WARF: Supporting the Investment, Research, Innovation Cycle
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is the private, nonprofit patent and licensing organization for the University of Wisconsin–Madison, one of the world’s great research universities. WARF was founded in 1925 and is a pioneer and innovator among university-based technology transfer offices.
WARF’s mission is to support, aid and encourage UW–Madison research by protecting its discoveries and licensing them to commercial partners for beneficial use in the real world. It is best known for commercializing groundbreaking vitamin D therapies, the revolutionary anticoagulant Coumadin®, innovative medical imaging and cancer radiation systems, and its patents for human embryonic stem cells.
WARF manages a $2.6 billion endowment, built from decades of licensing and investment revenues, on behalf of the university. It makes unrestricted gifts to the UW–Madison Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education based upon annual requests from the university to meet current needs for improving staffing, faculty grants, student fellowships, equipment, facilities and partnerships for research. In recent years, these annual gifts have exceeded $45 million.
By returning proceeds to the university, WARF fuels the university’s continuing cycle of investment, research and innovation. WARF’s gifts have become known as UW–Madison’s "margin of excellence" funding and total more than $1 billion.
Unlike most technology offices that operate as part of the universities they serve, WARF’s unique private, nonprofit status allows it to support a broad range of technology transfer activities, including entrepreneurs, startup companies and equity investments.