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Rice and BCM form partnership on research and teaching

By Anita Alem     6/20/15 1:03pm

Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine further cemented their relationship in an agreement to partner on research and teaching, 50 years after the institutions partnered in creating the first artificial heart. The agreement, signed by Rice President David Leebron and BCM President and CEO Paul Klotman in May, aligned with the Texas Medical Center outreach goals of Leebron’s Vision for the Second Century.

The new agreement seeks to minimize the red tape and paperwork surrounding interinstitutional cooperation for both students and faculty, according to Rice Vice Provost for Strategic Partnerships Dan Carson. The partnership allows students at either institution to enroll in graduate courses at the other for credit, encourages researchers to share certain laboratory facilities and pushes faculty to jointly develop education and research programs.

Beyond lab experiences, Rice undergraduate students have been able to work with BCM faculty on projects through the Health, Humanism and Society Scholars program,” Carson said. “We expect all of these opportunities to expand as a result of the agreement.”

Rice and BCM previously attempted a merger in late 2009. According to Caron, the institutions analyzed the challenges and opportunities of a merger and mutually decided not to pursue the endeavor..

“I’m not sure I would refer to this effort as ‘failed’,” Carson said. “Nonetheless, it became clear through these discussions that we both saw many areas of collaboration that could be developed or expanded.  The agreement provides for the establishment of a joint Implementation Office to develop these areas.”

Carson said he is unaware of any further discussion on a merger, but he said Rice is also expanding interactions with UTHealth in developing the Rice Neuroscience Program for undergraduates.

More than 40 researchers already partner in adjunct programs and research between the two institutions, and Baylor previously helped create Rice’s neuroscience program. Additionally, Rice shares in Baylor’s M.D./Ph.D. program with the opportunity for a doctoral degree in bioengineering.

An oversight council with members appointed by both Leebron and Klotman will ensure that the agreement is implemented over the next year.

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