Wisconsin Idea: industries, universities need each other

Wisconsin State Farmer
UW Dean Kathryn VandenBosch

MADISON, Wis. – With agriculture employing roughly one in nine Wisconsin workers, “industry and universities need each other” say small business owner Christopher Salm and UW Dean Kathryn VandenBosch.

Their essay “UW/Industry Partnerships Yield Better Solutions” is the latest in a new online series examining innovation across the state and featuring more than 20 prominent contributors.

Salm founded Salm Partners in Denmark, Wisconsin, and is CEO of Ab E Discovery based in Madison with a subsidiary in Waterloo. VandenBosch is Dean of the UW–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS).

Christopher Salm

They write, “In addition to those working in agricultural sectors, all of us eat, and we expect our food to be safe, nutritious, delicious with environmentally responsible production…The Wisconsin Idea reminds us that, with collaboration and innovation, we have the ability to change the world by matching academic interest with a real need.”

The series is called “Innovation and the Wisconsin Idea.” In addition to Salm and VandenBosch, contributors include university researchers and educators, business leaders and entrepreneurs, investors, and public officials who share their views on the crucial interdependence between university innovations and the strength of the Wisconsin economy.

Co-authors represent different regions of the state while sharing a common bond through the field they represent, from agriculture and engineering to health care and policy making.

Contributors to the series include:

  • Erik Iverson, Managing Director, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
  • Governor Tommy G. Thompson and Professor Mike Sussman
  • Professor Dan Ludois and Cecil Edirisinghe, CEO of Velicon
  • Dr. Alan Kaplan, CEO of UW Health, and Dr. Susan Turney, CEO of Marshfield Clinic
  • John Neis, Executive Managing Director of Venture Investors, and Cory Nettles, Founder and Managing Director of Generation Growth Capital Inc.
  • Dean Ian Robertson and Greg Piefer, CEO of SHINE Medical Technologies
  • Zach Brandon, President of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, and Tim Sheehy, President of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
  • Arjun Sanga, President of WiSys, and Zach Halmstad, Co-Founder of Jamf
  • State Senator Luther Olsen and Dean Robert Golden
  • Chancellor Dean Van Galen and Tom Still, President of the Wisconsin Technology Council
  • State Senator Alberta Darling and Rock Mackie, Professor and Entrepreneur        
  • Mike Knetter, President of the University of Wisconsin Foundation                                                                                                                                

For more information about the series Innovation and the Wisconsin Idea, visit

Comments on the series are welcome at