The creation of additional top-tier universities is one of the greatest opportunities to transform the face of higher education in the state of Texas. It is not just a higher education issue, but one that directly affects the future of our state. If Texas is to thrive in the global economy, more top-tier universities must be developed to spur economic growth, sustain an educated work force, support innovative research, and maintain our state's reputation as a progressive and flourishing place to live and work.
The University of Houston is the logical candidate to become Texas' next top-tier university. In fact, UH is already closer to this goal than any other emerging public Texas university, according to a Texas Coordinating Board evaluation, and is already classified at the highest level as a doctoral-granting research university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Many individual programs, schools, and colleges at UH are classified as top-tier or are ranked among the best in the country. The university already attracts more than $70 million in external research grants per year. UH is located in Texas' largest metropolis, which accounts for 25 percent of the state's population and 32 percent of its economy. Proximity to the Texas Medical Center, the Johnson Space Center, and longstanding research partnerships with professionals in both areas also strengthen the University of Houston's case.
The University of Houston still has room to grow. Elevating to top-tier status will require additional funding to invest in recruiting and retaining top talent. Support from business and community leaders, as well as alumni and donors, is critical to the university's success. Also, involving businesses and industry directly in UH research endeavors creates strong centers of excellence in areas that have a direct benefit in the region. Through university-industry collaborations, that "translational research" thrives. The result is new technologies and innovation that move quickly toward commercialization and direct public benefit.
The University of Houston is a major link between Texas communities and Houston-area industries. As a top-tier university, UH will be better equipped to open doors and build successful futures for Texans everywhere.