The “Regional Innovation Engine” program of the National Science Foundation is a nationwide effort to turn promising research into economic growth, jobs and enduring partnerships involving a mix of regional players.

Leaders of three Wisconsin coalitions that have applied for grants to accelerate the state’s tech-based economy will outline their plans – and how those plans can benefit the state and nation – during a Nov. 10 discussion to begin the second day of the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium.

Dean Amhaus of the Milwaukee-based Water Council, Andrew Graettinger of the UW-Milwaukee College of Engineering and Applied Science, and Arjun Sanga of the statewide WiSys technology transfer hub will talk about their respective NSF applications in a discussion with Tech Council President Tom Still.

All three proposals revolve around sustainability touching major Wisconsin business sectors at a time when existing practices are undergoing change.

The Water Council proposal hinges on the nexus between water and energy, especially in manufacturing; the UW-Milwaukee application touches a range of clean energy challenges; and the WiSys proposal centers on sustainable agricultural development through a statewide network of innovation hubs. The Tech Council is a member of each coalition, most of which including 20 members so far.

“This isn’t your grandfather’s NSF, which was predominantly interested in basic research,” Still said. “This is a concerted attempt to engage industry and other groups in a process that also calls on academia to spur innovation and economic growth.”

The Early Stage Symposium will be held in-person on Nov. 9-10 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison. General registration is also now open by clicking here!

The conference will feature many opportunities for young companies to learn:

  • About 40 company presentations in two different segments and the “Investor Intros” speed-dating segment.
  • Panel discussions and educational seminars featuring leading entrepreneurs, investors and others tied to the tech sector.
  • Keynote speakers and targeted panel discussions featuring leading entrepreneurs, investors and others tied to the tech sector making an impact nationwide.
  • The 9th annual Triple E award presentation from Joe Kirgues and Troy Vosseller, co-founders of gener8tor.
  • Exhibit hall showcasing more than 30 innovative Wisconsin companies.
  • A Nov. 9 conference reception, two luncheons, two breakfasts and other networking opportunities, including an investors-only dinner.

The investors attending thus far include: 4490 Ventures, Ardent Group, Baird Capital, Bascom Ventures, BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, Capital Midwest Fund, Chippewa Valley Angel Investors Network, gener8tor, Golden Angels Investors, Great North Labs, HealthX Ventures, Idea Fund of La Crosse, Inventure Capital, Laerdal Million Lives Fund, Lancaster Investments, M25 Group, Madison Development Corp., Midpoint Ventures, Rock River Capital Partners, Saldalphon Capital, Sixty8 Capital, TitletownTech, Venture Investors, Winnow Fund, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., WISC Partners, Wisconsin Investment Partners, Wisconsin River Business Angels, Yahara Ventures and Ziegler Link-Age Funds.

The Tech Council produces the conference. Sponsors thus far include: Aberdean Consulting, Advocate Aurora Health, American Family Insurance, American Transmission Co., AT&T, Baird Capital, Baker Tilly, BDO, City of Fitchburg, CliftonLarsonAllen, Concordia University, DeWitt, EUA, Exact Sciences, Findorff, First Business Bank, Foley & Lardner, Godfrey & Kahn, Google, HealthX Ventures, Husch Blackwell, Insperity, KW2, M3 Insurance, Madison Development Corp., Madison Gas & Electric, Makin’ Hey Communications, Marquette University, Michael Best, Mobile22, Morgridge Institute for Research, N29 Capital Partners, Neider & Boucher, One City Schools, Quarles & Brady, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, RSM US, SustainableHR PEO, State of Wisconsin Investment Board, TDS, Tech Council board member Susan Healy, Technology Innovation Center – Milwaukee, UMOS One Workforce – TechStars, University Research Park, UWM Research Foundation, UW-Madison Computer Sciences, UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement, Venture Investors, Versiti, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., WIPFLi, Wisconsin Dept. of Financial Institutions, Wisconsin Investment Partners, WiSys, Yahara Software and Ziegler.

To learn more about sponsorship information, please reach out to Angela Schlobohm at