WARF Discovery Challenge

Announcing the third annual WARF Discovery Challenge!

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) announces the third edition of the Discovery Challenge, a research competition for UW–Madison graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from all departments and fields of study.

The Discovery Challenge, part of the WARF Student Ambassador Program, aims to promote cross-disciplinary research. It provides a forum for students to share research results, exchange ideas, improve their communication skills and seek new collaborators.

It begins with the Discovery Challenge Seminar Series, a series of lectures and workshops focused on improving research and presentation skills. The seminar series will be followed by the Discovery Challenge Research Symposium on May 21, 2014. Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers can compete for a total of $2,000 in cash prizes at the symposium. Participants and those who attend the symposium will be eligible to participate in Discovery Challenge Research Award Competition, which will be held in the fall of 2014. Up to two awards of $7,500 each will be made to research teams to advance their innovative and collaborative projects.

Discovery Challenge Seminar Series

Several informative sessions and workshops will be offered in advance of the research symposium as part of the Discovery Challenge Series. We encourage anyone interested in learning more about developing a collaborative research program and preparing to present their research to attend any or all of the sessions. All sessions in the series will be held at 4 p.m. in the H.F. DeLuca Forum at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.

Discovery Challenge Research Symposium

The campus-wide research symposium will bring together graduate students and postdocs in the sciences, engineering, arts, humanities and beyond to present their existing work and participate in an open exchange of ideas with a view to identifying potential cross-disciplinary collaborators.

A total of four cash prizes of $500 each will be awarded at the research symposium on May 21, 2014. 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

Discovery Challenge Research Award Competition

This competition is for young scientists at UW–Madison who aim to carry out these cross-disciplinary collaborations with the goal of advancing each party's research projects. All research symposium participants and presenters will be eligible to participate in the competition for a $7,500 research award.

Eligibility for the competition requires presenters to work with collaborators outside their own discipline. Teams must submit a brief proposal describing an original research idea. Up to two proposals will be selected to receive as much as $7,500 in grant money to fund work on the project. Winners of the Discovery Challenge Research Award Competition also will have the opportunity to present their work at the 2015 Discovery Challenge Research Symposium.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 Discovery Challenge Research Symposium!

  • Matthew Bruss – An in vivo metric of autophagic flux to improve cancer treatment
  • David Kiefer – Herbal medicine use: A comparison between two research sites
  • Kaitlin Mitchell – Extracellular matrix mannan in Candida albicans biofilms contributes to antifungal resistance
  • Harisha Rajanala – Biochemical characterization of bacterial actins

Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 Discovery Challenge Mini-Grant Competition!

  • Yi-Cheng Wang (biological systems engineering) and Ti-Yu Lin (biochemistry)
  • Ebony Murrell (entomology) and Pierre-Marc Delaux (agronomy)
  • Dr. David Kiefer (family medicine) and Jack Buchanan (agroecology)

Important Dates

Discovery Challenge Poster Symposium

May 21 Poster Symposium Agenda

11:30  Registration and poster setup
Noon-1 Lunch and presentation
The National Science Foundation: How? Why? What next?
Fleming Crim
1:15-2 Poster session A
2-2:45 Poster session B
2:45-3 Ice cream social
3-3:30 Overview of Discovery Challenge Research Award Competition, closing remarks and announcement of poster competition winners