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E-M:/ Tapping into fresh water

Boosters back efforts to position area as leader in emerging water industry
With water shortages stretching from Atlanta to China, and government data showing that Americans invest next to nothing in freshwater technology research, Franz Hoffmann sees opportunity.

The German-born physicist has acquired a pair of small Milwaukee-area water technology companies and is hiring scientists to get ahead of the anticipated demand for water engineering.

At the same time, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is drafting plans for a graduate-level School of Freshwater Sciences - the first of its kind in this country, as far as Chancellor Carlos Santiago can tell.

But the science of water ties into UWM's broader ambition to transform the school into a major research university and a catalyst of economic change that can draw researchers, grants and venture capital to the region. The school on Saturday announced that it raised $122 million in private-sector donations to expand beyond its cramped east side campus, principally with a major new engineering school and research park adjacent to the county research grounds.


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