Assembly Bill 729, a bipartisan proposal to allow classified research on University of Wisconsin System campuses, was introduced last week and referred to the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities.
The bill, authored by State Representative Mike Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin), would limit classified research contracts to those related to national security issues. Additional criteria would also have to be met for the research to take place and each chancellor would have authority over the processes to approve such research. The bill also requires the chancellor to consult with faculty when approving those processes.
A UW System administrative policy relating to the publication of sponsored research currently limits classified research:
No agreement shall be entered into with any extramural sponsor which prohibits the right of a University employe to publish the results of the project. The University and its employes have an obligation to assure that project results are made known to the general public.
PROFS has been actively involved in conversations about AB 729, meeting with several legislators and industry leaders to discuss the proposal as it was developed. Others in the community have also indicated their support.
Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council and the Wisconsin Innovation Network, wrote in favor of the bill in yesterday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Still cites increased research and development funding and partnerships and the expansion of the cybersecurity industry in the state as strong reasons to support the bill.
A public hearing on the bill will be held at 11:05 am today, February 10, in Room 417 North of the State Capitol. PROFS is registered in favor of the bill.
ETA: Livestream coverage of the hearing is available on WisconsinEye.