

To learn more or apply to be a part of these projects, click on the links above to access project details and the online application.


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This summer, global health students (from left) Sarah Philo, Kerry Mallinson and Laura Borkenhagen were part of a Bass Connections team studying respiratory viruses in Malaysia. Photo by Jim Rogalski.

More than 40 projects have been funded or co-funded under the global health theme.

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