Billed as the biggest research partnership in UW-Madison history back in August 2018, Foxconn has fallen far short of what it said it would give to help fund a new UW-Madison engineering building and company-related research.
A UW-Madison response to a public records request by the Wisconsin State Journal on Monday shows the Taiwanese electronics company gave $700,000 in the first year of a five-year agreement and no money in the second or third year. The amount to date represents less than 1% of the original commitment.
“I am not at this point expecting to receive that gift,” Blank said in an interview with the State Journal editorial board last week. “It’d be nice. I think it’s unlikely.”
Foxconn had “a lot of issues that were not well anticipated,” Blank said, such as the trade war between the U.S. and China and other problems taking place in markets where Foxconn operated. These obstacles affected the company’s investment in Wisconsin, she said.
“We continue to work with Foxconn as we do (with) any number of other companies, looking to connect them to various resources on campus, and some of those go forward and some of them don’t,” Charles Hoslet, a vice chancellor who oversees the university’s partnerships with corporations, said in the interview with Blank.
The master agreement signed by UW-Madison and Foxconn three years ago this month didn’t specify the $100 million figure that was announced at the 2018 university event and parroted in press coverage. The agreement broadly states that the company “intends to make a substantial investment in research and other activities” with the university.