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UW-Madison: Foxconn slow to fulfill $100M pledge for engineering, innovation research

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The University of Wisconsin says it has received just $700,000 of the $100 million that Foxconn Technology Group pledged to pay for engineering and innovation research at the school’s flagship campus.

Relatively little money has been received since the world’s leading electronics manufacturer promised the $100 million in August 2018, according to a Wisconsin State Journal report Tuesday.

John Lucas, a University of Wisconsin-Madison spokesman, said there has been “no significant progress in discussions” on the money, which was touted at the time as laying the foundation for the largest research partnership in the university’s history.

“UW-Madison is hopeful that discussions will move forward in the coming months,” Lucas said in a statement.

Despite public statements referencing a $100 million donation to the school over five years, the official partnership agreement between UW-Madison and Foxconn does not mention a specific figure or when the company will provide the money. It says Foxconn “intends to make a substantial investment in research and other activities” with the school.

The Taiwanese company Foxconn declined to confirm how much money it has provided UW-Madison, but said in a statement that it remains committed to engineering and research at UW-Madison.
Foxconn will continue to “develop the demonstration projects and the strategic plans to collaboratively formulate the interdisciplinary research and education” for students and faculty, it said.

The university and company have worked together on various projects with some success, including an internship program and the “Smart Cities-Smart Futures” manufacturing competition, which brought in 325 submissions from students and faculty and staff employees. The $700,000 was used for a sponsored engineering-research project, Lucas said.

The Foxconn pledge requires UW-Madison to raise money to match Foxconn’s own contributions. Lucas said the school has yet to start such a campaign.

Foxconn and the state have entered into a nearly $3 billion contract calling for the construction a high-tech screen-manufacturing plant in southeastern Wisconsin.  President Donald Trump has touted the project as a sign that manufacturing is returning to the United States.

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