Governor Scott Walker delivered remarks today at the Partners in Business Development and Economic Growth Summit. The summit focuses on the relationship between higher education and economic development.
"Research and innovation fuel new business ventures, and investing in this partnership is essential for growing our economy," Governor Walker said. "The collaboration between the University of Wisconsin System and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has already proven fruitful. Continuing this partnership means we are fully supporting industry connections, entrepreneurship, and innovation across the state."
Academic research and development is a $1.1 billion industry in Wisconsin, and according to the Wisconsin Technology Council, an industry which has created over 38,000 jobs statewide. Scientific research and entrepreneurship are among the keys to economic growth and job creation. Success has already been found at the University Research Park in Madison. Over 126 companies employ more than 3,500 people with an average annual salary of $63,000. This model is now being replicated at other campuses including UW--Whitewater and UW--Stout. The University of Wisconsin (UW) System contributes $50 million to manufacturing research, education, and outreach every year.
Shortly after it was established, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the UW System created a position to coordinate efforts between the universities and the business community. Additionally, the UW System Board of Regents recently formed a Research, Economic Development, and Innovation committee. WEDC provides updates to the committee as another way to further open communication and collaboration. It is important that the UW System be present and well-represented when there are meetings and decisions being made about how to increase research and economic development in the state.