Collaborative research partnerships between institutions of higher education and local communities offer a valuable form of scholarship and a transformative approach to teaching and learning. Yet ethical and effective university-community research collaboration is complicated by numerous factors: university incentive structures, rigid research processes, lack of community clarity on academic processes and power dynamics that challenge partners’ willingness to voice concerns. Our Bass Connections team and project aims to address the following questions: What are current practices and processes of research partnership with at Duke and in the Durham community? How are partnerships initiated and structured, and what prompts these processes? What challenges are experienced in partnership processes? What are key indicators and facilitators of fruitful partnerships? We explore these questions through interview and survey-based data collection with Duke researchers and community partners.