WARF Discovery Challenge

Promoting cross-disciplinary collaboration among
UW–Madison grad students and postdocs

The WARF Discovery Challenge is a two-part research competition open to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from all departments.

Part I: Research Symposium — April 6, 2016

Present existing work & look for collaborators

The poster symposium brings researchers together to exchange ideas and identify potential cross-disciplinary collaborators. Apply now.

Compete for $2,000 in prizes
Several cash prizes will be awarded. Posters* will be judged by an interdisciplinary panel of faculty, students and UW–Madison and WARF staff according to the following criteria:

  • How well the presentation describes the project and the need for collaboration to advance its goals
  • The potential of the project to lead to significant advances in the field and/or significant impact on society
  • Innovation and creativity
*Posters previously presented at other symposiums or meetings can be used.
    Symposium agenda
11 a.m.   Participants start putting up posters
Noon   Lunch; keynote talk by Paul H. Williams, director of the Wisconsin Fast Plants Program
1 p.m.   Judging overview
1:15 p.m.   Judging begins for group A
2:30 p.m.   Coffee break
2:45 p.m.   Judging begins for group B
4 p.m.   Cocktail reception
4:30 p.m.   Award presentations; wrapup

Part II: Research Award Competition — Fall 2016

Compete for research awards of up to $7,500
Teams of scientists submit original, collaborative research ideas, and the winning proposals receive a research award to fund work on the project. Winners also have the opportunity to present their work at the 2017 Discovery Challenge Research Symposium.


  • At least one team member must have participated in the April research symposium.
  • Teams must include collaborators from different disciplines.
  • Applications must be submitted in fall 2016.