Skip to main content

In Shanghai, UW–Madison inaugurates first overseas office

June 11, 2012 By Kerry Hill

SHANGHAI, China – The UW–Madison Shanghai Innovation Office, which will serve as a focal point for the university’s growing engagement in China and across East Asia, has officially opened.

Interim Chancellor David Ward

UW-Madison Interim Chancellor David Ward poses with an image of himself after the unveiling of the UW–Madison Shanghai Innovation Office, the university’s first overseas outpost. (Photo by Kerry Hill)

A Wisconsin delegation led by UW–Madison Interim Chancellor David Ward joined with officials of the Minhang District of Shanghai and others to celebrate the launch of the office, located in the district’s Zizhu Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone.

“The opening of the Shanghai office builds upon the university’s long history of ties with China and will provide an important presence from which to deepen UW–Madison’s engagement throughout the region,” Ward says.

In conjunction with the opening of the Shanghai office, UW–Madison and the Minhang District are joining with 3M China, Promega and others to host an Entrepreneurs Roundtable and two-day Innovation Conference. These events are intended to showcase how this office can help facilitate innovation that engages experts across multiple disciplines to work with partners in mutually beneficial ways.

“What we are doing in Shanghai is both far-reaching and modest,” says Gilles Bousquet, dean of the Division of International Studies and vice provost for globalization.

“Although conceived around big ideas, the UW–Madison presence itself is a small office that will be staffed by a full-time director and student intern,” Bousquet says. “What we are doing is strategically leveraging UW’s reputation, expertise and relationships to enhance our global reach.”

The university and Minhang District have committed to a three-year commitment, with the expectation that the office will become self-sustaining and generate revenues for the partners.

The partnership that made the office possible developed from a relationship in which the East Asian Legal Studies Center in the UW–Madison Law School has provided legal training for Minhang District personnel.

“The Shanghai Innovation Office will serve as a sustainable platform for offering non-degree professional training in areas where our Chinese partners have needs and UW–Madison has a competitive edge,” Bousquet says.

The office is expected to help promote faculty collaborations, expand international academic opportunities for UW–Madison students, and work with the state of Wisconsin and businesses to advance the state’s economic interests in the region. Officials representing the state and Wisconsin’s business community joined Ward at the opening.

The Shanghai office will also enhance the university’s capacity to engage with alumni, students and other partners, Bousquet notes.

“We cannot understate the value of direct human contacts when it comes to sustaining and building relationships,” he says. “In our trips to China, we have engaged with a loyal group of Badger alumni.”

Neville Lam, a 1997 business alumnus, has played a vital role as on-site coordinator overseeing activities surrounding the development of the office. Lam, a director of business development for American Appraisal China Ltd., is the founding and current president of the Wisconsin Alumni Association’s Shanghai Chapter.

The office also benefits by its proximity to two of UW–Madison’s key institutional partners in China—Shanghai Jiao Tong University and East China Normal University, which have new campuses within the Minhang District. UW–Madison and Shanghai Jiao Tong University are set to unveil a new research consortium this week.

To see more images of the Shanghai office, visit