UW-Madison’s national research ranking, cemented for nearly 45 years as one of the top five in the country, has dropped in recent years, with the latest figures placing the university eighth among hundreds of institutions.

Business leaders and those with ties to UW-Madison said the fall to the No. 8 spot — the lowest UW-Madison has ranked in the survey since it began in 1972 — is concerning, but that placing within the top 10 in the country is still a point of pride for the state’s flagship university.

Carl Gulbrandsen, former managing director of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the university’s patent-licensing arm, saw the two-spot drop as worrisome because of the role the rankings play in recruiting top talent to the university.

“This is a canary in the coal mine,” said Gulbrandsen, who now serves on the board of directors of Badgers United, a UW-Madison advocacy group. “It’s not a one-off. The state needs to step up.” Read the full story here.