Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:50 am
Johnson Controls Inc., the world’s leading automotive battery supplier, is teaming with the University of Wisconsin System to position the state as a worldwide leader in energy storage.
The Glendale-based company today announced it is endowing a professorship, research labs and graduate studies in energy storage at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
"Between our scientists and the talented UW students, we expect groundbreaking projects to develop," said Alex Molinaroli, president for Power Solutions at Johnson Controls. "This is a historic, collaborative step that will unify the state’s two research universities to form critical advancement in the area of energy storage devices and batteries."
The Johnson Controls Endowed Professorship in Energy Storage Research will add an expert in technology education to the UW-Madison and UW- Milwaukee Colleges of Engineering and Applied Science. The person who holds this endowed chair will be responsible for maintaining cutting-edge laboratories and supervising graduate students in research at both the Madison and Milwaukee campuses. The position is expected to be filled this summer.
The company declined to disclose the dollar value of its Wisconsin investment.
"Discovery, innovation and integration embody the very essence of this campus’ values," said UW-Madison Provost Paul DeLuca Jr. "The opportunity to practice those ideals with a top-flight teacher and researcher in a field that already has such an impact on their daily lives will be very exciting for our students."
Part of the funding will support the creation of The Johnson Controls Energy Storage Research Lab at UW-Madison. The lab will be housed in the new Wisconsin Energy Institute under construction on the UW-Madison campus.
"Thriving public universities play vital roles in today’s economy," said University of Wisconsin System President Kevin Reilly. "In addition to preparing students to be innovators and entrepreneurs, UW campuses are economic engines in their own right, and they are even more powerful in that regard when they work together. Add a world-leading company like Johnson Controls to that mix, and you’ve got a recipe for success."
Beginning with the 2011-2012 academic year, the Johnson Controls Graduate Research Fellows fund is also being established at the UW Foundation to support advanced student research projects.
"The creation of this endowed professorship and research fellows will allow us to attract an internationally known scholar and the most talented students – critical steps toward making Wisconsin a recognized hub for energy storage technology and devices," said UWM Chancellor Michael Lovell. "I am very grateful to Johnson Controls for their willingness to expand their partnership with UWM, which to date has included joint student and research projects and the development of state-of-the-art battery research laboratories within our College of Engineering and Applied Science. The endowed professorship shows Johnson Controls’ continued commitment to deepening their relationship with our universities, and for helping us create a model arrangement for future partnerships with our corporate community."
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker credited Johnson Controls with investing in the future of the state’s economy.
“Johnson Controls is No. 1 in terms of corporate citizenship — not only here, but across the country,” Walker said at today’s announcement. “This targeted investment will ultimately help us with jobs.”