Author: Will Kenneally
The technology company Foxconn announced it will give UW-Madison $100 million–the largest donation in university history for a research partner–for what the company said will be “engineering and innovation research.”
The donation coincides with the creation of the Foxconn Institute for Research in Science and Technology (FIRST) that will bridge resources between the LCD manufacturer and the university. Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou said a primary location will be established at the company’s Racine campus, with an additional presence in Madison.
“Our goal is to enable groundbreaking research in applied science,” Gou said.
As part of developing the partnership, the university will build a new multidisciplinary building near the engineering quad. UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank said the building is one of the first steps toward fostering the partnership.
“Hopefully [the university will begin building] as soon as possible, but we really just started in on this and we’ve got to get some design thinkers to look at this building and see what it needs,” Blank said.
The $100 million dollar donation would make up a little more than three percent of the university’s budget according to a 2017-2018 budget report. The figure also makes up half a $200 million fundraising goal Blank set to advance research and innovation in engineering, computer science, and human health.
“This is a historic moment, not only for the University of Wisconsin and for Foxconn, but I hope for the entire state of Wisconsin,” Blank said.
Blank and Gou signed a “declaration of collaboration,” which Blank says she has the unilateral authority to sign, yet needs approval from the Board of Regents for a formal agreement. Blank says she notified the regents about the proposed agreement at the regents’ meeting last week.