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UWM launches research foundation

Milwaukee, Wis. - The latest piece of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's plan to transfer research to the business community is in place. With the help of two corporate sponsors, the university has formally launched the UWM Research Foundation, a fund-raising arm designed to promote technology transfer.

The foundation, which has been in the works for about six months, has received $1 million in seed funding from both Wisconsin Energy Corp. and Harley-Davidson, Inc., two long-standing Milwaukee companies.

The overall thrust of the foundation's fund-raising and transfer mission, however, will be aligned with the new Milwaukee 7 model of regional cooperation. The Milwaukee 7 economic development campaign aims to achieve unprecedented levels of economic cooperation among the seven counties in the southeastern Wisconsin region.

“We're thinking in those broad terms,” said Brian Thompson, president of the research foundation.

The news comes as UWM tries to gain traction for its Research Growth Initiative, which seeks to spin discoveries from the university's research portfolio into commercial applications. This technology transfer has been a feature of the economic renaissance of cities like Madison, Atlanta, and Boston - all of which benefit from major research institutions.
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Thompson said the UWM Research Foundation would promote research collaboration between UWM and the private sector, advance UWM's role as a pipeline of talent for the metropolitan business community, and stimulate entrepreneurialism.

The foundation will be governed by a board that includes several prominent executives in the southeast region, including chairman John Torinus, chief executive of Serigraph Corp.; Dan Broderick, managing director of Mason Wells Venture Funds; Daniel Bader, president of the Helen Bader Foundation; Jacquelyn Fredrick, chief executive of the Blood Center of Wisconsin.

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