17 Jul Governor Doyle taps science advisor
Menomonie, Wis. – James Dahlberg, a professor of biomolecular chemistry in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, has been appointed as the first scientific advisor to Governor Jim Doyle.
Doyle announced the appointment during an address at the Wisconsin Science and Technology Symposium at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.
Dahlberg is to inform and offer advice to Doyle and members of his cabinet on new developments in scientific research in Wisconsin.
In making the announcement, Doyle called Dahlberg a respected scientific leader in both the public and private sectors, particularly DNA research.
Doyle said there was a scientific advisor several years ago, but the position faded away. He said conversations with scientists like UW-Madison’s Jim Crow and with outgoing Chancellor John Wiley helped convinced him it was time to re-establish the position.
“As I talked to a number of people as to who would be good, I think there was wide consensus about Jim Dahlberg, both because he’s done the science side of it, but also because he’s done the business side,” Doyle said.
Dahlberg, who developed technology for and co-founded Madison’s Third Wave Technologies, is the co-inventor of 25 United States patents and 12 international patents.
Asked how he envisions himself influencing the governor’s science and technology policies, Dahlberg said: “That’s entirely up to him. What I want him to do is to have all the resources that I can muster to let him make the right decisions.”
In addition to life science discoveries, Dahlberg said advising the governor about information technology research would be part of his role. The state’s IT profile has risen with recent announcements that Microsoft and Google would open offices in Madison, and with the launch of the Milwaukee Institute.
“That’s a very important part of this,” Dahlberg said. “The computer center in Madison for example, and it’s certainly not the only one, is extremely good, and I think we can develop on that.”
He noted that the Morgridge Institute for Research, part of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, would have a strong emphasis on computer technology. The Institutes are under construction on the UW-Madison campus.
“That’s going to be very important in terms of all of these things because the way biology is moving these days, IT is a major part of biological discovery.”
Doyle believes a scientific advisor can help state decision makers stay on top of what’s happening, and that being up to date can give the state an edge in developing the knowledge economy.
“As I watched around the country and saw some of the really anti-science things that were taking place, I though it would be really important in Wisconsin to show that we’re thinking the other way,” Doyle said. “We’re staking our future on good science and the development of good technology from that science.”
The Science and Technology Symposium is being held in part to tout research at University of Wisconsin campuses outside of Madison and Milwaukee.