By Dale Gallenberg
Contributed to PDPW Dairy’s Bottom Line and reprinted with permission
The Dairy Innovation Hub brings many exciting opportunities to the three University of Wisconsin campuses working together in the initiative – Madison, Platteville and River Falls. The phrase “working together” articulates one of those opportunities – that of further developing the joint projects within the Hub’s four primary focus areas.
Collaborations between separate campuses or within individual campuses aren’t new. Faculty and staff at all three institutions have for many years found ways to work jointly on a variety of projects and initiatives. One example is the ongoing Consortium for Extension and Research in Agriculture and Natural Resources and its annual awarding of research funds. Some of the projects funded by the Consortium have involved work in the dairy community.
So, we already collaborate in a variety of ways. But the Hub affords new and different opportunities allowing for more depth and breadth to which our collaborations can be developed and implemented, along with the amazing results that will follow. Each campus is represented by individuals with unique strengths and opportunities.
UW-Madison has long been a center of excellence in dairy research and development and seeks to build on that activity. UW-Platteville and UW-River Falls have strong undergraduate academic programs and are now increasing the capacity of their faculty to conduct research. Scientists at all three campuses will focus on compelling problems within the dairy community and their approaches will include partnerships at and between each institution. Without question these collaborations will result in a win-win scenario for the scientists as well as the dairy community.
Farmers and others in the dairy community expect the state funds devoted to the Hub will result in real solutions not only to the challenges currently facing dairy. It’s also expected that the funds will be used to explore opportunities not yet seen. Collaborations through the Hub will create a synergy that helps achieve results in at least three meaningful ways: efficiency, effectiveness and innovation.
We all want the biggest bang for the buck. The Hub provides a significant source of funding that in many cases will be combined with funds from other sources to increase the breadth, depth and scope of individual research projects and initiatives. Across campuses, multiple scientists are now able to bring resources together and avoid unnecessary duplication, increasing overall efficiency. In addition, the Hub allows us to bring together multiple perspectives and ideas as we design research projects. Collectively, we can ask better questions. Better questions lead to better answers.
Whenever great minds gather creative thought flows more freely and innovation is stimulated. It’s often easier to think outside our individual boxes when others are pushing the boundaries. We’re already aware of the dairy community’s challenges; we also know some of the questions we need to ask and answer. Hub funds are helping us do that presently.
As a dean at one of the three campuses involved in the Dairy Innovation Hub, I look forward to the possibilities afforded to us by that funding. I also accept the responsibility to help ensure we use those funds in productive and innovative ways. Collaboration is key to translating Hub funding into meaningful results and better equipping the dairy community to be more proactive and less reactive.
Dale Gallenberg is dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls. Email him at email@example.com.This article was posted in News, Uncategorized.