Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation: The Wisconsin Idea brings companies and academia together

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State Senator and faculty entrepreneur offer inroads for collaboration in new essay published by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

MADISON, Wis. – Industry and the University of Wisconsin must be allies in the 21st century economy and together can thwart brain drain, say State Senator Alberta Darling (R-8th District) and serial entrepreneur Rock Mackie.

Senator Darling is co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee and Professor Mackie is co-founder of five startup companies. Their new essay, “Proper Policy and Strategy Honors the Wisconsin Idea,” draws on the state’s legacy of innovation and offers four strategies to bolster public/private partnership. These include an industry cluster initiative and policies to support faculty startups.

“[The university] is well-positioned to help provide critical resources to drive economic success across Wisconsin,” they write. “It is already a leader in the world in many ways and advancing entrepreneurial outcomes can become one as well. A renewed focus on innovation will grow our economy, our personal income, our assets and our quality of life.”

The new essay is part of a larger online series called “Innovation and the Wisconsin Idea.” In addition to Darling and Mackie, contributors include investors, researchers and public officials who share their views on the crucial interdependence between university innovations and the strength of the Wisconsin economy.

Co-authors represent different regions of the state while sharing a common bond through the field they represent, from agriculture and engineering to health care and policymaking.

Contributors to the series include:

Erik Iverson, Managing Director, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
Governor Tommy G. Thompson and Professor Mike Sussman
Chris Salm, CEO of Ab E Discovery, and Dean Kate VandenBosch
Professor Dan Ludois and Cecil Edirisinghe, CEO of Velicon
Dr. Alan Kaplan, CEO of UW Health, and Dr. Susan Turney, CEO of Marshfield Clinic
John Neis, Executive Managing Director of Venture Investors, and Cory Nettles, Founder and Managing Director of Generation Growth Capital Inc.
Dean Ian Robertson and Greg Piefer, CEO of SHINE Medical Technologies
Zach Brandon, President of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, and Tim Sheehy, President of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
Arjun Sanga, President of WiSys, and Zach Halmstad, Co-Founder of Jamf
State Senator Luther Olsen and Dean Robert Golden
Chancellor Dean Van Galen and Tom Still, President of the Wisconsin Technology Council
Mike Knetter, President of the University of Wisconsin Foundation

For more information about the series Innovation and the Wisconsin Idea, please visit warf.org/WisconsinInnovates. Comments on the series are welcome at wisconsinidea@warf.org.

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