In an effort to bolster a stronger culture of academic research and development in Wisconsin, state technology advisors called on the Walker administration to foster more connections between industry and the UW System, support facility maintenance and cultivate a more welcoming academic climate.
In a Wisconsin State Journal editorial published Sunday, Wisconsin Technology Institute President Tom Still wrote that efforts to support academic research would result in more innovation and development in the state. The institute acts as the science and technology advisor to the governor and legislature, per a 2001 state act
“By some standards, Wisconsin is a leader among the states when it comes to academic research,” Still said. “In other ways, Wisconsin is not a model for how academic R&D should work. State government support for basic research could be higher, and public universities in other states have far more freedom to build needed laboratories and pay star faculty.”
Wisconsin’s public and private colleges and universities attract as much as $1.7 billion per year in merit-based grants and contracts, but Still said with enough state backing, they have the potential to create even greater impact.
“Wisconsin colleges and universities with research and development depth are sometimes accused of not doing enough to launch startup companies and products – and those same institutions respond by saying state policymakers are standing in the way of their own goals,” Still said. “Talented people, the right facilities and real-world connections are necessary ingredients for a more productive research and development climate.”