Board of Regents

Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee - December 2013

Minutes of the Research, Economic Development, & Innovation Committee
University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents
December 5, 2013

Chairman Higgins convened the meeting of the Research, Economic Development, and Innovation (REDI) Committee at 9:03 am. Regents Pruitt, Bradley, Drew, Farrow, Hribar, Petersen, and Whitburn were present.

a. Approval of the Minutes of the October 10, 2013 and November 1, 2013 Meetings of the Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee

Chairman Higgins asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the October 10, 2013, REDI Committee meeting. Motion by Regent Whitburn, seconded by Regent Petersen, to approve the minutes as presented. Motion carried unanimously.

Chairman Higgins then asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the November 1, 2013, REDI Committee meeting. Motion by Regent Petersen, seconded by Regent Hribar, to approve the minutes as presented. Motion carried unanimously.

b. Incentive Grant Program Update [Resolution I.4.b.]

Chairman Higgins first welcomed State Representative Dave Murphy of the 56th Assembly District, who is also the Vice-Chair of the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities. Chairman Higgins also welcomed Melissa Weigand of State Senator Sheila Harsdoff's office, WEDC Secretary Reed Hall, WEDC Chief Operating Officer Ryan Murray, and UW System Intern Olivia Hoff.

Chairman Higgins followed the initial introductions by welcoming Regent Emeritus Jeff Bartell to the meeting. Regent Emeritus Bartell provided an update on the Incentive Grant Program, in which he discussed the following elements:

  • Incentive Grant Eligible Funding Categories
  • Funding Guidelines and Allowable Activities
  • Selection Committee Composition
  • Application Requirements, Guidelines, and Recommendations
  • Selection Criteria

Chairman Higgins thanked Regent Emeritus Bartell for his strong leadership on this effort, and also thanked Senator Darling and Representative Nygren (co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee) and the entire Joint Finance Committee for their work in supporting this program.

Chairman Higgins also recognized the diligent work undertaken by the Incentive Grant Selection Committee members throughout this process and noted that these members will be welcomed at a future event.

Chairman Higgins asked for a motion to approve Resolution I.4.b., which expresses appreciation to Regent Emeritus Bartell and the Incentive Grant Committee for their work on selecting recipients of the Incentive Grant awards.

[Resolution I.4.b.]

That, upon recommendation of the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the UW System Board of Regents expresses its appreciation to Regent Emeritus Jeff Bartell and the Incentive Grant Committee for the evaluation and selection of recipients for the UW System $22.5 million program to fund economic development, workforce development, and initiatives to improve the affordability of higher education. This resolution further encourages all grant applicants and all grant recipients to foster increased business and job growth across the State of Wisconsin through continued emphasis on research, economic
development, and innovation at all campus locations.

Motion by Regent Pruitt, seconded by Regent Bradley, to approval Resolution I.4.b. Chairman Higgins called for discussion. There was no discussion.

Chairman Higgins called for a vote on Resolution I.4.b. The resolution passed unanimously, with none opposed and no abstentions.

c. Incentive Grants - Panel Discussion

Chairman Higgins introduced the following three Incentive Grant panelists, who provided brief updates on their respective Incentive Grant program:

  • Gregory Kleinheinz, Associate Dean of the College of Letters and Science at UW-Oshkosh;
  • Douglass Stafford, Director of the Milwaukee Institute for Drug Discovery at UW-Milwaukee; and
  • Linda Young, Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Science at UW-Eau Claire

Associate Dean Kleinheinz provided a brief update on the UW-Green Bay and UW-Oshkosh Collaborative Engineering Technology Program. He discussed the process for hiring additional faculty, the composition of the new engineering programs, and the new opportunities for students, UW institutions, and private sector partners.
Douglass Stafford then provided a brief update on the Southeastern Wisconsin Applied Chemistry Center of Excellence that is a partnership between UW-Milwaukee and UW-Parkside. He focused on the important impact and role that Chemistry plays in all areas of manufacturing. In particular, he discussed the collaboration that will take place with private sector partners, along with the private sector matching funds for this Incentive Grant program.

Dean Young provided a brief update of the statewide Initiative to Address the Nursing Shortage. This is collaboration with four campuses: UW-Eau Claire, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, and UW-Oshkosh. She discussed the projected nursing shortage in Wisconsin and across the country and how this innovative program will help address that shortfall. The three Deans of the nursing programs at the partnering UW institutions also provided brief remarks on the need for this program and the impact it will have on addressing the healthcare needs of Wisconsin residents in years to come.

Chairman Higgins noted that he has or will meet with everyone who received an Incentive Grant Award. He stated that the applicants did extraordinary work to complete their grant applications in a short period of time and that they did an excellent job across the board.

d. Committee Goals and Priorities

Chairman Higgins stated that it has been a year since we first presented the Strategic Road Map that provides a practical and quantifiable plan to guide our efforts. He noted that this plan includes 20 specific recommendations designed to guide the development of the REDI Committee programs, policies, and initiatives that feature collaborative outreach to wide range of stakeholders. He stated that all 20 of the strategic priorities are on track or ahead of schedule. Chairman Higgins mentioned that plan updates are provided at every regular REDI Committee meeting, and that strategies outlined in this plan related directly to leverage the talent of faculty, staff and students across the UW System, with a focus on business creation and retention, including the facilitation of research, technology transfer, and business innovation.

Chairman Higgins then noted that much of this plan focuses on connecting our campuses to businesses and other entities that can benefit from a strong university partnership and stated that the UW System collaborates closely with business and governmental partners such as WEDC. He then introduced WEDC Secretary Reed Hall and WEDC Chief Operating Officer Ryan Murray to make a few brief comments on this partnership. Secretary Hall briefly discussed ways WEDC and the UW System are collaborating, and he thanked the Regents and the REDI Committee for their support. Finally, Secretary Hall noted that the UW System is a key state resource available to assist companies that are considering relocating to Wisconsin.

Chairman Higgins asked if any of the REDI Committee members had any questions or comments on how the Committee goals and priorities could be improved. Regent Bradley noted that it may be that no Regent policies need to be modified to strengthen the strategic plan; however, if there are Regent policies that need to be changed or enacted they should be brought before the REDI Committee to address them as soon as possible. Regent Bradley concluded by stating that the Chancellors that helped to create the REDI Committee thought the committee should include a focus on those policy matters. Regent Farrow stated that she supported Regent Bradley's comments.
Regent Higgins adjourned the meeting at 10:33 am.