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Research to inform economic policy and action
By Jessica David / June 1, 2015 /   Loading Disqus...
Over the past several months, researchers at Rhode Island’s institutions of higher education have been tackling subjects like infrastructure, workforce development, and regional competitiveness. They’ve examined questions like:

  • How can Rhode Island improve its bridge infrastructure in an efficient and cost-effective way?
  • Does cap and trade lead to energy sustainability?
  • Is there labor market mismatch in Rhode Island?
These topics were surfaced by a group of policy advisors, who sat down last fall to advise on some of the most pressing issues likely to face our state leaders this year. And, as we speak, this objective research and analysis is ideally informing decisions being made at the State House.

This Thursday, June 4, the College & University Research Collaborative is presenting its latest round of research for 2015. Thursday’s presentations from professors at Bryant University, Rhode Island College, and Roger Williams University will focus on business friendliness, energy sustainability, and innovation.

Housed at the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (and including the three public institutions), the Collaborative is in its third year. The Foundation is a proud supporter of the Collaborative within our economic security initiative, having provided $190,000 in funding since its founding.

The Collaborative was the first project to get up and running after Make It Happen RI, a direct outgrowth of the calls there for better leverage of Rhode Island’s academic talent. The Collaborative is surfacing and highlighting talent within each of our eleven colleges and universities. Its growing Resource Network is connecting these scholars to one another and to local policymakers and leaders. The Collaborative is providing valuable data and information that can inform policymakers and their staff, and leading to better coordination and communication among all of the stakeholders. And it’s doing it in a way that is accessible to everyone; Collaborative reports use everyday language and lots of visuals, so even the less wonky of us can understand and appreciate.

The Collaborative’s mission is to increase the use of non-partisan academic research in policy development and to provide an evidence-based foundation for government decision-making. It offers the potential to turn research into action by sharing its work and sparking discussion with policymakers, community leaders, partner organizations, and the citizens of Rhode Island.

When it comes to solving Rhode Island’s challenges, it seems to me that leveraging all of the talent we have in this state, grounding discussion in facts, and taking analysis to action is a good place to start.

For more information on the College & University Research Collaborative, check out previous research or contact program director .
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