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Monday, June 27, 2022

Grant to UW, city offers new opportunities for research

UW-Madison and the City of Madison will join more than 20 other city-university partnerships as beneficiaries of a $1 million grant to launch a program coordinating efforts of research and funding between academic institutions and their communities.

The White House announced the MetroLab Network, funded by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, in a statement Monday along with other “Smart Cities” initiatives.

Carnegie Mellon and the city of Pittsburgh, in collaboration with the Obama administration, initiated this program in order to solve public problems such as crime, traffic issues and achievement gaps involving public schools in the most efficient way possible, Kathy Cramer, director of the Morgridge Center for Public Service, said.

UW-Madison is one of 22 universities that will participate in this nationwide networking program developed to share cutting edge research and information about technology between similar sources.

The nature of collaborating with the university and the city offers challenges yet also provides opportunities a program such as this one, Cramer explained.

“A notable challenge facing this program is the communication and coordinating of the enormous variety of people involved,” Cramer said. “The alignment of different perspectives between people coming from different disciplines on campus as well as members of the city government.”

On the other hand, this extensive network provides a “fantastic opportunity” for students to work directly with the city, Cramer elaborated.

Students can get involved through coursework, volunteerism or research via Active Learning Experience programs. The network also satisfies the city’s desires to work more closely with the university.   

Although the details of exactly how the program will work are still being sorted out, Cramer said, excitement has been generated about utilizing the creativity and knowledge of many sectors together.

This article has been updated Sept. 17 at 4:54 p.m. to clarify language regarding the grant distribution process.

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