Information for Faculty


For Faculty

Bass Connections facilitates cross-disciplinary research in a vertically integrated fashion. Bass Connections: Brain & Society has the broad mandate of connecting basic science research to real-world applications and interdisciplinary dialogue. Participating undergraduate students are supported financially, administratively and academically to perform faculty-initiated projects that relate to current and trending issues. Faculty-initiated proposals are matched with interdisciplinary teams of undergraduates to complete projects with diverse outcomes, ranging from co-authored articles to artistic solutions, policy briefs, smartphone applications, curricula, community outreach programs and others. 

Any group of faculty members with interests in these areas is invited to submit an application.  

*Proposals for 2017-2018 Bass Connections in Brain & Society teams are no longer being accepted.


Frequently Asked Questions

What would I do as a Bass Connections team co-leader? The central concept of the Bass Connections program is team-based scholarship that involves undergraduates and other trainees under the supervision of two or more faculty members. Thus, as a co-leader of a Bass Connections team, your primary role would be to supervise scholarship that directly or indirectly advances your scholarly goals – working with students and other colleagues on a question of mutual interest. The research questions and desired outcomes are determined by you and your colleagues, but instead of having a single student working on those questions, there would be an interdisciplinary team of motivated students. program staff work to make team leadership a straightforward, enjoyable and rewarding experience for faculty members.

What are Brain & Society teams? The typical team will consist of two or more faculty, one or more postdoctoral fellows or graduate students, and 3-5 undergraduates. Team members should come from a variety of disciplines and come with different skills. For example, a team focused on connections of neuroscience to education might include undergraduates with majors in developmental psychology, computer science, philosophy and neuroscience. The typical lifespan of a team is anticipated to be about 1.5 years, with opportunities for renewal.

What topics will Brain & Society teams investigate? Teams could approach any topic within the broad theme of “Brain & Society,” with substantial flexibility therein. Our theme takes an expansive view of “brain” to include cognition, philosophy, sense of self, ethics, aesthetics and many other concepts that engage faculty and students from throughout the University. Most topics will be faculty-generated, based on shared interests that could connect to some interdisciplinary and real-world issue. Please contact theme directors with any questions.

How will team members be recruited? In general, the teams will form around faculty interests. Graduate students or postdoctoral fellows will typically be recruited based on the connections to faculty members or the topic area. Undergraduates will either be recruited by faculty members directly or through open calls to recruit undergraduates.

What resources will the program provide? Each Bass Connections theme has a limited budget for supporting team activities. The resources will often support students and their co-curricular activities; e.g., summer fellowships, a group travel budget, a workshop. Some direct research expenditures may be supported as long as student participation is carefully conceptualized and integrated. A typical team budget might include summer fellowships for four undergraduates and partial summer support for a graduate student, along with some co-curricular activities and/or research funding. Each prospective team will be encouraged to work with the theme directors on a proposed budget.

What can I do next? The first steps should be to partner with one or more other faculty and to establish an overall topic for your team. You should then fill out an application. To find out more, go to the Bass Connections website. Questions can be directed to Bass Connections: Brain & Society director.

Learn more about DIBS

The Duke Institute for Brain Sciences is a scientific institute with a collaborative spirit and a commitment to education, service and knowledge across disciplines. We encourage creativity, taking risks, sharing ideas and working together.


Sign up to receive email updates about DIBS news, events and more.