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PatentlyBIOtech Series: Wisconsin Thrives

March 9, 2010
Thrive, the economic development enterprise for the eight-county Madison Region in Wisconsin, is guest blogging for PatentlyBIOtech up until the 2010 BIO International Convention, where the Wisconsin Technology Council, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative, and the Wisconsin Department of Commerce will showcase their work on the Exhibition Floor (link to floor plan search). BIO supports innovation from the ground up, starting at the local level with both the academic and business communities working collaboratively.

Thanks to Thrive, PatentlyBIOtech readers can get a glimpse of what a successful biotech community looks like. Many states are currently catching up to establishing policies that Wisconsin initiated in the Wisconsin Idea:
For a state that many might find hard to immediately locate on a U.S. map, Wisconsin is amazingly (and perhaps surprisingly) progressive. We’ve long been known as innovators and strong proprietors of creative, intellectual capital—home of the first kindergarten in the U.S., for example, home to the first tech transfer office in the nation and home to the UW-Madison (second in the nation in R&D funding in the nation after Harvard and MIT combined).

We are also, importantly, home to the Wisconsin Idea, the notion that the knowledge and discoveries engendered at the university must reach the borders of the state to help its citizens broadly. The Wisconsin Idea is the principle that education should influence and improve people’s lives beyond the university classroom—to the borders of the state.

This guiding principle has steered the university’s work for over 100 years across economic development, tech transfer, medical and scientific advances and continuing education for Wisconsin’s citizenry and for the world.

Wisconsin was already known for progressive politics when the Wisconsin Idea was first attributed to UW President Charles Van Hise in 1904. Van Hise, a friend of then Governor Robert M. LaFollette, used his friendship with the Governor to forge closer ties between the University and the state Government.

The Wisconsin Idea was first viewed as a unique public-private governmental experiment, with the university’s faculty elite aiding legislative efforts. Over time, however, the University has more broadly applied this principle and it now embodies the spirit of public-private research, tech transfer and public service by the University. You can read up on more on key moments in the Wisconsin Idea timeline and history here.

Ideas into action—that’s long been the hallmark of Wisconsin, and it’s also the theme of this blog, introducing some of the innovative public-private relationships in the eight-county Madison, Wisconsin Region and the state, the groundbreaking research being done here, the tech transfer, business development and economic development systems we have in place and continue to create and refine and how that helps you—and your business—thrive.

Jennifer Smith, Thrive | | Twitter @thrivehere

Thrive is the economic development enterprise for the eight-county Madison Wisconsin Region.