UWM is a key tool for broadening the regional economy, which lags its peers in the number of business start-ups, venture capital investments and median income. Around the nation, research universities increasingly are working harder to commercialize good ideas, and UWM's plans have the potential to help drive new economic development in southeastern Wisconsin.Since then, Milwaukee has enrolled more Wisconsin residents than Madison, which has brought the Madison party culture into the Fashionable East Side and they still struggle with the tensions among academic excellence, beer-'n-circus, and access. But still, without money.
UW-Madison has long been a catalyst for growth in that part of the state. As UW System President Kevin Reilly noted at an Editorial Board meeting last week, about 5,000 people now work at University Research Park in Madison.
And while UWM may never be another UW-Madison, it could have a far greater impact on the local economy than it has had in the past. One key will be collaborating with institutions such as the Medical College and local corporations.
The temptation to cut the UWM initiative may be difficult to resist. The state has a $652 million hole in the budget, and it could grow even larger. But lawmakers must understand that eating the seed corn is never a good idea. Gov. Jim Doyle and the Legislature should find other ways to close the gap.
Not much hope, or change.