Wisconsin’s biohealth tech hub garners $7.5 million supporting grant

After Wisconsin was named a Regional Technology and Innovation Hub last October, the consortium of public and private partners that helped earn the designation learned this week it has been awarded $7.5 million in state funding.

The $7.5 million grant, which is supplemental to an initial $350,000 grant received last year, will support the consortium’s strategic development of a plan that will leverage Wisconsin’s momentum in biohealth technology and develop and facilitate a shared initiative. The $7.5 million grant was announced this week after Gov. Tony Evers signed into law 2023 Wisconsin Act 96. The legislation “provides the necessary funding to leverage federal funding for the development of Wisconsin’s biohealth and technology sectors,” according to a press release from the governor’s office.

The national Tech Hubs program, part of the CHIPS and Science Act, is an economic development initiative designed to spur regional innovation and job creation by strengthening a region’s capacity to manufacture, commercialize and deploy technology.

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If the state moves on to phase two of the program, additional grants worth $50 million to $75 million could be awarded. Only five to 10 regions will move on to phase two.

Last August, a consortium of 15 public and private partners submitted an application to the Economic Development Administration seeking the tech hub designation.

Members of the consortium include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the University of Wisconsin System administration, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, GE HealthCare, Rockwell Automation, Exact Sciences, BioForward Wisconsin, Employ Milwaukee, Accuray, Plexus, WRTP | Big Step, MATC, Madison Area Technical College, MadREP and Milwaukee7.

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BioForward Wisconsin, a Madison-based advocacy group representing 220 organizations within the state’s biohealth industry, is the lead consortium member that submitted the Tech Hubs grant application.

Much of the consortium’s efforts will be focused on personalized medicine, which combines genomic innovation, advanced imaging technologies, big data analytics, artificial intelligence computing, population health trends and bioscience breakthroughs, with treatments carefully tailored to a patient’s specific medical needs.

The WEDC and BioForward Wisconsin will be required to make annual reports to the state Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance for a three-year period detailing how the $7.5 million grant is being used.

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