I am fine with more Texas schools getting VH/R1 status. We should not pocket watch UTSA or Texas Tech. UH should get our house in order and make sure we are getting our fair share of federal research dollars. That is the key. The reason BIG Ten schools are all AAU (except Nebraska) is because they receive massive federal research grants.
UH currently receives about $200 m in federal research dollars. To put it in perspective, Cincinnati gets $530 million, Temple gets $284 million, UCF gets $225 million, USF gets $385 million, Louisville gets $173 million, Texas Tech gets $249 million, University of Illinois - Chicago gets $382 million and VCU gets $255 million. So, compared to our peers (large, urban universities), we are middle to lower end.
We should be aiming to get to the level of Cincinnati, Temple and USF. Now I will grant that each of those schools have medical schools; now that we have one, it should help. With that said, our medical school will focus more on primary care, so we may not get as much research dollars as we may otherwise. Therefore, we will need to fine other ways where UH can become the “go to” school for a particular field. I say energy, space and chemicals/specialty materials should be UH’s areas to focus on.