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Collaboration to Leverage our Resources

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  • We must aggressively foster collaborative relationships with other institutions to leverage our resources. This is particularly important in light of our comparatively small size. Our geographic location offers excellent opportunities, and we are especially well situated to develop substantial strategic research and teaching relationships with the other members of the Texas Medical Center. We also can expand our teaching and research achievement in the arts in part through effective partnerships with the cultural institutions of the museum district.

     

One of our greatest comparative advantages as a small research university is effective collaboration with other institutions to leverage our resources. This applies to our research endeavors, our educational partnerships, our administrative infrastructure, and our service mission to the broader community.

Nowhere is our ability to collaborate going to be more important than with the other institutions of the Texas Medical Center (TMC). The TMC's constellation of institutions and research endeavors presents extraordinary opportunities for Rice across the intellectual spectrum: from nanotechnology to global health and domestic healthcare delivery to understanding the human mind to medical ethics. Indeed, virtually every school at Rice has some current collaboration with the TMC, and in every case there are opportunities to deepen and widen that collaboration. While the Collaborative Research Center will represent a physical embodiment of some aspects of that collaboration, we must move with greater speed to identify and exploit the potential for other opportunities across the entire university. We must build both academic collaborations-including joint hires and joint programs when appropriate-as well as strong administrative relationships with the other TMC members that will help reduce the barriers to such collaboration.

At the other end of our campus, the institutions of the city's cultural district also present enormous opportunities to leverage our resources, particularly in all areas that touch upon the arts. These institutions can provide resources that are critical to achieving a more effective and visible program in a range of endeavors, and, conversely, we can offer institutions such as the art museums critical expertise and resources they are unable to provide internally. The growing and deepening collaborations with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Menil Collection are the most important recent examples of the opportunities that abound in our immediate neighborhood.

In some fields, we need to work more effectively with other institutions of higher education and research in and near the city of Houston through such structures as the Gulf Coast Consortia or bilateral relationships that enhance the educational opportunities of our students and the research potential of our faculty.

Much research at Rice is addressed to understanding and identifying solutions to a wide range of social problems, from the integration of immigrants to the design of effective political and social institutions. There are many potential partners in Houston for such policy-oriented research that we should seek out. Rice is well positioned to make a contribution to Houston and other cities through collaborative research and educational programs that focus on urban systems, sustainable energy, public policy, K-12 math and science education, and capacity-building for our city's nonprofit and civic sectors. As elaborated elsewhere, such research opportunities can greatly enhance the education of our students as well.

Of course, in today's world the opportunities for deeper collaborative relationships are not limited geographically, although local collaborations provide opportunities that more distant relationships cannot. It is, however, vitally important that we build sustained and deep relationships in both teaching and research with educational and policy institutions across the globe. This strategic priority is primarily addressed in the section on international outreach.