In conjunction with the National CHIPS and Science Act, the National Science Foundation last year created its new Regional Innovation Engines program to catalyze critical technology ecosystems across the U.S. that are stimulating economic growth and creating jobs.

That’s exactly what Milwaukee-based The Water Council is trying to do every day, and CEO Dean Amhaus was inspired to apply.

Eastern Wisconsin, as well as a portion of northern Illinois, he said, has one of the largest concentrations of water technology companies in the world — there are about 240 in Wisconsin alone. Furthermore, the industry cluster exists alongside innovative water utilities and research-focused higher education institutions — the organizations leading change when it comes to issues of water quality and quantity, not only in drinking water but in wastewater and storm water as well. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. estimates water technology to be a $15.7 billion industry to which roughly 23,000 Wisconsin workers are connected. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences is the only graduate-level school of its kind. The region clearly meets the definition of a hub.

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