MILWAUKEE — University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone announced a $1.7 million gift from Rockwell Automation to support a new Connected Systems Institute at UWM. The institute will be the first of its kind in the state.
“I am thrilled to partner with Rockwell Automation on this groundbreaking endeavor, and I am deeply grateful for their visionary support,” Mone said. “This gift builds on the many different partnerships we have with Rockwell Automation, and we value that involvement. Connected systems — or the Internet of Things — is a technological evolution that is infiltrating every facet of our lives, and it has powerful implications for all industrial sectors. I believe this institute will be a game-changer for businesses in southeastern Wisconsin and the entire state.”
The multidisciplinary Connected Systems Institute (CSI) will focus on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which uses sensors to gather data from equipment, machines, and manufactured products through secure data networks. The CSI will build on existing collaborations between UWM’s College of Engineering & Applied Science and its Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business, along with other academic units at UWM and other UW System universities. By providing undergraduate, graduate, professional, and executive education, research and programs, the institute will develop talent, expertise and solutions to lead companies to greater productivity through IIoT technologies and applications.
Blake Moret, Rockwell Automation president and CEO, said that the wide range of disciplines at UWM makes it ideal for this partnership.
“Rockwell cares about the communities where we live and work and believes strongly that it is important that we be a strong community partner,” Moret said. “The Connected Systems Institute is a multidisciplinary program that will enable students to learn skills not only in technology but also in business, and the breadth of courses and research at UWM makes it a perfect fit. We are looking forward to continuing our relationship and working with other members of this institute. I’m more optimistic than ever about the future of our work together.”
Adel Nasiri, associate dean for research and a professor in UWM’s College of Engineering & Applied Science, has headed up the planning phase for the institute. A planning grant from Rockwell Automation allowed Nasiri and the UWM planning team to study firsthand leading IoT institutes and centers in Germany, China, Taiwan, Singapore and the United States.
“There’s currently a gap between industry on the one hand and research and education on the other,” Nasiri said. “The Connected Systems Institute will serve as a central point where industry representatives and scholars can collaborate on industrial IoT technologies. As a global manufacturing center, Milwaukee is an ideal location for this consortium.”
The Connected Systems Institute, to be centrally located at UWM, will house state-of-the-art IoT simulation, emulation, test bed and test plant facilities, where participating companies may test end-to-end production solutions.
UWM and Rockwell Automation have a long history of collaboration. Many UWM alumni are employed at Rockwell Automation, making the university the largest educator of the company’s workforce. Its chapter of UWM’s Panthers@Work program fosters camaraderie among UWM student interns and alumni employees. In 2010, the company made a gift to UWM’s Lubar School of Business to establish the Rockwell Automation Endowed Chair in Supply Chain Management held by Anthony Ross.
Rockwell Automation’s gift to the Connected Systems Institute supports UWM’s comprehensive fundraising effort, named Made in Milwaukee, Shaping the World: The Campaign for UWM. Focused on raising support for students, research, and community engagement, the campaign has a goal of $200 million, the largest in UWM’s history.