Rhode Island College to Participate in Unique Research Group to Help RI Economy

Rhode Island College is joining forces with 10 other colleges and universities in the state to create a new research group to help lawmakers identify ways to help the state’s economy.

The new College and University Research Collaborative will produce research needed to support a strategic economic development policy for the state, according to Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

“Strengthening Rhode Island’s economy has been and remains my top priority as governor,” Chafee said. “... This partnership will harness the tremendous knowledge and resources of our colleges and education to develop sound public policy research that will grow our economy.”

Chafee announced the formation of the collaborative at a news conference at the State House on Jan. 15, joined by representatives from several of the colleges and universities – including Rhode Island College President Nancy Carriuolo.

Also on hand were Dan Egan, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Rhode Island; Neil Steinberg, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation; and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed.

The program will be financed with $200,000 in public and private funds, Chafee said. It will include a leadership team, a panel of policymakers from the governor’s office and General Assembly, research fellows and administrative support staff. The panel will compile specific questions or topics that need to be addressed, and the collaborative will identify faculty members and other experts to research those topics and report objective, nonpartisan findings and recommendations.

Steinberg said the idea of a collaborative to research and share data with policymakers “is not only groundbreaking, but could be a national model.”

Egan said the collaborative “is a unique example of Rhode Island effectively using its tight networks and size to its advantage.”

Paiva Weed said the new program will benefit the entire state. “We’re going to change things around in Rhode Island.”

After the meeting, Carriuolo said Rhode Island College was honored to respond to the request from the state’s leadership to participate in this landmark effort. “The economy is a primary focus of leadership in the state, and the collaborative will increase the capacity for informed policy decision making.”