Gov. Doyle: Wins Final Approval for Institutes for Discovery

Contact: Anne Lupardus, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2162

State Building Commission Approves Governor’s Proposal for $150 Million Research Facility in 7-1 Vote

Governor Jim Doyle won approval today from the state Building Commission for his $150 million proposal for the first phase of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.  The Institutes, a public-private interdisciplinary research center on the UW-Madison campus to collaborate directly with industry – turning innovative new discoveries into high-paying jobs.  The eight-person panel, chaired by Governor Doyle, approved the proposal in a 7-1 vote.

“Wisconsin is at the forefront of biotech and biomedical research,” said Governor Doyle.  “I am pleased that the building commission seized the opportunity build on that leadership and not let politics get in the way of creating jobs and curing disease.  The Institutes for Discovery will bring the finest researchers in the world to Wisconsin, where they will develop new approaches and applications for their discoveries.” 

The financing plan for the first phase was unveiled by Governor Doyle earlier this month.  It includes a $50 million gift from UW alumni John and Tashia Morgridge – the largest ever to benefit the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  The Morgridge gift will be matched by $50 million from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and $50 million from the State of Wisconsin. 

Governor Doyle first proposed the Institutes for Discovery in 2004 as part of an overall statewide strategy to cement Wisconsin’s status as a biotechnology and stem-cell research leader.  The Institutes for Discovery will include three phases of development at an overall investment of $375 million. 

Funding was approved by the legislature last year as part of the state budget and by the UW Board of Regents earlier this month.  Approval by the Building Commission today is the final step before construction on the 1300 block of University Avenue can begin in December 2007. 

Phase one will be completed in 2009.  Under phase two and three of the project, the Institutes will expand to occupy the 1200 block of University Avenue, directly to the east. 

Research through the Institutes will focus on a wide range of critical biological and medical issues, from attacking diseases to advancing regenerative medicine.  The public institute will function as an interactive hub, bringing together engineers, biologists, chemists, statisticians, informatics researchers, and medical scientists together with the latest technologies and research support.  The private institute, to be named the Morgridge Institute for Research, will provide a flexible environment for researchers to collaborate with industry and pursue commercial applications.

The commission also approved terms for a land exchange between the State of Wisconsin and WARF, under which the state will receive land in return for the space on campus that will be used for the private institute.

Wisconsin’s biotech firms contribute about $6.9 billion to the state’s economy and account for about 22,000 jobs in our state.