One of my priorities as chancellor has been to strengthen UW–Madison ties with other campuses around our state. I have traveled to numerous campuses over the last few months talking to area business leaders and alumni about the need to reinvest in the UW with the next state budget and the economic impact our campuses bring to the Wisconsin economy.

This month brought me to UW-Platteville in southwest Wisconsin. During our meeting with local leaders, UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields called UW-Madison our state’s biggest economic asset and he stressed how valuable it is to UW-Platteville to have a top-level research university in Wisconsin and part of the UW System.

How does it help his campus to have UW-Madison nearby? By partnering with us, UW-Platteville and other UW System campuses can benefit from our reputation as a world-class research facility to secure federal research grants. Working with other campuses benefits UW-Madison as well because campus collaborations demonstrate a larger potential impact for the federal research money by giving more researchers access to needed equipment.  And by working together, we can expand our outreach to the citizens of the state. For instance, our researchers collaborate at the Lancaster Agricultural Research Station, which serves farmers and other rural landowners in the southwest part of the state.

One recent example of our successful research partnership with UW-Platteville was just announced last fall and it brings big potential for creating the tiny products our economy has come to rely on. This partnership helps bring electron beam lithography to our campus. That’s a fancy way of saying we are getting a big machine that will help researchers create the tiny things we use in high-tech products, such as the chips that run our computers and medical devices. Having this machine at UW-Madison makes it possible for researchers all over the state to create new products.

UW-Madison was able to secure the grant funding for this new work based on our research reputation and because we were able to show a statewide impact by partnering with UW-Platteville, UW-Milwaukee and UW-Stevens Point on the grant. Getting the grant was the first step of a multi-campus collaboration that will further research in biology, engineering and medicine while providing our students with training for the jobs of the future.

Many thanks to Chancellor Shields for hosting us at UW-Platteville and thanks to all the alums of both campuses who came together to talk about how this next budget cycle can reinvest in UW.