Founded in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy has established itself as one of the premier nonpartisan public policy think tanks in the country. The institute ranks 4th among university-affiliated think tanks worldwide, 18th among U.S. think tanks and 2nd among energy resource think tanks, according to a 2015 study by the University of Pennsylvania's Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. As an integral part of Rice University, one of the nation's most distinguished institutions of higher education, the Baker Institute has a strong track record of achievement based on the work of its endowed fellows, Rice faculty scholars and staff. Located in Houston, Texas, the nation's fourth-largest city and the energy capital of the United States, as well as a dynamic international business and cultural center, the Baker Institute brings a unique perspective to some of the most important public policy challenges of our time.
Key research programs include energy, health, conflict resolution, science and technology, tax and expenditure policy, and Latin America and China studies. The institute collaborates with experts from academia, government, the media, business, and nongovernmental and private organizations. In conjunction with its more than 20 programs, the institute attracts many domestic and foreign leaders who provide their views and insights on major issues. Speakers have included U.S. presidents and cabinet members, world leaders and heads of government, and numerous foreign dignitaries from around the globe.
To educate and engage the next generation of leaders, many Baker Institute fellows and scholars teach public policy classes. The institute also offers Rice undergraduates a public policy course, as well as the opportunity to apply for competitive internships in Houston, Washington, D.C., and overseas. Graduate students frequently assist fellows and scholars with their research.