Panelists say partnerships between industry and universities key to drive tech growth

Panelists say partnerships between industry and universities key to drive tech growth

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Collaborations between industry and academia are necessary to drive technology development, according to a panel representing universities in the state and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

Speaking as part of a Wisconsin Technology Council luncheon in Wauwatosa, WARF CEO Erik Iverson noted the organization is able to commercialize technologies coming out of UW-Madison “wherever we so choose.” But he said he’d prefer to help build those startups in Wisconsin.

“I think we’ll have a better chance of doing that if we create a robust regional economic powerhouse, not just a Madison one,” he said yesterday. “I do believe that Madison to Milwaukee, up to Green Bay, down to Kenosha area is one hell of a triangle, and offers a diversity of people, of technologies, of opportunities that represents just what’s great about this country.”

Panelists discussed various ways of establishing a regional technology hub centered in Wisconsin, with or without funding that may come through potential federal spending.

Tom Still, president of the Tech Council, highlighted possible avenues for federal support, including the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021, which he explained was modeled in part after the tech-focused Endless Frontier Act. The bill passed the U.S. Senate this summer but has yet to be scheduled in the House, according to the Tech Council.

Meanwhile, the Department of Energy Science for the Future Act has passed the House and was introduced in the Senate, though Still said there’s “not much traction there yet.” He also highlighted the pending $1.2 trillion infrastructure investment bill and the $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” reconciliation legislation.

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