The largest gift in the university's 129-year history and the foundation's 65-year history will bring together researchers from across the Rice community and around the world to accelerate the discovery, design, and manufacture of next-generation materials for use in sustainable energy and water systems; space systems; biomedical materials; telecommunications equipment; and manufacturing, transportation, and security systems. Governed by an independent board of directors and advised by a scientific advisory board, the institute will combine fundamental research in chemistry and materials science with the latest in machine learning and artificial intelligence.
"The Welch Institute will focus on the development of advanced materials for the good of society and [to advance] the vision of Robert A. Welch, who believed in basic chemical research as a powerful force for transformative breakthroughs and improving the quality of life," said Welch Foundation chair and director Carin Barth. "It will bring together top minds across all disciplines to catalyze innovation and center leadership in the field right here in the Houston area."
"Rice University is an ideal foundry for the next generation of advanced materials because of our strengths in both materials and computational sciences," said Rice University president David Leebron. "The Welch Institute will foster an ecosystem of exploration, drawing from diverse disciplines to drive a new materials-based era to advance human welfare and progress, a multi-faceted successor to previous eras defined by stone, iron, bronze, and silicon."
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