Campus Leadership

Initiatives for the Public Good

Chancellor Mnookin announces plans for world-changing innovations.

Aerial view of Bascom Hall.

Campus will become a living laboratory for sustainable practicers. Althea Dotzour

Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin has unveiled a set of new initiatives designed to address global challenges, including artificial intelligence (AI) and environmental sustainability.

The Wisconsin Research, Innovation, and Scholarly Excellence (RISE) Initiative will facilitate transformative discoveries and translate them into real-world impact. Over the next three to five years, UW–Madison expects to add between 120 and 150 faculty through RISE in addition to regular hiring, reflecting about a 40 percent increase in faculty hiring.

“We’re going to look at the grand challenges facing our state and the world and grow the faculty in a targeted way that builds on our existing strengths in places where, with strategy and investment, we can accelerate discovery and world-changing research and education,” Mnookin says.

The first area of focus under RISE will be artificial intelligence. UW–Madison researchers have already employed AI to improve the diagnosis of genetic disorders and help farmers detect disease in their crops before it spreads. It can accelerate the pace of discovery, but it also requires thoughtful attention to ethics and security.

RISE will increase UW–Madison’s network of AI innovators, adding up to 50 faculty positions across campus to complement regular hiring already planned in AI and AI-adjacent areas.

The UW is also launching a cross-campus initiative focused on environmental sustainability, including a new interdisciplinary research hub. The initiative represents the most comprehensive environmental sustainability effort in the university’s history and will make campus a living laboratory for sustainable practices.

UW–Madison will be on a course to drastically reduce campus’s environmental impact, cultivate a culture of sustainability, build climate resilience, and spark discoveries that will benefit the university, the people of Wisconsin, and the planet.

Finally, the UW will strengthen its commitment to innovation and entrepreneurial excellence.

“Entrepreneurship is an area where we have opportunities to magnify our economic impact on this state and to shepherd life-changing innovations out into the world,” Mnookin says.

Published in the Summer 2024 issue


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