New initiative will encourage innovative ideas from students and faculty for smart connected cities and systems to better serve Wisconsin

Kenosha, WI – Foxconn Technology Group (Foxconn) today announced a “Smart City, Smart Future” initiative in which the company will partner with higher education institutions statewide to seek out the best new ideas for the development of smart connected cities and systems throughout Wisconsin. Foxconn is committing $1 million over the next three years to this initiative, with the goal of tapping talent at public and private universities and colleges.

To be formally launched in the fall, the “Smart City, Smart Future” initiative will include a competition, which will offer winners and award recipients prizes, financial awards, and technical support, in addition to a platform to attract investments to support them in bringing their ideas to life. The competition will look for innovative ways and harness technology to enhance quality of life and working environments, inspire attractive streetscapes, transportation networks and living spaces, and promote sustainable economic and demographic growth. More details will be announced during a Smart Futures Summit at University of Wisconsin-Parkside on August 7th.

“Wisconsin has excellent undergraduate and post-graduate talent. We want to work with our partners in higher education to develop various programs such as the Smart City, Smart Future initiative to foster, energize and retain talent in Wisconsin,” said Alan Yeung, Foxconn Director of U.S. Strategic Initiatives and President of FEWI Development Corporation. “Wisconsin’s talented workforce with strong work ethic is one of the reasons that attracted Foxconn to invest in the state.  As a long-term partner to the Wisconsin community, we look forward to doing our part to nurture talent in strategic sectors that will support the state’s transformation into a global high-tech hub.”

Yeung outlined the details of the initiative today at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside campus, where he was joined by leaders from the University of Wisconsin System, the Wisconsin Technical College System and the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU) – three key partners in the initiative. Those organizations represent a talent pipeline of more than 350,000 students, staff and faculty across Wisconsin.

“The University of Wisconsin System welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with Foxconn and our higher education partners statewide to develop the Smart City, Smart Future initiative, a venture with enormous potential to tap the University’s talent, skills and resources to help grow Wisconsin’s economy,” said UW System President Ray Cross. “We commend Foxconn for taking the lead with this initiative.”

“Tech college students are leaders in the workplace and the community,” added Morna K. Foy, President of the Wisconsin Technical College System. “This competition gives them, along with our outstanding instructors, a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate that and help shape Wisconsin’s future.” 

“Foxconn recognizes that Wisconsin’s colleges and universities are abuzz with innovative ideas and entrepreneurial minds,” said WAICU President Rolf Wegenke.  “Higher education is by definition about making connections, about innovative ideas.  We learn what is and imagine what could be.  WAICU is pleased to be a part of this initiative.  I have no doubt that the ideas generated through this collaborative effort will have the potential to transform the future of Wisconsin.”

In addition to the public and private academic institutions, other key partners in the Smart City, Smart Future initiative include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the Wisconsin Technology Council, the WiSys Foundation, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), and the UW-Milwaukee Research Foundation.

“The Smart City, Smart Future initiative is an innovative program that will bring together students, faculty, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders to devise unique approaches that will help shape Wisconsin’s future,” said Mark R. Hogan, Secretary and CEO of WEDC. “Foxconn is to be commended for initiating this effort and it is imperative that we support and encourage this type of innovation to maintain Wisconsin’s competitive position in our ever-changing economy.”

The Smart City, Smart Future initiative is in line with Foxconn’s “Wisconsin First” commitment and serves as one example of the many ways Foxconn is engaging with academia, the business community and government leaders to develop programs that will have long-term positive results across the state. It comes as municipalities around the world are beginning to focus on building connected infrastructures and systems which form the basis of “Smart Cities.”