Investing in research, making a difference


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Download the full brochure.
WARF is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization dedicated to stewarding the cycle of research, discovery, commercialization and investment for the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

The foundation exemplifies the Wisconsin Idea by supporting new discoveries and moving them to the marketplace to benefit people across Wisconsin and around the world. WARF also saves Wisconsin taxpayers millions of dollars each year by covering all the costs of protecting, defending and commercializing intellectual property arising from research at UW–Madison.


In 2005, WARF received the National Medal of Technology—the nation’s highest honor for technology innovation—for our years of long-term, successful support of the entire cycle of innovation, from research to invention to investment. WARF is the only technology transfer organization to receive this honor.


Created in 1925, WARF is an independent foundation serving the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

WARF partners with UW–Madison and has invested time, expertise and more than $2.3 billion (adjusted for inflation) to help the research enterprise of the university make a positive difference for people.

WARF is self-sufficient and covers all the costs of patenting, licensing and helping commercialize technology assigned to WARF by UW–Madison faculty, staff and students.


  • Support scientific investigation and research at UW–Madison and the Morgridge Institute for Research.

  • Protect innovations developed at the university and license them to companies for commercialization.

  • Share royalty income with inventors.

  • Play a role in the development of products that diagnose disease, cure disease or improve the quality of life for patients; increase food production and safety; create research tools that advance science; improve communication and computing; provide jobs; and make all of our lives better.

  • Help create startup companies, resulting in thousands of jobs that drive economic growth in Wisconsin.


Intellectual property managers work with university  inventors and outside patent counsel to develop the strongest possible patents to protect UW–Madison discoveries.

The technology commercialization team then partners with industry to license those discoveries and bring new technologies to the market.

Licensing fuels WARF’s endowment, which the investment team and board manage using a long-term approach designed to support today’s researchers while maintaining support
for future generations of university scientists.

Tech commercialization and endowment management activities generate new funds that WARF invests in UW–Madison, continuing more than 90 years of our cycle of innovation.

WARF helps steward the cycle of research, discovery,
commercialization and investment for the University of Wisconsin.