We must visibly and substantially increase our commitment to our research mission and raise our research and scholarship profile.
The Rice community continues to recognize the critical importance of our research mission. We have doubled our sponsored research since the outset of the V2C to more than $140 million, while at the same time increasing federal research funds in a fiercely competitive environment. The Centennial Campaign resulted in 28 new faculty chairs across a range of departments, enabling the university to recruit a number of renowned researchers and leaders. Numerous Rice faculty members have earned national and international distinction, including Rice’s first MacArthur Fellowship. Over the past 10 years, 60 Rice faculty members have been appointed to national academies. Additional investments in research infrastructure — including personnel, facilities and equipment — are strengthening our reputation for world-class research. For example, in 2015, the Board of Trustees approved a plan that combines fundraising, reallocation and additional endowment distributions to invest $150 million toward strategic research initiatives. The investments are aimed at increasing Rice’s research competitiveness, establishing a university-wide program in data sciences and bolstering the university’s position as a leading center for molecular nanotechnology research.
Increase in Sponsored Research Funding
Examples of V2C Progress:
Research Infrastructure — Investments include new and expanded support for writing grant proposals, managing compliance and consulting on technology transfers. Several offices have expanded their services: Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Office of Proposal Development, Office of Sponsored Project and Research Compliance, and the Office of Technology Transfer.
Research equipment — State-of-the-art tools, such as a new transmission electron microscope (TEM) and an advanced scanning electron microscope (SEM) with focused ion beam (FIB) capabilities, are available to a range of faculty members through the shared equipment authority.
Research innovation — Rice’s Creative Ventures Fund, which allocates more than $1 million in grants annually to support new and adventurous research projects, is just one example of faculty initiative funding that is designed to catalyze larger endeavors, research breakthroughs, external funding opportunities and unusually creative works.
Postdoctoral Scholars — The Rice Academy of Fellows was created to foster intellectual exchange and advancement of research through the creation of a prestigious and interdisciplinary community of faculty and postdoctoral fellows.
Faculty — Forty percent of Rice's tenure track faculty have been hired in the last 10 years, representing 54 percent of all current faculty. Additionally, professional development programs have expanded through the Office of Faculty Development.
Research Facilities — Brockman Hall for Physics and the BioScience Research Collaborative have enhanced research capabilities for specific departments, while the Rice NanoFabrication Cleanroom Facility provides researchers with access to a variety of new tools in a contamination-free environment. Rice’s working relationship with the Texas Medical Center has significantly evolved, allowing for increased mobility between many institutions that has streamlined access to research equipment and fostered greater collaborations with colleagues. In addition, Rice renovated a number of science and engineering spaces, including the Ryon Lab, Wiess Geological Lab and portions of George R. Brown Hall.