top dog

Brainy Rice University institute named No. 1 think tank in the world

Rice's Baker Institute has done it again. Courtesy of Rice University

Furthering its reputation as a world-class educational and intellectual hallmark, Rice University has ascended to the top of yet another ranking.
The school's Baker Institute for Public Policy has been named the No. 1 think tank in the world, according to the 2020 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report published January 28. This is a leap from No. 2 overall last year.

Additionally, its Center for Energy Studies (CES) was again named the top energy and resource policy think tank and was recognized as a Center of Excellence for being ranked No. 1 for three consecutive years, per a press release.

Rice's Baker Institute is also ranked No. 15 out of 110 of the top think tanks in the U.S. overall. It is also listed among the best think tanks globally in the category "Best Quality Assurance and Integrity Policies and Procedures."

Also on the prestigious list are the London School of Economics and Political Science (No. 2) and Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, U.K. (No. 3).

Meanwhile, CES is followed in the regular rankings by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, U.K., and the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan.

Founded in 1993, the Baker Institute houses fellows and scholars who conduct research on domestic and foreign policy issues. Core fields of study include energy, the Middle East, Mexico, health policy, public finance, private entrepreneurship and economic growth, international economics, presidential elections, science and technology, China, space policy, and drug policy, according to the school.

CES was founded in October 2012 and provides policymakers, corporate leaders, and the public with quality, data-driven analysis of issues that influence energy markets, per Rice. The Baker Institute Energy Forum is considered an integral part of CES by the university.

"The rise of the Baker Institute and our Center for Energy Studies to the very top rankings in this year's Global Go To Think Tank Index is the culmination of what we created over a quarter of a century ago and of our adherence to excellence in data-driven, nonpartisan research and policy recommendations on public policy issues that reach decision-makers in the private and public sectors," said Baker Institute director Edward Djerejian, in a statement. "I commend all our fellows, scholars and staff, as well as our Board of Advisors and Roundtable members, for this outstanding achievement."

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

This health tech company has made some significant changes in order to keep up with its growth. Photo via Getty Images

With a new CEO and chief operating officer aboard, Houston-based DataJoint is thinking small in order to go big.

Looking ahead to 2022, DataJoint aims to enable hundreds of smaller projects rather than a handful of mega-projects, CEO Dimitri Yatsenko says. DataJoint develops data management software that empowers collaboration in the neuroscience and artificial intelligence sectors.

"Our strategy is to take the lessons that we have learned over the past four years working with major projects with multi-institutional consortia," Yatsenko says, "and translate them into a platform that thousands of labs can use efficiently to accelerate their research and make it more open and rigorous."

Ahead of that shift, the startup has undergone some significant changes, including two moves in the C-suite.

Yatsenko became CEO in February after stints as vice president of R&D and as president. He co-founded the company as Vathes LLC in 2016. Yatsenko succeeded co-founder Edgar Walker, who had been CEO since May 2020 and was vice president of engineering before that.

In tandem with Yatsenko's ascent to CEO, the company brought aboard Jason Kirkpatrick as COO. Kirkpatrick previously was chief financial officer of Houston-based Darcy Partners, an energy industry advisory firm; chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Houston-based Solid Systems CAD Services (SSCS), an IT services company; and senior vice president of finance and general manager of operations at Houston-based SmartVault Corp., a cloud-based document management company.

"Most of our team are scientists and engineers. Recruiting an experienced business leader was a timely step for us, and Jason's vast leadership experience in the software industry and recurring revenue models added a new dimension to our team," Yatsenko says.

Other recent changes include:

  • Converting from an LLC structure to a C corporation structure to enable founders, employees, and future investors to be granted shares of the company's stock.
  • Shortening the business' name to DataJoint from DataJoint Neuro and recently launching its rebranded website.
  • Moving the company's office from the Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute (TMCx) to the Galleria area. The new space will make room for more employees. Yatsenko says the 12-employee startup plans to increase its headcount to 15 to 20 by the end of this year.

Over the past five years, the company's customer base has expanded to include neuroscience institutions such as Princeton University's Princeton Neuroscience Institute and Columbia University's Zuckerman Institute for Brain Science, as well as University College London and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. DataJoint's growth has been fueled in large part by grants from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"The work we are tackling has our team truly excited about the future, particularly the capabilities being offered to the neuroscience community to understand how the brain forms perceptions and generates behavior," Yatsenko says.

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