Rice University receives record $100 million gift to accelerate advanced materials research

Rice University
Rice University and Robert A. Welch Foundation have announced a $100 million partnership focused on advanced materials research. (Courtesy Visit Houston)

Rice University and Robert A. Welch Foundation have announced a $100 million partnership focused on advanced materials research. (Courtesy Visit Houston)

Marking the largest financial gift the school has ever received, Rice University and Robert A. Welch Foundation announced Sept. 2 a $100 million partnership focused on advanced materials research.

“Our shared goal is to make Houston the premier destination for material research in the U.S. and the world,” said Carin Barth, chairwoman and director for the Welch Foundation Board of Directors.

The partnership takes the form of The Welch Institute of Advanced Materials, which will use the donation to fund 10 years of work on the discovery, design and manufacture of materials with applications in new energy systems, sustainable water, space systems, telecommunications and more by combining Rice University's history of chemistry and materials science research with the latest in machine learning and artificial intelligence, according to an announcement from the foundation.

The institute will be located on the Rice University campus. It will be governed by an independent board of directors and advised by a scientific advisory board, according to the announcement.

Over the next 10 years, the institute will endeavor to attract top researchers from around the world to collaborate with the university’s faculty and scientific resources in researching and innovating with advanced materials—which include ceramics, glass, metals, composites, semiconductors and polymers—and their use in daily life.

The presence of a new research institute will have not just an academic effect in Houston, but also an economic one, Mayor Sylvester Turner said, expressing a view shared by the Greater Houston Partnership.

“Looking at the major U.S. innovation hubs like Silicon Valley and Boston, it is clear their tech and innovation ecosystems have grown up around intense basic research efforts at major universities and research institutes,” said Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, in a news release. “The Welch Institute is of the scale and caliber to be a catalyst for exponential commercial growth, and we couldn’t be more excited.”
By Hunter Marrow
Hunter Marrow came to Community Impact Newspaper in January 2020. Before that, Hunter covered local news in Ontario, OR for three years, covering municipal issues, crime, and education across Malheur County and across the border into Idaho.


A majority of businesses within Houston's Inner Loop have managed to keep their retail spaces, but future post-COVID-19 success isn't certain. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
Retail leasing in Bellaire-Meyerland-West University absorbs a shock

So far, data on retail leasing shows occupancy and rents holding steady, but 2020 is not over yet.

2332 Robinhood St., Houston: This new home is a short walk to Rice Village and Rice University, and it is a short bike ride to Texas Medical Center, museums and Hermann Park. Silvan Homes created a home that offers clean modern lines while still maintaining warmth and comfort. Designed for luxury, the home features high-end stainless appliances, designer lighting, hardwoods, high ceilings, an open floor plan, and a living room with views to the yard and a covered veranda. 4-5 bed, 5 full, 1 half bath/4,904 sq. ft. Sold for $2,176,001-$2,501,000 on Nov. 10. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
Bellaire-Meyerland-West University Place real estate: See some of the properties that sold in November

Homes that sold in November in the Bellaire-Meyerland-West University Place area included contemporary, historic and remodeled homes, including a 1955 ranch-style home located near Texas Medical Center at Woodside.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has launched a campaign to address declining college enrollment numbers across the state since the pandemic started. (Courtesy Pexels)
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board launches campaign to boost college enrollment

The decline in college enrollment across the state of Texas has prompted several agencies to partner up and create online resources for students and counselors.

new hope housing
Mayor Sylvester Turner announces initiative to restore an urban prairie, ease flooding

The project will serve as a model for future stormwater retetention efforts, the mayor said.

Downtown Houston Streetscape at dusk
Mayor Sylvester Turner considering curfew as 'last resort' to curb bar and club crowding

Houston fire chief Sam Peña, whose department is responsible for monitoring occupancy violations, said fire marshals have responded to over 20,000 complaints since March 18.

All proceeds from a pop-up book shop coming to Bellaire will benefit the city library. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
Upcoming Bellaire pop-up book shop to benefit city library

Available at the pop-up book shop are $10 Grab Bags of Books in categories including children, young adult and adult fiction.

Dozens of clinics throughout the county offer COVID-19 testing services. (William C. Wadsack/Community Impact Newspaper)
COVID-19 testing locations remain open in Montgomery County and more local news

Read the latest Houston-area business and community news.

Several local markets offer ways to support small businesses and artisans this holiday season. (Courtesy Pexels)
Check out these Small Business Saturday and holiday markets in Houston

Here are a few ways to support local businesses as the holiday shopping season kicks off.

Heading into Thanksgiving, Texas Medical Center continues to report uptick in hospitalizations

The total number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Texas Medical Center facilities has increased by more than 50% over two weeks.

The Harris County Justice Administration Department is working to release final reports and launch pilot programs in early 2021. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Harris County Justice Administration Department makes headway on countywide criminal justice studies

The department is working to release the final versions of several studies and launch pilot programs with local law enforcement groups in early 2021.

Rice Village has seen business activity throughout November and beyond. (Courtesy Rice Village Management)
Rice Village updates: Business openings, closings, and relocations to know for November and beyond

Politan Row Houston, located at 2445 Times Blvd., Houston, permanently closed Nov. 13.