UW-Stout News Story

Discovery Center receives $240,000 economic development grant

June 14, 2012

University of Wisconsin-Stout has received a $240,000 grant from the federal government to help small- and medium-size companies increase their use of technology and become more competitive.

The federal Economic Development Administration grant will be distributed to the UW-Stout Discovery Center over the course of the next two years for applied research and technical assistance for entrepreneurs and existing small- and medium-size businesses. The goal is to accelerate the use of innovative technologies and enhance employment growth.

The project will integrate innovative productivity and quality processes to increase product development and job creation, stabilize firms, attract investment and enhance regional competitiveness.

Officials said an estimated 20 projects would be paid for by the grant, creating some 60 jobs and leveraging $1.5 million in private investment.

“This EDA project leverages UW-Stout’s and the Discovery Center’s strong track record in collaborative, regional innovation initiatives,” said Randy Hulke, Discovery Center executive director. “It will allow us to help companies develop innovative products and services and match these needs with the best UW-Stout faculty, staff, and students as well as external collaborators.”

The Discovery Center will work with companies on choosing the right materials and equipment, moving technology from research and development to actual application, assuring that designed prototypes are viable and finding new technologies for existing industries.

Companies will be selected through an application process and referrals.

“Innovation is critical to ensuring America remains competitive in a global economy,” said Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, in announcing the grant. “UW-Stout has already built strong relationships with private manufacturers and businesses across the community and region. This funding will provide the support the university needs to continue to invest in important projects, foster innovation, spur job growth and help local businesses succeed.”

The Discovery Center was created at UW-Stout as the umbrella organization for the university’s applied research and economic development efforts. The center's primary mission is to facilitate advancements in student research; provide connections of faculty expertise with industry and other researchers to solve challenges; develop solutions for business and industry; and contribute to advancements in economic development and new business startups.

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