Wisconsin makes bid for health ‘tech hub’ under federal CHIPS Act

By: - August 17, 2023 5:15 am

Photo courtesy of Exact Sciences

Fifteen Wisconsin health technology companies, nonprofits and higher education institutions are teaming up on a bid for federal aid to establish a technology hub  under the CHIPS and Science Act passed last year.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC), which organized the application and marshaled the participating organizations, announced the application Wednesday. The consortium is asking the federal Economic Development Administration to declare Wisconsin a Regional Tech Hub, giving the state access to $50-$75 million in federal funds under the CHIPS Act.

The proposed tech hub will help the consortium’s 15 members “coordinate technology development in ways that will enhance opportunities to advance new clinical care pathways, such as new ways to treat specific cancers,” the WEDC announcement states, with a focus on personalized medicine — developing treatments that take into account a patient’s distinctive genetic characteristics.  

“Wisconsin has always been at the center of research, innovation, education, and manufacturing that changes the world, transforms people’s lives, and enhances their economic and personal well-being,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “Wisconsin is now at the forefront of one of the most dramatic advances we’re seeing in medical care — personalized medicine. We owe it to the people of our state — and the world — to continue to build on that momentum.”

According to the agency, the tech hub could improve collaboration and innovation among educational institutions, biohealth companies, manufacturers and investors in Milwaukee and Madison’s metro areas — sharing data, strengthening supply chains, coordinating their workforce strategies and addressing needs such as housing and transportation.

“Continued expansion of Wisconsin’s biohealth sector will also contribute to a ‘good jobs’ economy by allowing employers to develop, hire, and retain a skilled, diverse workforce in good jobs with benefits and upward mobility,” the WEDC announcement said.

The application includes proposals to improve patient care and give underserved patient communities a role in advising researchers and companies on where to focus research and product development. 

In a statement Wednesday, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), who supported the CHIPS and Science Act and the tech hub provision, endorsed the state’s application.

Wisconsin is a leader in biotech and personalized medicine, and bringing a Tech Hub to Wisconsin will bolster our state as a growth center in this cutting-edge industry, accelerating advances in health care, spurring economic growth in our communities, and creating good-paying jobs in the process,” Baldwin said.

Participants in the application include WEDC; the University of Wisconsin System administration and UW-Madison; health technology companies GE HealthCare, Rockwell Automation, Exact Sciences, Accuray and Plexus; BioForward Wisconsin, representing the state’s biotechnology, medical device and related industries; the Madison Regional Economic Partnership and Milwaukee7, both of which are regional economic development organizations; Milwaukee Area Technical College and Madison Area Technical College; Employ Milwaukee, which is Milwaukee County’s workforce development board, and WRTP BigStep, a jobs training nonprofit.


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Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Deputy Editor Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary.