Rice-U. of Edinburgh partnership funds research for global impact

Strategic Collaboration Awards back sustainability, innovation, humanitarian initiatives


Rice University and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland have unveiled the winners of the inaugural Rice-Edinburgh Strategic Collaboration Awards (SCA) as part of their historic joint research initiative launched last year.

The 15 winning projects — each led jointly by faculty members from both universities and funded by contributions from both institutions — span a range of disciplines and are closely aligned with Rice’s areas of strategic focus, such as climate change and sustainability solutions, space innovation, medical innovation and biotech, quantum computing, robotics, leadership for social impact and more. Winning teams received about $425,000 in combined funding.

The partnership highlights Rice’s commitment to broadening and deepening its research and teaching collaboration with peer institutions across the world, said Caroline Levander, Rice’s vice president for global and digital strategy.

“Our collaboration agreement with the University of Edinburgh marks an important step forward for Rice's global strategy in Europe, more broadly,” she said. “Edinburgh is a fantastic institution, and we look forward to learning from this collaboration agreement and expanding our partnership."

Many of the winning projects also align with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals on equity, poverty and climate change, among others.

“Increasing our international research collaborations is a cornerstone in expanding our research program at Rice,” said Ramamoorthy Ramesh, vice president for research. “The University of Edinburgh partnership plays an important role in that endeavor."

The response to the call for proposals for the competition was the largest that organizers at Edinburgh have experienced so far in any of their collaborations. Every school at Rice was represented in the applicant pool.

Winning projects are expected to conclude by the end of this year, with final reports planned for release next spring.

“Our collaboration with Rice represents a step change in terms of how we engage with U.S. universities,” said James Smith, a professor of African and development studies and vice-principal international at Edinburgh. “We are hugely excited about sparking ideas between our academics, delivering opportunities for our students and developing a shared vision for a new type of partnership that allows us, together, to make a real difference in the world.”

Rice is focused on positioning itself as a global leader in research, innovation, teaching and social impact. During his State of the University address last month, President Reginald DesRoches underscored the importance of expanding international engagement in that effort.

The Rice University Paris Center opened last summer, joining the Rice Architecture Paris program, and in November DesRoches signed a three-year cooperation agreement with the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK). In the coming weeks, Rice and IITK are set to announce their own round of Strategic Collaboration Awards.

“Expanding Rice’s academic reach and reputation internationally is a top priority of my presidency, and I’m working with Vice President for Global and Digital Strategy Caroline Levander along with Provost Amy Dittmar and Vice President for Research Ramamoorthy Ramesh to achieve this goal in the coming years,” DesRoches said.

For a list of Rice-Edinburgh Strategic Collaboration Award winners, visit https://global.rice.edu/rice-edinburgh.


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Rice Global: https://global.rice.edu/

Rice University-University of Edinburgh Strategic Collaboration Awards:

About Rice:

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 4,552 undergraduates and 3,998 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for lots of race/class interaction and No. 1 for quality of life by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.