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PFI: Partnership for Innovation in Wisconsin's Packaging and Printing Industry Cluster

This Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) project, which has recognized the packaging and printing industry in Wisconsin as critical to the state's economic success, plans to adopt an industry cluster-based approach to innovation-driven economic development. The intellectual merit of the proposed activity lies in the creation, transfer, and application of advanced packaging and printing technology (using nanoparticle-based inks, composite coatings, and embedded electronics). This project will lead to the development of new packaging and printing products and processes that have superior characteristics (physical, chemical, and biological properties and smart sensing capabilities). It will also make possible the ability to transform supply chain processes and the economic potential for commercialization, and it will improve the understanding of necessary changes in the industry. Together, these advances will pose high barriers for foreign competition and enable the creation of high-paying jobs in Wisconsin.<br/><br/>The packaging and printing industry is of strategic importance to Wisconsin and the nation as a whole. In terms of shipments, Wisconsin's national rank is No. 1 in plastic film packaging, No. 1 in paper, No. 4 in metal cans packaging, No.9 in corrugated and fiber board packaging, and No.11 in folding cartons packaging. Wisconsin's packaging and printing industry is a major source of employment for the state and the nation. Thirty-one percent of the entire U.S. printing employment is based in the Milwaukee-Madison-Chicago triangle. Strategic initiatives that will create a sustainable competitive advantage for the Wisconsin packaging and printing industry are imperative for its continued success. The broader impacts of this project also include a scientifically and technologically literate and diverse workforce (from high-school students to college graduates with a Ph.D., and under-represented groups). This workforce will be prepared to capitalize on this new knowledge to advance growth in innovation and productivity and drive an infrastructure that enables networking, collaboration, and entrepreneurship in Wisconsin's packaging and printing industry.<br/><br/>Partners include Educational Institutions: University of Wisconsin-Madison (lead institution), University of Wisconsin Stout, and Waukesha County Technical College; Industrial organizations: Appleton Company, Banta Book Group, Bemis Company, Great Lakes Packaging Corporation, Kell Container Corporation, Kimberly-Clark, Prent Corporation, RedPrairie, Rockwell Automation, Sargento Foods, Serigraph, Inc., Stora Enso, Suttle-Straus, and Zebra Technologies; State Entities: Office of the Governor; and Other Stakeholders: Forward Wisconsin, Printing Industries of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.

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