The groundwork for The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas (TAMEST) was laid in the mid-90s when Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison became a member of the Senate Appropriations committee.
“Before TAMEST’s founding, there had been world-class research being conducted in Texas research centers, but it had been performed virtually in isolation,” Sen. Hutchison said.
“I looked at where the research money was going and saw that it was going mostly to California,” she recalled. “So I began a five-year program to bring the major medical research institutions in Texas together with the heads of different federal agencies and members of their selection committees. We brought in the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute, the Department of Defense … and let people hear what the priorities were.”
The presentations generated discussion among the leadership of major Texas research institutions about ways they could collaborate to make better proposals for joint and multifaceted projects seeking peer-reviewed grants and earmarks. The first of those meetings was held in Peter O’Donnell’s office and included Malcolm Gillis, PhD, and Neal Lane, PhD, respectively President and Provost of Rice University; Larry Faulkner, President of UT Austin; and Dr. Kern Wildenthal, President of UT Southwestern.
Sen. Hutchison recalled O’Donnell liking the idea from the start.
Peter’s genius is that when he decides that something is worthy he says, ‘Okay, we’re going to put together a plan, define its mission and determine exactly how we’re going to get there. Peter was invaluable in many more ways than funding.Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison