Statewide Texas Network Launching to Make Education Research Matter

Network receives $1.4M start-up investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to bridge education research, practice and policy.

For decades, research universities and think tanks have conducted countless studies that offer promising solutions to some of our most persistent problems in education. While these studies are routinely published in academic journals and glossy reports, they rarely find their way into the hands of educators, policymakers, or families where they are needed to have an impact on students. This disconnect means education leaders and teachers often struggle to find evidence-based tools to meet the needs of their students and families, while policymakers frequently lack access to current research and data to make informed decisions about policy and legislation.

Recognizing a need, the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin forged a new statewide network – the Texas Education Research Practice Policy Partnership Network (RP3 Network or Network) – that collectively challenges the prevailing research paradigm by engaging educators, community members, and policy advocates throughout the research process to address their needs, and by translating findings into products and services that make them easy to access, understand and use.

“It’s been long run up to this,” says Charles Martinez, Dean of the College of Education at UT Austin. “We have now created a network of institutions that span Texas, all focused on advancing community-driven, data-informed decisions that will positively impact educational outcomes for kids. With that relentless focus on students, you can change lives. This is our chance to change the game.”

Formally launched in June 2023 after a nearly two-year period of collaborative design, the idea to champion this kind of community-engaged scholarship emerged during the pandemic as researchers and constituents sought to swiftly address local needs in a time of crisis, and recognized the value of a responsive research infrastructure to sustain educational improvement now and into the future.

“The inception of the RP3 Network marks a new era of collaboration and amplification of Texas’ education research enterprise,” asserts A.J. Rodriguez, Executive Vice President of Texas 2036. “Texas 2036 was founded on the premise that pragmatic solutions require real-time, actionable research data. We are thrilled about our partnership with the Network to ensure that our policies and practices are agile and responsive to the changing needs of students, educators and the Texas economy.”

Early efforts of the RP3 Network began by exploring successes and challenges school systems are facing in retaining qualified teachers. With the $1.4 million investment from the Gates Foundation, the Network will expand its work to include investigations of pathways that prepare students to complete high school and secure additional training or credentials that will provide a sustainable wage. It will also connect the RP3 Network to a broader statewide community of institutions working together to modernize state education and workforce data systems to support more rapid and flexible research studies.

We have now created a network of institutions that span Texas, all focused on advancing community-driven, data-informed decisions that will positively impact educational outcomes for kids. 

Dean Charles R. Martinez, Jr.

Founding Network Members are located in communities across Texas, from El Paso to Harlingen, Dallas to Houston and Austin to Lubbock. Each is deeply engaged with local education systems that, combined, serve more than 48 school districts serving over 1.5 million students, representing 25% of the Texas K12 student population.

The RP3 Network will support the growth and development of these regional partners, while also amplifying their work so what they learn can benefit others across the state.

According to Erin Baumgartner, Director of the Houston Education Research Consortium at Rice University, “The Network has created a community of researchers who are committed to working with their local education systems to identify needs and co-develop studies to address them. Working alongside our communities produces research that is relevant and meaningful to educators, and drives decision-making that will improve outcomes for students.”

The Network aims to bridge the longstanding gap between research, practice and policy and serve as a trusted source for generating solutions that will drive improvement efforts locally and create impact at scale. Through this coordinated statewide effort, the RP3 Network will ensure that Texas is responsive to current and future challenges that pose a threat to student success, and accelerate efforts to scale programs and policies that will allow all Texas students and communities to thrive.


The Texas Education Research-Practice-Policy Partnership Network is a network of existing regional partnerships between colleges of education, education nonprofits and education systems who are advancing research that is rooted in authentic engagement with community members and focused on urgent and timely problems of practice and policy identified locally. The RP3 Network is a coordinated statewide effort to accelerate and amplify these existing regional efforts to generate and translate the knowledge, tools and experiences needed to change practice, reform policy and transform education systems at scale.

Founding research-practice members include CIRCLE at Texas Tech University, HERC at Rice University, Urban Education Institute, at UT San Antonio, E3 Alliance, Educate Texas and RGV Focus, Commit Partnership, UT RGV College of Education and P16 Integration, and Paso del Norte at UT El Paso.