The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents met Thursday, Dec. 9 to discuss ways the UW System has partnered with public and private institutions to improve research and development.

In his report, UW System President Tommy Thompson referenced the United States Innovation and Competition Act, a recently passed bill in Congress that establishes a board of directors to strengthen U.S. leadership in the study of new technologies with an emphasis on artificial intelligence, high-performance computing and advanced manufacturing and the commercialization of those technologies to U.S. businesses.

Thompson noted the Endless Frontier Act, a bill similar to the United States Innovation and Competition Act, introduced in the last session of Congress.

“Both approaches promised delivery of as much as $250 billion to invest in the study of new technology,” Thompson said.

Thompson noted ways other Midwestern states and Midwestern universities are preparing to utilize this expected funding.

The University of Illinois, for example, announced a $200 million collaboration with the International Business Machines Corporation and the state government to accelerate understanding of quantum computing and artificial intelligence.

According to Thompson, these investments can help continue UW-Madison’s history of medical and biological breakthroughs.

“These things really get me fired up because I think this gives Wisconsin a chance to really be at the gate,” Thompson said. “[UW-Madison] is recognized worldwide for its groundbreaking research enterprise.”

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Thompson referenced a 2019 report by the Brookings Institution, which ranked Madison number one and Milwaukee number 17 in its list of the top 35 markets identified as key locations for federal investment to support the growth of technology.

In the meeting, Thompson mentioned a public-private partnership in the construction of the Sonnentag Complex.

The Sonnentag family has donated $40 million to UW-Eau Claire for the construction of this facility, which will include a new gym. Thompson said this is the largest private donation in the history of the school.

UW System’s first Senior Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Warren Anderson recently accepted a new position at Bradley University. According to Thompson, the UW System is launching a nationwide search to fill the role.

“This office plays a central role in ensuring that the human and financial resources of the UW System align closely with our stated mission to improve the human condition for all,” Thompson said.