Board of Regents

Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee - April 2013

Minutes of the Research, Economic Development, & Innovation Committee
University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents
Valhalla B, Cartwright Center
UW-La Crosse
April 4, 2013

Chairman Bradley convened the meeting of the Research, Economic Development, and Innovation (REDI) Committee at 1:00 pm. Regents Bradley, Higgins, Hribar, Tyler, and Whitburn were present.

a. Approval of the Minutes of the February 7, 2013 Meeting of the Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee

Chairman Bradley asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the February 7, 2013, REDI Committee meeting. Motion by Regent Hribar, seconded by Regent Higgins, to approve the minutes as presented. Motion carried unanimously.

b. Update on the UW System Economic Development Initiatives

Associate Vice President for Economic Development Dave Brukardt provided a brief update on the economic development action plan that is intended to strengthen the relationships between the UW System and Wisconsin businesses. Associate Vice President Brukardt highlighted three specific elements of the plan, which are outlined below:

  • Communication: He introduced the new Economic Development webpage and social media channels
    • URL: economicdevelopment.wisconsin.edu
    • Twitter: @UWEconD
  • Connection: He discussed asset mapping with WEDC to help match UW System expertise with priority industry cluster opportunities.
  • Capital: He highlighted the economic development and performance funding details of the Economic Development Incentive Grant Program.

c. UW - La Crosse Overview of Undergraduate Research Programs

UW System Assistant Vice President Kristine Andrews and UW-La Crosse Provost Heidi MacPherson highlighted undergraduate student research and scholarly activities. Both presenters noted UW - La Crosse will be hosting the National Conference on Undergraduate Research later this month. More than 3,000 people will be attending this conference, with over 1,500 student presentations expected. Assistant Vice President Andrews noted that undergraduate research efforts and benefits are directed at four distinct stakeholder groups: students, faculty, UW institutions, and Wisconsin citizens. She overviewed specific ways each of the four stakeholders benefit from undergraduate research efforts.

Assistant Vice President Andrews also overviewed the UW System's work with the Center for Undergraduate Research and noted the UW System was one of only two systems in the nation awarded a grant for these efforts. She concluded by stating that the ultimate goal of the UW System is to make it the national leader in undergraduate research.

UW - La Crosse Undergraduate Research Director Scott Cooper highlighted the impact undergraduate research has both on and off campus. Two student presenters joined Dr. Cooper to discuss their own experiences with research mentors and on the benefits they derived from these opportunities. Student presenter Adam Pugh is a current undergraduate student focusing on finance and economics. Presenter Emily Ross is a 2012 UW - La Crosse alumni who had interned and now works full-time for Main Street Ingredients, a member of the Agropur - Cheese and Ingredients Division.

UW - La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow discussed ongoing undergraduate research activities at UW - La Crosse and complimented the work that faculty, research assistants, and advisors were doing to further these research activities. Chancellor Gow also thanked Assistant Vice President Andrews and the UW System for their support of undergraduate research activities.

d. Entrepreneurship/University Business Partnerships Panel Discussion

Regent Tim Higgins introduced and provided background information on a panel of Wisconsin business leaders. The discussion was moderated by Regent Tracy Hribar and featured four business leaders and entrepreneurs: John Biondi, President and CEO of Xolve, Middleton; David Kettner, CEO of Fused Innovation, Neenah; Dr. Jay Ellingson, Director of Food Safety and Quality Assurance, Kwik Trip, La Crosse; and Julie Wagner, VP of Research and Development, Century Foods International, Division of Hormel, Sparta.

Regent Hribar asked the panelists to share ideas and thoughts concerning their interactions with UW institutions. The panelists generally agreed their experiences working with UW faculty and student researchers were both positive and mutually beneficial. The panelists also provided examples of challenges they experienced, including the desire for increased alignment of research project timelines and outcomes, and the desire to modify the one-size-fits-all licensing agreement model that can disadvantage small businesses and start-up companies.

UW - Platteville Chancellor Shields and UW - Oshkosh Chancellor Wells briefly addressed ways their respective institutions are handling some of the challenges noted by the panelists.

Regents Higgins and Hribar thanked the panelists for providing different views of the UW System's economic development efforts.

Chairman Bradley asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Motion by Regent Tyler, seconded by Regent Higgins, to adjourn the meeting at 2:30 pm. Motion carried unanimously.