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Open house features one-stop shopping for corporate partners

July 30, 2015 By David Tenenbaum

A daylong event Aug. 19 at the University of Wisconsin–Madison will acquaint businesses with the range of research, collaboration, recruitment and educational opportunities on campus.

“The goal is to provide an easy way for business to explore the different ways they can engage with the university,” says Susan LaBelle, managing director of the event’s co-sponsor, the UW–Madison Office of Corporate Relations. “Many companies know it’s a great place to recruit students, but they may not know what else is available.”

Photo: Susan LaBelle

Susan LaBelle

One key area is professional development and executive education, says LaBelle. “We offer standard programs, can customize professional development for different circumstances, and there are eight engineering master’s-level degrees available online.”

Industry is increasingly looking to universities for continuing education, says LaBelle, “because it can be a cost-effective and flexible way to offer learning opportunities for their employees.”

Research is another way to take advantage of the expertise of UW–Madison faculty and researchers, LaBelle says. Businesses can also engage individual faculty members as consultants and sponsor proprietary research. “There is the UW–Madison technology portfolio, and licensing opportunities available through WARF,” the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, LaBelle says.

Various centers and consortia across campus allow businesses to pool resources to fund and access precompetitive technology, LaBelle says. The Food Research Institute, the new Internet of Things Lab and the Consortium for Project Leadership are a few examples.

The Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium “is a world leader in electric transportation technologies,” says Michael Degner, senior technical leader and manager of electric machine drives for research and advanced engineering at Ford Motor Company. “In my group, 70 percent of the highly specialized employees working on electric machine drives are from UW–Madison.”

“These are mutually beneficial relationships,” LaBelle adds. “The research consortia get funding to continue doing the kind of applied research that is important to the economy of the state — and to academic advancement.”

On the other hand, internships and sponsored research allow students to wrangle real-world problems. “These relationships also allow businesses to meet potential employees and see what they can do,” LaBelle says.

The program for the day features presentations from UW faculty and panel discussions with industry partners. The keynote address will be given by UW–Madison alumna Bridget Coffing, chief communications officer and senior vice-president of corporate relations at McDonald’s Corporation.

The event will be held at Union South on the UW–Madison campus. Early registration closes Aug. 5. If space allows, registration will be available until the day of the event.

More information and registration