One year after Foxconn pledges $100 million to UW, university has only seen $700,000

UW, Foxconn plans for research sites, funding have made little progress

· Sep 10, 2019 Tweet

Courtesy of Robert Schlaeger

After pledging $100 million to help the University of Wisconsin fund research and a new engineering building over a year ago, the Taiwanese technology group Foxconn has given UW just $700,000, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. 

At the time of its announcement, Chancellor Rebecca Blank said this pledge would be one of the largest gifts in UW’s history, benefitting both UW and Wisconsin, according to UW News.

“The partnership combines the strengths of two global leaders,” said Blank. ” … Our collaboration will bring together some of the world’s leading scientists, physicians and engineers to drive advances in technology and science while fostering the talent pipeline that will help build Wisconsin’s future.”

Despite initial excitement there has been little action in the months since the pledge was made. WSJ reported UW spokesman John Lucas said there has been no significant progress in discussions, with regards to the pledge.

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Foxconn’s original pledge required that UW also raise $100 million as a part of a $200 million fundraising sub-campaign connected to UW’s $3.2 billion All Ways Forward campaign. But UW has taken no official steps to launch a fundraising campaign, according to WSJ.

In his statement to WSJ, Lucas said the $700,000 Foxconn has given to UW went toward a sponsored engineering research project. 

The pledge was also meant to partially fund the Foxconn Institute for Research in Science and Technology, a research facility located near Racine which would work with UW’s engineering program. With plans to open in 2020, this is the largest industry research partnership in the history of the university, according to UW News. 

There have been no updates given on the status of the FIRST research facility, according to WSJ. The facility planned to host no less than 100 researchers, who would be funded by both Foxconn and UW. The facility would focus on artificial intelligence and wireless 5G technology, according to its memorandum of understanding signed summer 2018. 

The master agreement between UW and Foxconn, which was also signed summer 2018, never explicitly mentions the pledge of $100 million but does discuss the donation of an undetermined amount of money.

“Foxconn intends to make a substantial investment in research and other activities with the University,” Foxconn said in the master agreement.

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There have been some recent changes in leadership at Foxconn. Earlier this year Foxconn’s founder and chairman resigned to run for president of Taiwan and last week their Wisconsin representative Louis Woo stepped down. 

While future plans remain unclear, Foxconn has said it remains committed to supporting research at UW and Lucas said UW remains optimistic about the partnership, according to WSJ.

“UW-Madison is hopeful that discussions will move forward in the coming months,” Lucas said.


This article was published Sep 10, 2019 at 5:49 pm and last updated Sep 10, 2019 at 5:49 pm


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