Board of Regents

Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee - October 2013

Minutes of the Research, Economic Development, & Innovation Committee
University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents
Student Center University Ballroom
October 10, 2013

Chairman Higgins convened the meeting of the Research, Economic Development, and Innovation (REDI) Committee at 1:11 pm. Regents Pruitt, Bradley, Drew, Farrow, Hribar, Petersen, and Whitburn were present.

a. Approval of the Minutes of the July 11, 2013 and August 26, 2013 Meetings of the Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee

Chairman Higgins asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the July 11, 2013, REDI Committee meeting. Motion by Regent Petersen, seconded by Regent Drew, to approve the minutes as presented. Motion carried unanimously.

Chairman Higgins then asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the August 26, 2013 REDI Committee meeting. Motion by Regent Drew, seconded by Regent Farrow, to approve the minutes as presented. Motion carried unanimously.

b. Chancellor's Update on Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Activities at UW-Parkside

Chairman Higgins introduced and welcomed UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford to the REDI Committee. Chancellor Ford provided an overview of the UW-Parkside undergraduate research, economic development, and campus collaborations with technology companies that are working with WiSys.

Chancellor Ford then introduced Dr. Abey Kuruvilla, an Associate Professor in Operations Management and co-dean of the Business School at UW-Parkside. He showcased ways that UW-Parkside faculty and students are providing their time and talent to local, regional, and national businesses. In particular, he highlighted ongoing collaborative relationships with the following companies:

  • Aurora Healthcare
  • FedEx and
  • Skies Fall Media

Dr. Kuruvilla noted that UW-Parkside has provided numerous, ongoing opportunities for UW-Parkside students and faculty to provide assistance to businesses. In particular, he noted that UW-Parkside has completed over 200 projects within the past 5 years with local businesses.

Following Dr. Kuruvilla's presentation, Jim Maerske of Procubed LLC, a graduate of UW-Parkside, highlighted assistance he has received from UW-Parkside faculty, students, and technological resources to develop a Linear to Rotary Motion Technology (LRM), which is being used to design a more effective wheelchair. Jim Maerske, with the assistance of President Falbo, demonstrated a prototype of his wheelchair for the REDI Committee.

Chancellor Ford concluded her presentation by showcasing additional research, economic development, and innovation activities at UW-Parkside, which included the following:

  • Overviews of the composition and purpose of UW-Parkside "Talent and Economic Development Teams"
  • Highlights of the UW-Parkside Economic Development goals, which includes asset mapping and strategic level planning
    • Chancellor Ford indicated they plan on identifying, leveraging, and aligning strategic goals and assets in order to better serve local, state, regional, and national business needs
    • She also noted that they would work with CEOs and human resource professionals to help identify critical assets and business communities needs in this process
  • A brief discussion of faculty and student research efforts

c. Update and Overview of Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology (WIST) Initiatives and Programs

Paul Fowler of the Wisconsin Institute of Sustainable Technology (WIST) at UW-Stevens Point provided an update on WIST research in the areas of biofuels, renewable materials, and related disciplines. He provided an overview of numerous services that WIST offers to vital Wisconsin industries, including:

  • Contract research services to the pulp, paper and packaging industries;
  • Delivering a suite of federally-funded proposals in the realm of bio-based jet fuel and natural rubber production;
  • Providing education and training courses in topics relating to sustainability, renewable energy, paper making, and lifecycle assessment; and
  • Developing a homegrown portfolio of intellectual property.

In particular, Paul Fowler highlighted the scope of economic development activities by WIST that assist businesses with new product development, quality assurance, process trouble-shooting and technology transfer in the following industry sectors:

  • Packaging
  • Plastics and rubber
  • Audio components
  • Specialty paper
  • Waste management
  • Consumer products
  • Consultancy
  • Food and beverage
  • Sustainability
  • Technology
  • Bio-based chemicals
  • Bio-fuels
  • Construction
  • Environmental engineering

Paul Fowler also highlighted the number of local, state, regional, and national businesses that WIST provides economic development assistance to, including:

  • Loudspeaker Components
  • American Science & Technology
  • NewPage Corporation
  • Penford Starches
  • Kadant
  • Cosmo Specialty Fibers
  • Keiding
  • Integrated Paper Services
  • Georgia Pacific
  • RTS Alliance
  • Cereplast
  • Bemis
  • C5.6 Technologies
  • Kimberly Clark
  • Jeld-Wen
  • Competitive Innovation
  • Interfacial Solutions
  • Cellulose Sciences
  • Gusmer
  • Calera
  • PCA
  • Wisconsin Paperboard
  • Bastech
  • Verso Paper
  • Veolia/Advanced Disposal
  • Hydrite

d. Discussion and Review of the UW System Economic Development Incentive Grant Program

Chairman Higgins introduced Emeritus Regent Jeff Bartell, who is the chair of the UW System Incentive Grant Selection Committee. Chairman Higgins briefly highlighted recent Incentive Grant program developments, including the formal approval of the Incentive Grant plan from the Legislative Joint Finance Committee (JFC). Chairman Higgins thanked Senator Darling and Representative Nygren (JFC co-chairs) and their entire committee for their work in supporting this important program.

Emeritus Regent Bartell provided a status update on the Incentive Grant program. He briefly highlighted the three eligible Incentive Grant categories that qualify for $22.5 million in funding, which include:

  • Economic Development Activities
  • Workforce Development Activities
  • Improve the Affordability of Higher Education

Emeritus Regent Bartell then reviewed Incentive Grant Program funding guidelines. He stated the funding for this program is coming from Systemwide reserves and must be used within the 2013-15 biennium. He mentioned that the intent is to get the awards out to the winning institutions as quickly as possible, as the Incentive Grant Selection Committee would be reviewing and selecting winners in the month of October.

Emeritus Regent Bartell described the composition of the Selection Committee. He stated it consists of 15 judges, with five coming from within the UW System and 10 external judges with various backgrounds in the private sector. He stated that the composition of the committee is a reflection of inputs developed by UW System and received from the legislative Joint Committee on Finance. He also mentioned that the Selection Committee members received a conflict of interest/confidentiality statement, which directed them to recuse themselves from reviewing or discussing proposals that they have a conflict of interest with. In addition, they have been directed to not discuss or share applications with anyone outside of the Selection Committee.

Emeritus Regent Bartell concluded by making a few statements regarding Incentive Grant application submittal process. He encouraged UW institutions to submit multiple proposals and to collaborate with other UW institutions and/or private sector partners wherever possible. He also mentioned that funding requests of all sizes are welcomed and that Chancellors must approve and sign-off on every application. Finally, he stated that the use of funds is deliberately broad and can include a variety of categories, including research, faculty and student salaries/stipends, equipment and operational expenses, fringe benefits costs, capital expenses, and scholars.

Regent Drew asked how many grant awards would be made by the Selection Committee. Emeritus Regent Bartell responded that it depended upon the number and scope of the grant applications. Regent Farrow asked if there was a date when all the grant funding must be used by. Emeritus Regent Bartell stated that all grant funding must be used by June 30, 2015. Finally, Regent Hribar asked if the goal of the Selection Committee was to award all $22.5 million during this process.

Regent Higgins concluded by mentioning that the REDI Committee would meet via teleconference on November 1, 2013 to endorse the grant proposals selected to receive funding by the Incentive Grant Selection Committee.

Chairman Higgins adjourned the meeting at 2:28 pm.