UT Dallas leads way in Tier 1 research
Friday, March 23, 2012
Dallas Business Journal – by Bill Hethcock
North Texas has more to gain from the Tier 1 initiative than other parts of Texas, state Rep. Dan Branch, chairman of the House Higher Education Committee, told me earlier this week.
I wrote about UT Dallas’ growth and its progress toward Tier One university status in this week’s print edition and called Branch to get his take.
UT Dallas has received more money than any other emerging research university from the Texas Research Incentive Program, a public-private program for funding research at prospective Tier 1 schools, Branch said.
In North Texas, UT Dallas, UT Arlington and the University of North Texas are among eight emerging research universities designated by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board as vying for Tier 1 university status. The others are Texas Tech University in Lubbock, the University of Houston, Texas State University in San Marcos and the UT branch schools in El Paso and San Antonio.
The state has three Tier 1 universities now: Texas A&M University in College Station, Rice University in Houston and UT Austin.
The eight emerging research universities are competing for various pools of funds to try to catapult them to Tier 1 status, Branch said.
“UT Dallas has gotten more money for research than any other school in the emerging research category,” he said. “They’ve done a great job getting dollars from the private sector then pulling down the state match.”
Considering all of the categories, Branch said the University of Houston, Texas Tech and UT Dallas, in that order, are the leading candidates to reach Tier 1. In addition to research, considerations such as a university’s research expenditures, faculty, facilities, curriculum and quality of student all factor in.
Becoming a Tier 1 school would help each university attract top-flight faculty and more state funding and research grant dollars, Branch said. California has nine Tier 1 universities and New York has seven, Branch said.
“The fact that we don’t have more is hurting us because we end up having students leave the state and we have less federal research dollars coming into our state” he said. “This is critical to our future and our economy.”
Branch also moderated a discussion Thursday held by the North Texas Commission about the intersections between higher education and local industry. The discussion included representatives of Bell Helicopter, Texas Instruments, Baylor Health Care System and AT&T Labs.