Innovation and the Wisconsin Idea

INNOVATION and the WISCONSIN IDEA
The Wisconsin Idea and Regional Economies: Apples Falling from Many Trees

When universities reach into their communities to identify needs, the outcome is fruitful for all in the region. UW-River Falls Chancellor Dean Van Galen along with Wisconsin Technology Council President Tom Still share how campus collaboration with industry and other leaders is enhancing western Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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Tom Still
Chancellor Dean Van Galen

The Wisconsin Idea is traditionally understood to mean the boundaries of the University of Wisconsin extend to the boundaries of the state, a philosophy that knowledge should be shared with communities in ways that directly benefit them. Historically, for many Wisconsinites, the University of Wisconsin only meant UW-Madison. Through its commitment to promoting that university’s discoveries, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation – WARF – is one of the primary catalysts for advancing the entrepreneurial side of the Wisconsin Idea.
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Robert N. Golden
Senator Luther Olsen

We are proud to have recently created a truly integrated academic health system, UW Health. As, respectively, dean of the School of Medicine and Public Health and a state senator on the UW Health Authority Board, we navigated a lengthy process of integrating our hospitals and clinics with our physicians’ group. UW Health is now a more seamless organization caring for patients across the full continuum of community-based primary care to highly technical, state-of-the-art specialized services.
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Arjun Sanga
Zach Halmstad

There is no shortage of creativity among the students and professors of the University of Wisconsin System. They come up with great ideas every day, from a new way to teach physics out of UW-Green Bay to a mechanism that lets a paraplegic at UW-River Falls saddle her own horse.
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Ian Robertson
Greg Piefer

Just last August, we stood together in Janesville to commemorate breaking ground on the first building for SHINE Medical Technologies, a spinoff from technology developed at the UW–Madison College of Engineering. While it may have looked like just another ribbon-cutting ceremony with speeches and dignitaries, to us it was steeped in deep meaning.
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John Neis
Cory Nettles

The Wisconsin Idea – the concept that the knowledge and innovative ideas from the university reach to the borders of our state and beyond – highlights the preeminent role that our university system plays in creating a better quality of life for the citizens in our state.
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Dr. Alan Kaplan
Dr. Susan Turney

As doctors and leaders of health care systems, we are in business for only one reason — the patients and communities we serve. The Wisconsin Idea to us is the conviction that science, discovery and innovation can improve our lives individually and collectively as a community. 
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Christopher Salm
Kathryn VandenBosch

Wisconsin agriculture is making big news. As we embark on new global partnerships and get set to break fresh ground, let’s take a moment to reflect on the Wisconsin Idea. One of the principles of this idea is that university accomplishments can change lives across our state and have an impact on society.
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Daniel Ludois
Cecil Edirisinghe

More than a century ago, Wisconsin served as the birthplace for a series of blue chip industrial giants. The likes of Harley-Davidson and Johnson Controls, or engine makers like Fairbanks Morse and Briggs & Stratton, were the bold startups of the day.
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Gov. Tommy Thompson
Prof. Michael Sussman

We first met two decades ago – a Republican governor from the small town of Elroy, Wisconsin, and a Democrat University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of biochemistry from New York.
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Erik Iverson


From the moment I arrived in Wisconsin last year, I loved the familiar energy, intellect and passion for doing things well. I was happy to return to my Midwestern roots to become the managing director of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

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