On August 28, 2013, The Collaborative hosted its launch event at the Rhode Island Foundation. This event was the first opportunity to bring together our Panel of Policy Leaders, Fellows, and Scholars who have expertise within our three research areas. This year, our fellows are focusing their research on economic development in Rhode Island and specifically in Arts & Culture, Regional Competitiveness, and Advanced Manufacturing. This event allowed policy leaders to share with our college and university partners some of the challenges they face and how academic research can provide data and evidence to support policy decisions. It was also an opportunity for participants to begin to see connections that exist across the state and how we can work together to provide data for informed decision making in Rhode Island.