Through the donations by Harley-Davidson, Inc. and Wisconsin Energy Corp. of one million dollar grants each, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has created a UWM Research Foundation that will invest in patents, company spin-offs and entrepreneurialism. UWM has been upgrading its research mission for the past two years with the aim of emulating universities like those in Boston, Atlanta and the Silicon Valley, which are pioneers of discovery and economic growth.

James Ziemer, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson, said H-D and UWM have potential for collaborative research. "There’s a lot of science, engineering and patents in motorcycles," said Ziemer, who earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at UWM.

Ziemer also sees dividends to investing in UWM that extend beyond his own company. "I want to see this area thrive," the Harley-Davidson executive said. "We want to continue to grow rather than decline, and we need a catalyst."

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