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MILWAUKEE — Foxconn Technology Group on Tuesday announced that it received 325 submissions from higher-education students, faculty and staff from throughout Wisconsin for the first round of its Smart Cities-Smart Futures competition.

The Foxconn initiative, which encourages the sharing of fresh ideas and unconventional thinking, drew suggested ideas that use technology to address education, healthcare, transportation and housing challenges.

The application period for the first round of the competition was open from Oct. 1-31 to students, faculty and staff at all University of Wisconsin campuses, technical colleges and independent colleges in Wisconsin. The competition aims to promote ideas that enhance quality of life, improve working environments, expand transportation networks and living spaces, inspire creative city planning and promote sustainable energy solutions.

Foxconn has promised to provide up to $1 million in awards to the Smart Cities-Smart Futures initiative over the next three years. The individuals and teams are to receive financial incentives and in-kind technical support to make these smart future projects a reality for their communities.

“Foxconn is committed to making a positive impact in the state, to respect, nurture and value the very qualities that first attracted us to Wisconsin — its quality of life and environment, its talented and hardworking people and its innovative and entrepreneurial tradition,” stated Alan Yeung, director of U.S. strategic initiatives for Foxconn.

“We foster this culture of innovation and provide a platform for students, faculty and staff from academic institutions across Wisconsin so they can bring their innovative ideas to life,” Yeung continued. “This competition not only cultivates a new generation of innovative talents throughout Wisconsin, but also connects people to the emerging technologies of the AI 8K+5G ecosystem at the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park in Mount Pleasant.”

The Taiwanese company, which is building a $10 billion advanced-manufacturing campus in Mount Pleasant, has partnered on the competition with the University of Wisconsin System, the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Wisconsin Technical College System.

In addition to the academic partners, the competition is also supported by several groups including the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Wisconsin Technology Council, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., WiSys Technology Foundation, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and UW-Milwaukee Research Foundation.

Competition schedule

Consistent with Foxconn’s goal of further engaging higher education professionals and community leaders, a panel of 50 judges has been selected from those institutions and organizations to evaluate submissions. Each submission will be evaluated independently by four judges who will use six criteria to develop a numeric score.

Up to 100 winners will be selected and announced on or before Dec. 11, and each is to be awarded a $500 cash prize. The winners of the first round will also be invited to participate in the second round of the competition, which is scheduled to run from mid-December through January.

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Michael "Mick" Burke covers business and the Village of Sturtevant. He is the proud father of two daughters and owner of a fantastic, although rug-chewing, German shepherd dog.

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