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Bass Connections

Bass Connections is a university-wide academic program that brings together faculty, postdocs, graduate/professional students, and undergraduates to explore societal challenges in interdisciplinary research teams. Past teams have tackled a wide array of challenges, ranging from improving educational outcomes for children in Durham, to developing strategies for using American forests and wetlands as carbon sinks, to improving neurosurgery outcomes in Uganda.

Bass Connections includes:

  • Year-Long Research Teams in which graduate students have the opportunity to receive academic credit or compensation while also gaining experience in applied research, project management, and leading teams

  • Summer Research Programs in which graduate students serve as project mentors for teams of undergraduate students conducting research

  • Semester-Long Courses in which graduate students can gain expertise in addressing complex societal problems within teams

  • Student Research Awards that provide funding for student-driven research projects—collaborative or individual

  • Course Development Grants that provide support for doctoral students to work with faculty to design courses that integrate collaborative project-based work as a central element of course design

For graduate students, the benefits of participating in Bass Connections include:

  • Enhancing dissertation or master’s thesis research

  • Coauthoring publications

  • Deepening relationships with faculty

  • Gaining experience in project management and leading teams

  • Building career-enhancing skills to stand out on the job market

  • Networking with colleagues in diverse fields

  • Getting experience mentoring others, particularly undergraduates

  • Gaining opportunities for possible funding

Each year, Bass Connections hosts more than sixty year-long research teams, forty summer research teams, and approximately forty courses. For more information on Bass Connections and how to get involved, visit For examples of graduate students who have participated, visit