Grants Awarded for 16 New Research Projects

Grants Awarded for 16 New Research Projects

We are pleased to announce the funding of 16 new research projects that will support public policy in Rhode Island. These projects will be completed by 24 scholars from the state’s 11 colleges & universities, who will be examining a variety of subjects in the topic areas of Energy, Higher Education, Infrastructure, Municipal Services, Regional Competitiveness, Social Services, and Workforce.

“This is a great way to harness the resources of our state’s top-tier colleges and universities and direct them towards solving some of our biggest challenges,” Governor Gina Raimondo said. “Everyone has a role to play in Rhode Island’s economic comeback, and these research projects will help strengthen our efforts to make Rhode Island a place of opportunity.”

Over the next several months, scholars will be working to complete these projects which will provide data and evidence related to timely issues facing Rhode Island.

“The House greatly values the independent research conducted by our higher education institutions. The Collaborative provides a thorough analysis on major policy issues in the state that are invaluable to our members in preparing for our discussions and debate,” Nicholas A. Mattiello, Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

Topic areas were chosen by consensus among state policy leaders from the Rhode Island Governor’s office, the House of Representatives, and the Senate.

“The Collaborative has developed a unique model that starts with consensus among the legislative and executive leadership of our state. The research capabilities of our distinguished public and private colleges and universities provide an extraordinary resource for us as policymakers to utilize as we address the state’s challenges,” M. Teresa Paiva Weed, President of the Rhode Island Senate.

The Collaborative is now in its third year of research, with its inception beginning with the Rhode Island Foundation’s Make It Happen initiative.

“We are excited to see policymakers in the General Assembly and Governor’s office taking advantage of the opportunity to put the state’s colleges and universities to work researching the issues they will take up. Who better to turn to than local researchers to provide the data they need to make solid, evidence-based policy decisions,” said Neil Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO.

We are looking forward to sharing the results of these research projects in 2016, including at our second annual Public Policy Speaker Series: Research Into Action events where scholars will be presenting the findings of their research projects with policy leaders, state officials, and community members.

“We are excited to have so many scholars from across the state examining challenging state issues and providing non-partisan, academic research to support public policy,” said Amber Caulkins, program director for The Collaborative.



Rhode Island’s Energy Outlook: Sustainable Energy Infrastructure and Improving Energy Efficiency in Housing – Bahram Nassersharif, Ph.D., University of Rhode Island; and Laura Briggs, MARC, Rhode Island School of Design

Higher Education

Examining the Educational Success of RI Latinos at Local Colleges and Universities – Eve Veliz-Moran, Ph.D. and Kara Cebulko, Ph.D., Providence College

Impact of Special Student Support Services on College Retention – Joanne Walsh, Ph.D., New England Institute of Technology

Exploring Options for a Higher Education Funding Formula in Rhode Island – Thomas Schmeling, Ph.D., and Erik Christiansen, Ph.D., Rhode Island College

Increasing the Educational Attainment of Community College Students – Karen Kortz, Ph.D., and Jeanne Mullaney, M.Ed., Community College of Rhode Island


The Benefits and Drawbacks of New and Emerging Transportation Infrastructure Projects in Rhode Island – Jonathan Harris, M.I.D., Johnson & Wales University

Funding Infrastructure Improvements in the State of Rhode Island – Nicole Martino, Ph.D., Roger Williams University

Municipal Services

Developing a Blueprint for Municipal Collaboration in Rhode Island – Rupayan Gupta, Ph.D., Roger Williams University

Strategies for Responding to Fiscal Emergency in Three States – June Speakman, Ph.D., Roger Williams University

Regional Competitiveness

Creating a Report Card for State Health Insurance Marketplaces – Robert Hackey, Ph.D., Providence College

Casino Gambling in Rhode Island – Challenges and Opportunities – Patrick Kelly, Ph.D.; Julia Camp, Ph.D.; and Carol Hartley, CPA, Providence College


Rhode Island’s Businesses: Professional Incentives and Employee Retention – Carla White Ellis, Ph.D., Johnson & Wales University; and Kathy Peno, Ph.D., University of Rhode Island

Occupational Outcomes for Rhode Island Residents: A Case Study of Rhode Island College – Francis J. Leazes, Jr., Ph.D.; Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur, Ph.D., Rhode Island College; and Rupayan Gupta, Ph.D., Roger Williams University

Social Services

A New Model for Latino College Student Retention – Sami Nassim, Ph.D., Salve Regina University

Educational Outcomes for Rhode Island’s Latino Students: The Role of Parental Legal Status – Kalina Brabeck, Ph.D., Rhode Island College

Raising Test Scores: The Impact of Lead Exposure on Latino Students’ Success – Anna Aizer, Ph.D., Brown University