By Alex Kowalski
PBN Staff Writer
(Updated, 2:52 p.m., Jan. 15)
PROVIDENCE – With $200,000 in public and private funds as the seed, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee announced the creation of the College and University Research Collaborative, with the goal of providing economic research to help in the formation of effective public policy that will grow the state’s economy.
Chafee has committed $100,000 from the R.I. Economic Development Corporation to the project, which is being matched by $100,000 from The Rhode Island Foundation. The initiative plays off themes identified in the foundation’s fall Make It Happen RI event, in which collaboration among the state’s higher-educational institutions was seen as an important step in building a healthier economy.
The collaborative will include resources from all three of the state’s public education institutions, the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island, as well as the independent schools, including Brown University, Bryant University, Johnson & Wales University, New England Institute of Technology, Providence College, Rhode Island School of Design, Roger Williams University and Salve Regina University.
“While often discussed, the collaborative is a unique example of Rhode Island effectively using its tight networks and size to its advantage,” said Daniel P. Egan, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island.
“No single entity can solve our state’s economic problems,” said URI President David M. Dooley. “With this collaborative, we now have a statewide platform to assist our policy makers with those issues most critical to Rhode Islanders today.”
The collaborative, while funded in part by public money, will be run and staffed by the universities, and is expected to start operations within the coming weeks in response to research questions put to them by the governor as well as R.I. Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed and R.I. House Speaker Gordon D. Fox.
“We know that Rhode Island has tremendous talent and resources within its borders and The Rhode Island Foundation is pleased to support this first-of-its-kind partnership,” said Steinberg. “Collaboration among colleges and universities around knowledge transfer to inform decision-making was one of the key themes that emerged from Make It Happen RI, and it is encouraging to see AICU Rhode Island and the governor take this positive step forward to provide a critical resource for Rhode Island’s policy leaders.”