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Monday, June 05, 2023
David Ward

UW-Madison Chancellor David Ward suggested ways to improve the university’s research initiatives Tuesday.

Ward addresses future discovery initiatives, changing campus technology culture

University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor David Ward offered suggestions to advance the university’s research initiatives and culture when he spoke to the Wisconsin Innovation Network and the Wisconsin Technology Council at a Tuesday meeting.

Ward called UW-Madison’s research powerhouse status “a success story,” despite some “anxieties out there about the American economy and its competitiveness that make [the success story] very difficult to see.”

However, Ward said although UW-Madison is a leading research institution, “application” of research must be focused on how to maximize capital throughout the city and state, noting how it typically takes 10 years for a UW-Madison discovery to impact the world.

He referred to an initiative scheduled to launch in upcoming months called D2P, which stands for “discovery to product,” that aims to streamline the “application” of discoveries, thereby maximizing innovation and entrepreneurship at UW-Madison and throughout south-central Wisconsin.

But the chancellor said changing technological innovation through D2P “is not enough.” According to Ward, UW-madison also needs to further incorporate technology in the classroom and become more technologically sophisticated throughout campus.

“We need to prove that inside our own culture we have an innovative set of attitudes,” he said.

Additionally, Ward said UW-Madison should not be treated as a public institution, but rather a “public-private partnership” due to how 12 percent of funding is derived privately, with many other private foundations and trusts in place.

“I think there needs to be a very different image,” Ward said. “We are not only a public institution, but a knowledge enterprise with some public funding—that’s the metaphor.”

Ward also said the university needs additional flexibilities in how it functions, because its revenue derives from various places, while adding accountability must remain a priority.

“All of this will go together to position UW-Madison and south central Wisconsin to become what we want it to be: a seedbed of innovation,” Ward said.

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