M-WERC was originally founded in 2009 by three universities, four industrial companies and the U.S. Department of Energy as the Southeast Wisconsin Energy Technology Research Consortium (SWETRC). The organization’s original mission was to perform collaborative and transformative energy-related seed research between its members.
During its first year the organization funded seven seed research projects, each at the $100,000 level or greater. In June of 2010, the organization’s charter was expanded statewide with the addition of the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Reflecting this expansion, the organization’s name was changed to Wisconsin Energy Research Consortium.
In addition to enlarging the organization’s geographical charter, WERC also expanded its mission to include workforce development and other types of strategic collaboration. By the end of 2010 the organization had more than doubled in size. In addition to actively engaging the University of Wisconsin-Madison in its efforts, WERC added technical colleges to its membership.
WERC’s members, partners, and contributors are its primary stakeholders. Wisconsin-based external stakeholders consist of: the Wisconsin Economic Development Council (WEDC), the Milwaukee 7 regional economic development organization (M-7), the New North Business Community, the Thrive economic development partnership, and the greater southeastern Wisconsin community. The common interest that united WERC's stakeholder community was initially energy, power and control technology research, workforce development and industry growth. All of these stakeholders were welcome to participate in the WERC’s Strategic Planning process completed this past year.
WERC has been guided by its mission to perform collaborative research and drive strategic collaboration of interest to its membership. The consortium holds regular meetings and reporting to educate, inform, network, and suitably represent its members. In carrying out its responsibilities, WERC follows its Bylaws and the requirements of its 501(c)3 tax status.
In July of 2013, WERC went through its second name change and became the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC). M-WERC’s existence adds value to its members, the local communities, and states across the expanded Wisconsin/Midwest Region (WI, MN, IA, MO, IN, IL, MI, OH) it serves.M-WERC is convinced that it provides a better return on investment than other approaches to research due to its unique position to partner with multiple organizations in industry and academia. This partnership allows M-WERC to invest more efficiently and to highly leverage its collaboration efforts.
M-WERC has recently begun collaborative efforts with related organizations across the Mid-West Region. Examples include initiatives with the Wisconsin Technology Council and the Water Council. Working with such organizations will expand the reach of M-WERC and help to ensure its success.
Now in its fourth year, M-WERC has grown in membership, organization and geographic scope. M-WERC has successfully planned, funded and executed many research projects, developed a member lead strategic plan, completed its first industry sector roadmap and facilitated a variety of collaborative activities across its membership and partner organizations.