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Shanghai Office: Far-reaching, yet modest


Gilles Bousquet

Remarks by Gilles Bousquet,
Dean of the Division of International Studies & Vice Provost for Globalization
Shanghai Office Informational Session, March 14, 2012

What we are proposing to do in Shanghai is both far-reaching and modest.

It is far-reaching in its vision. As UW–Madison’s first international outpost, this office could become a template for establishing a UW presence in other parts of the world, consistent with the university’s mission and strategic framework.

It is far-reaching in its purpose. We envision the Shanghai office as the focal point for UW engagement across the entire East Asia region and beyond.

At the same time, our plans are modest in scope. We are not building a UW campus in China. We are not overextending our reach beyond our resources. Instead, our approach is prudent and efficient.
Although conceived around big ideas, the UW-Madison presence itself will be a small office in a Shanghai research park, staffed by a full-time director and a student intern.

The key is leveraging—leveraging UW’s reputation, expertise, and relationships to accomplish great things with minimal risk.

The university is making a three-year commitment by investing seed funds that cover less than half of the cost of operating the office, to leverage the contributions of our Chinese partners. Beyond three years, we expect the office to generate revenue for the university.

We designed this limited, yet distinctive, presence to support UW–Madison’s core mission and values, including the Wisconsin Idea. 

The Shanghai Innovation Office will serve as a cost-efficient, sustainable platform for offering non-degree professional training in areas where our Chinese partners have needs and UW-Madison has a competitive edge and world-class reputation.

This office will play a key role in:

  • Facilitating new and supporting established faculty collaborations;
  • Expanding internship, study abroad and research opportunities for students;
  • And working with the State of Wisconsin and businesses to advance our economic and other interests in the region.

Gilles Bousquet with Chancellor Ward and Dr. PatzThe Innovation Office will be located in the Minhang District, a section of Shanghai southwest of the city’s center.  The office will be housed in the R&D Base of a major research park, across the street from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, one of China’s top universities and a key partner for UW–Madison.
In fact, we see this location as a strong connection to the entire Shanghai delta region—home to five key partners for UW–Madison:

  • In Shanghai: Shanghai Jiao Tong, East China Normal University (an excellent study abroad location), and Fudan.
  • Nearby: Zhejiang University and Nanjing University.

Our neighbors in the R&D Base include more than 300 companies—among them such giants as Microsoft, Intel, Coca Cola and GE. We are already pursuing new internship opportunities for our students. As we speak, Microsoft is finalizing applications from our students for five internships, thanks to one of the alumni we met.

Importantly, the Shanghai office will provide UW–Madison with a full-time human presence in China, which will greatly enhance our capacity to engage with alumni, students, and other partners. We cannot understate the value of direct human contacts when it comes to sustaining and building relationships. In our trips to China over the past two years, we have discovered and engaged with a loyal group of Badger alumni.

Last November, on our most recent trip to Shanghai, Laurie Dennis, associate director of the Wisconsin China Initiative, and I visited the headquarters of the Shanghai Dairy Group, one of the largest dairy companies in China.

Today, the Shanghai Dairy Group and UW’s Babcock Institute of International Dairy Research are pursuing a substantial collaboration that will bring UW experts to China to offer training programs in such areas as milk safety and animal welfare. This relationship also could provide an important opening for Wisconsin’s dairy industry to expand into the dynamic Asian market.

We have high hopes for the new Innovation Office:

  • That it will raise the visibility of UW-Madison and further enhance the university’s reputation for excellence across China and beyond.
  • That it will provide support for current campus-wide efforts in China, and create connections for new ones.
  • That it will lead to more opportunities for our faculty, staff and students to try innovative approaches to research and training in one of the world’s most vibrant regions.

Through this office, we want to open doors for more UW experts to engage across a broad spectrum of areas, such as … the protection of Intellectual Property … translational research … food safety … clean energy … medical research … soil science … survey research … urban planning … print culture … media studies … modern Chinese literature ... these are areas of interest that we already know about.
You are about to hear examples of how faculty already are planning to make use of this office.  These examples come from very different disciplines, because we want to emphasize that the Innovation Office is intended to serve the entire campus.

We want to hear your ideas on how this office can serve you, your colleagues and your students. 


(Photos by Pauline Zhu. Captions: top photo is of Dean Gilles Bousquet addressing the March 14 meeting; center photo is of Chancellor David Ward, center, talking after the session with Dean Bousquet and Global Health Institute Director Jonathan Patz.)



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