Panelists at a recent discussion on research investment agreed the state should do more to support startups and related research.

“We’re not the job creators; we’re not the ones doing the research, but what we can help with is the climate,” Sen. Alberta Darling said Friday at a event in Wauwatosa. “We have to create a better climate for these connections.”

Legislators question why the state should fund research and development or other initiatives for startups, Darling said, when there are other priorities such as education, Medicaid and corrections.

“But if we can show there’s a definite asset to doing that for the taxpayer, there’s a payback in terms of higher wages, more jobs, greater economy,” said the Republican co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee. “All ships will rise.”

Laura Strong, founder and CEO of Propagate Health in Madison, says she and others in industry think about the concrete outcomes of research investment.

“In an academic environment, you get to that point where you have this really interesting thing, and then what do you do with it?” she said. “How do we better connect people in industry who need new products, who need to transform health care — how do we connect those people to what the researchers are doing?” Read the full story here.