WEDC Grants Spur Innovation at UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences and Connected Systems Institute

September 13, 2019

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation recently awarded nearly $1 million to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to spur growth in two areas: the Freshwater Collaborative, which is a UW System-wide effort led by UW-Milwaukee, and UWM’s Connected Systems Institute.

WEDC’s $670,000 award for the Freshwater Collaborative was matched by $1.4 million from the UW System. This combined funding will provide seed money to launch this effort, which leverages all 13 of the UW System’s four-year campuses and allows them to work together to solve problems related to fresh water.

In addition to this funding for the Freshwater Collaborative, WEDC has provided $250,000 for UWM’s Connected Systems Institute to help small and mid-sized manufacturers increase their capacity for the “internet of things” (IoT). WEDC supported the 2017 launch of the Connected Systems Institute with an initial grant of $900,000.

“WEDC’s support of our Connected Systems Institute and the Freshwater Collaborative underscores the importance of innovation to our university and to our state,” UWM Chancellor Mark Mone said. “These two initiatives are like no others. They represent a truly creative approach to making Wisconsin’s manufacturers more competitive, and protecting our fresh water and all the industries that are affected by this irreplaceable natural resource. I am deeply grateful for the WEDC’s support to create innovative solutions to societal problems.”

The Freshwater Collaborative is the nation’s most significant, integrated, multi-campus higher education program designed to meet the needs of freshwater access and security. The collaborative will address 10 major water challenges in Wisconsin and the world through a one-of-a-kind program of training and research. Students from across the UW System will be able to take advantage of other campuses and the expertise that each location has related to the study of fresh water.

“WEDC’s support of the Freshwater Collaborative will allow us to hire staff to move forward with this exciting new endeavor,” said Val Klump, dean of UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences. “Each of our four-year universities has its own specialty when it comes to water research, and none of us can address all the facets of fresh water on our own. I am excited that WEDC recognizes the value of this unique partnership that will make our state the leader in preserving our world’s freshwater resources.”

WEDC is Wisconsin’s lead economic development organization. Its support for UWM comes through WEDC’s Targeted Industry Project Program, which promotes industry cluster and sector development throughout the state.

“We are excited to propel these groundbreaking efforts at UWM,” said Mark R. Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “UWM’s leadership role in aiding advanced manufacturing through IoT technology is making our industries stronger, and by spearheading the Freshwater Collaborative, UWM is safeguarding businesses, the environment and individuals, which all rely heavily on clean, fresh water. We are proud to support UWM and all the UW System campuses in creating a stronger Wisconsin.”

WEDC’s grants support UWM’s comprehensive fundraising effort, Made in Milwaukee, Shaping the World: The Campaign for UWM. The largest in UWM history, this campaign focuses on student success, research excellence and community engagement.