A federal economic development grant of nearly $1 million to foster innovation and create jobs will be shared by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and four other schools.
The $970,000 award was the largest grant among a total of $12 million awarded to 21 universities nationwide by the U.S. Economic Development Administration under its University Center Program.
UW-Whitewater collaborated on the grant proposal with the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Marquette University, UW-Parkside and UW-Milwaukee, said Linda Reid, associate professor of law at UW-Whitewater.
“It’s very unusual” for five schools, public and private, to collaborate on such a project, said Reid, who is coordinator of the water business program in the College of Business and Economics at UW-Whitewater. “They were just so impressed by the fact we were working together.”
She said the grant recognizes that universities offer thought leadership in creating 21st century infrastructure that supports economic development and new jobs.
Ideas under discussion include creating a Web portal to be a comprehensive source of information about assistance available to people with new business or product ideas, she said. She expects the collaboration to focus on water and energy as well as other clusters of knowledge.
In announcing the grants, the U.S. Commerce Department said higher education institutions are critical players in driving regional economic growth through innovation.