Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Warf News & Media

#UWChangesLives: Changing the world can begin with an invention disclosure

Jeanan Yasiri Moe, Director of Strategic Communications
[email protected] | 608.960.9892

MADISON, Wis. – Throughout April, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) will host a three-part mini-series on technology commercialization and industry partnerships. Ahead of those events, Norman Drinkwater, Interim Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, sat down to discuss the critical importance of invention disclosure.

Norman Drinkwater

Disclosing to WARF – the simple act of communicating a discovery or potential new innovation – can be the first step in a life-changing journey. In the following Q&A, Drinkwater explores how disclosure is a vital element of the Wisconsin Idea and “fundamental to our mission.”

Visit warf.org/inventors, because it is never too early to talk to WARF about your idea.

Upcoming Events

{Sessions held in the H.F. DeLuca Forum from 4 to 5 p.m., followed by a networking reception}

April 2: What’s New & What Isn’t in Advancing University Technologies

April 16: Tech Transfer Considerations in Agreements with Commercial Partners

April 30: Managing Conflicts of Interest When Starting a Company, Consulting and More

WARF: Why is invention disclosure important to the university?

Drinkwater: We have a really simple business model – discover the truth, teach young people to do the same thing and try to make the world better. And by disclosing the inventions that are made by many researchers – faculty, staff and students – every year, we have the opportunity to share those discoveries with the public and benefit people in really important ways – make them safer, cure them if they have a disease and make their lives happier.

By disclosing inventions it makes it possible for WARF to work with companies across the country to try to market the discoveries that occur here.

WARF: How does disclosure benefit researchers?

Drinkwater: Probably the biggest benefit is the fact that everyone here is passionate about the work that they do and the discoveries that they make. Disclosing those discoveries to WARF gives them an opportunity to see their research have a direct impact on people’s lives and make their lives better. In addition, any licensing revenue that flows from those discoveries as WARF licenses patents that arise from those inventions directly benefits the researchers who made the invention as well as the university.

WARF: Who should disclose to WARF?

Drinkwater: All university researchers who make discoveries during the course of the work that they’re doing for the university need to disclose any inventions that they make.

WARF: How does tech transfer advance the university’s goals and mission?

Drinkwater: We talk a lot about the Wisconsin Idea, which means that the work that we do here is really intended to benefit the state as a whole. One way of benefiting everyone in the state, not to mention the rest of the world, is by having the discoveries that we make turned into a product, ideas or approaches that people can use directly.

WARF: What is the relationship between basic and applied research?

Drinkwater: It’s really a continuum. Every important discovery that has changed people’s lives started as a basic research problem. What starts out as an unexpected observation in a very basic research experiment can often lead down a path that can first be translated into some meaningful understanding of what goes on in the world and then ultimately to a very directly applicable invention.

Your opportunity to disclose your invention to WARF really opens a door that will allow you to have an impact that you didn’t even foresee when you started that experiment.

About WARF
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) helps steward the cycle of research, discovery, commercialization and investment for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Founded in 1925 as an independent, nonprofit foundation, WARF manages more than 2,000 patents and an investment portfolio of $2.7 billion as it funds university research, obtains patents for campus discoveries and licenses inventions to industry. For more information, visit warf.org and view WARF’s Cycle of Innovation.