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‘Innovation' Bills to Benefit UW-Eau Claire, Stout

Press Release

Location: Eau Claire, WI

‘Innovation' Bills to Benefit UW-Eau Claire, Stout

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind today joined UW-Eau Claire (UW-EC) Chancellor Brian Levin- Stankevich, Robert Meyer, Dean of the UW-Stout College of Tech., Engineering & Management, and representatives from the math and physics departments to highlight how the new "Innovation Agenda" measures that passed through the House last week will help advance both new and existing programs in the UW System.

Recently the House took the first of many steps to implement an "Innovation Agenda" that will spur economic growth and scientific discovery. The measures will: increase the number of highly qualified math and science teachers in K-12 (H.R. 362), support young researchers to foster the most innovative scientific research (H.R. 363), increase access to capital for small businesses (H.R. 1332), and increase funding for the research and education programs at the National Science Foundation including the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (H.R. 2272).

"These bills are designed to create more high quality jobs in Wisconsin, and ensure that our kids are ready for those jobs - that's what economic competitiveness is all about," Rep. Kind said. "Our universities are an important partner in this effort - and I am proud of the work already being done here in the Chippewa Valley to foster the next generation of innovators. My hope is that this legislation will attract new federal dollars to UW System research and programs, and further the effort to develop this area as a hotbed of technology and innovation. "

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is a national leader in student-faculty undergraduate research. Additionally, western Wisconsin is becoming a leader in the development of nanotechnologies, and this legislation could potentially direct federal dollars to UW System research and programs. The Chippewa Valley NanoSTEM Initiative, is a collaboration between UW-EC, UW-Stout and Chippewa Valley Technical College to provide advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, intellectual expertise and state-of-the-art facilities to students, faculty and businesses throughout the Chippewa Valley and Wisconsin. The goal of the initiative is to provide a well-educated workforce who can integrate innovative nanoscale science applications into a wide range of businesses and industries.

"Expanding educational opportunities in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering is essential for our nation, state and region," said UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich. "The bills being forwarded in Washington, along with the NanoSTEM Initiative being pursued at the state level, will empower our institutions of higher learning to educate and graduate leaders in these exciting new fields."

"The ‘Innovation Agenda' is precisely what this region, and our nation, needs to maintain a leadership position in the world economy," said Bob Meyer, Dean of the UW-Stout College of Technology, Engineering, and Management. "As UW-Stout positions itself to facilitate economic growth as "Wisconsin's Polytechnic University", the Innovation Agenda will help the university expand its vital outreach offerings and technology transfer services that are proven drivers of economic growth."

Rep. Kind is a co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition, which led the development of this agenda. The effort to develop an Innovation Agenda began nearly two years ago outside Washington in meetings with leaders and CEOs from many fields: academia, venture capital, and entrepreneurs from the high-tech, biotech, and telecommunications sectors who are creating the jobs of tomorrow. The Innovation Agenda involves partnerships with the private sector to invest in a workforce ready for global competition.

The Innovation Agenda will:

§ Advance math, science, technology, and engineering education;

§ Invest in federal research and development;

§ Spur affordable access to broadband;

§ Promote green energy technology; and

§ Provide small business with tools to encourage entrepreneurial innovation.

Already this year, the NDC and House Democrats have led the way in promoting innovation through smart investments in education, science, and research and development in the Continuing Resolution and the fiscal 2008 Budget Resolution.

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