WARF Discovery Challenge

Research symposium FAQs

UW–Madison graduate students and postdoctoral researchers competed for cash prizes and the opportunity for new collaboration in the inaugural WARF Discovery Challenge poster session.
UW–Madison graduate students and postdoctoral researchers competed for cash prizes and the opportunity for new collaboration in the inaugural WARF Discovery Challenge poster session.
Q: Can I attend the symposium if I’m not presenting a poster?
A: Yes! We encourage you to attend and seek out potential collaborators.

Q: How do I submit an abstract?
A: The abstract submission deadline has passed.

Q: Do I need to present a poster?
A: To be judged you need to present a poster and a side panel. A poster template can be downloaded here.

Q: How are presentations judged?
A: This year there will be two sets of judges, each set awarding two prizes for a total of four prizes. The first set of judges will be selected from a group of UW–Madison faculty and staff as well as WARF staff and WARF student ambassadors. The second set of judges will be made up of the presenters with each participant selecting their top three presentations. Each judge or judging team will spend up to five minutes at your project during the symposium; you will be invited to make a short presentation to the judges. The judges will evaluate presentations using the criteria described on the Discovery Challenge homepage.

Q: Does my PI have to approve my participation?
A: Yes, you will want to confirm that he or she is comfortable with your participation and with you disclosing the information in your presentation. We will confirm your acceptance into the symposium after the submission deadline via an email to both you and your PI.

Q: Do I have to make a new poster just for the Discovery Challenge?
A: No, we encourage you to re-use a poster that you may have made for another purpose. The side panel will be the way that you tailor your presentation to the goals of the Discovery Challenge. The side panel is a separate document that outlines the goals of a potential collaboration. The template for this panel can be downloaded here.

Q: What are the size limitations for the posters and the side panels?
A: Posters must fit on a 48'' X 48" poster board. Side panels must fit within a 24" wide by 48" high space.
NOTE: If you can provide your own stand or otherwise ensure that your poster can be viewed on these boards, we will work to accommodate it. Limited funds are available to defray costs of reprinting if necessary.

Q: How will I find a collaborator if I'm standing at my presentation?
A: We will structure each session such that one half of the presenters will be stationed for the first segment and then switch to allow each group to browse the presentations. Also, we will create an abstract book to assist in identifying presentations of potential interest.

Q: Can I request that my abstract not be included in the book?
A: Yes, please indicate this when you submit your abstract.

Q: What if I think there may be protectable intellectual property in my presentation?
A: Please indicate this when you submit your abstract and a WARF IP manager will be in touch to discuss in more detail. Additional information on submitting an invention disclosure can be found here.

Q: Can I present my poster digitally?
A: No, we are unable to support digital presentations at this year's event.

Q: Is there funding to assist in printing posters?
A: Limited funding is available to defray poster costs. Inquiries must be received by February 24. Please include the expected cost of printing with your inquiry. We will evaluate each request separately and cover costs as funds permit.

Q: How do I attract collaborators?
A: The side panel will be the tool for explaining to an audience outside your field what the project is about, what impact you hope to make and what kind of expertise you are looking for in a collaborator.

Q: What if I'm not sure what kind of collaborator I might want? What do I write in the side panel?
A: The side panel's purpose is to jumpstart conversation at the poster session. Since students outside of your field may see your project with a different viewpoint, you might meet with collaborators and angles of your project that you never would have thought about before! See an example of a side panel from 2013 and an example from 2014.

Q: Does my project have to lead to a new invention or patent?
A: Not necessarily. We are certainly hoping to encourage new invention disclosures all the time, but for this project, we understand that new inventions may be off in the distance or beyond the scope of your collaboration.

Q: What if I have a new invention? Should I be careful about what I put in my abstract?
A: Yes! Be sure to put enough information in your abstract that the reviewing team can make an assessment. If it appears that you have a new invention, a WARF IP manager will contact you to encourage you to make an invention disclosure prior to the poster symposium.

Q: Can I submit more than one abstract?
A: Yes! Just be aware that you will need to be present at both posters, so you may find yourself in more than one session. Or be sure to arrange for a collaborator to represent one of your posters.

Q: Does the presentation have to be multidisciplinary?
A: No, the presentation or poster is meant to explain your current project, which need not be interdisciplinary.

Q: Can postdocs work with grad students? How will they be judged in the research competition?
A: Yes, collaborative projects can be presented at the presentation. The presenting group can choose whether they'd rather participate with a graduate student lead or a postdoc lead.

Q: Does my PI need to attend the April 12 symposium?
A: Your PI is very much encouraged to attend but it is certainly not a requirement.

The 2017 Discovery Challenge is sponsored by: