Gulf Coast Consortia

The Gulf Coast Consortia (GCC) for Quantitative Biomedical Sciences, formed in 2001, is a seven-institution, Houston-area organization of 600+ basic and translational scientists, researchers, clinicians, and students in the quantitative biomedical sciences who participate in joint training and research programs, the utilization of shared equipment and core facilities, and the exchange of scientific knowledge.

Institutional members include Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, University of Houston, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and the Institute of Biosciences and Technology of Texas A&M University.  The presidents of these seven academic institutions have signed a GCC Operating Agreement, renewed every three years, that provides financial support for the GCC. Members have reaped many benefits from GCC’s proven ability to break down barriers across institutions, build bridges joining new research and training endeavors, and increase cooperation and collaboration among basic, translational and clinical researchers, with a special focus on training young scientists for careers in the biomedical sciences.

More than 600 faculty and their labs across the seven member institutions participate in joint training programs (biomedical informatics, computational cancer biology, molecular biophysics, pharmacology, environmental health/genetics/data science, and antimicrobial resistance), research groups (antimicrobial resistance, drug development and discovery, theoretical/ computational neuroscience, regenerative medicine, translational pain research, and others), co-sponsored workshops and symposia, and shared facilities and equipment (magnetic resonance, high-throughput screening). Additionally, the GCC, via a Memorandum of Understanding, has smoothed the path for cross-institutional course registration without additional tuition and fees. For example, graduate students enrolled at Rice may take courses at another GCC institution and can pursue collaborative research in labs at other participating institutions, or as joint projects bridging two or more departments or graduate schools, while remaining in their home, degree-granting institution. This agreement also includes courses or workshops focused on professional and skills development, grant writing, and other career development areas.

A GCC Oversight Committee composed of institutional research vice presidents/provosts and/or directors meets quarterly to review strategic plans, recommend new areas of focus, monitor progress of initiatives, and approve processes and procedures to ensure continued success of programs under this collaborative organization. GCC also sponsors monthly meetings with the program directors of its inter-institutional training programs to discuss best practices and opportunities to enhance the training experience and an annual meeting of the registrars of GCC member institutions to ensure that cross-institutional course registration is proceeding appropriately and without issues for trainees. GCC has been working with predoctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty across its member institutions and handling the administration of inter-institutional training programs and sub-awards for more than 30 years. (Note: the training arm of the GCC was established in 1990, and has assisted with the administration of 13 federally-funded training programs, including current programs.)

Source:  Karen Ethun, Executive Director, Gulf Coast Consortia

Last updated:  July 2021