Having positive impact on the dairy community is what the Hub set out to do three years ago. Now, as we reflect upon the last year, and the cumulative three years, that impact is becoming visible in several different ways. Through faculty hires, training and educating students, funding innovative research, and prioritizing collaboration and communication, we are ensuring that Wisconsin remains strong and at the forefront of the dairy community.
By recruiting faculty to build their research and teaching programs in Wisconsin, we create the critical mass that can be responsive to challenges that the dairy community faces — from farm economics to food safety to animal biology and beyond. We also position ourselves to be competitive for student recruitment and external research funding, providing what our students and stakeholders need. To date, the Hub has hired 15 new research and teaching faculty with focus across the priority areas.
These faculty are housed across UW–Madison, UW–Platteville, and UW–River Falls. By infusing faculty focused on the Hub priority areas into departments that match their discipline, we are not only funding faculty that can address the critical gaps and key research challenge areas identified by the Hub, but we are also creating partnerships and synergies with existing department colleagues.
It is exciting to watch these faculty dive into dairy-related research and bring new critical mass to our teaching and outreach efforts. Their talent and dedication is already apparent as they are bringing in federal and private grant funding, even in their first 1-2 years on campus. We have no doubt that bringing top-talent to our campuses through Hub-funded faculty hires will have long-lasting impacts on research, teaching, and outreach capacity.
While Hub-funded faculty represent an exciting and impactful product of the Hub, they are not the only source of innovative research. All three campuses continue to fund postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and research projects with current faculty. Funding for these projects continues to be competitive, with more great ideas each cycle than can be supported. Input from external stakeholders, along with scientific peer review, helps ensure that funding is allocated to innovative and relevant projects.
These projects are exploring novel ways to use dairy products, harness the nutrients traditionally considered “waste products” on-farm or during processing, as well as prioritizing and improving the health and welfare of animals and consumers. In addition to the scientific results of these projects, a key deliverable is also the students that are trained and enter careers in the dairy industry or continue to pursue higher education. We are continually impressed with the quality of the students and their successes when pursuing their next steps.
A continued focus of the Hub has been collaboration and communication. We are seeing new collaborations built daily, between researchers within and across our three campuses and together with stakeholders across the state. These collaborations yield stronger science, more innovative approaches, and ensure relevant solutions. It is this collaborative nature that is at the heart of the Wisconsin Idea, and apparent in Hub research, teaching, and outreach. We’ll showcase some of this ground-breaking work in our forthcoming Dairy Summit, please make plans to join us Nov. 16 in River Falls or virtually.
Heather White is a professor in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences. Her research focuses on the health and nutrition of dairy cows during the transition period. In 2019, White was named faculty director of the Dairy Innovation Hub. Email Heather at email@example.comThis article was posted in Uncategorized.