The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation announced Wednesday it would provide over $100 million in grants for university institutions and it would move its annual Innovation Day in November online.
WARF — a nonprofit organization — provides funding and supports research and inventions at UW-Madison, assisting in licensing and patenting as well. The organization announces annual grants, which support research and education at the university.
The university will receive $88.5 million in grants to be utilized for the 2020-21 academic year, of which $12 million will go toward faculty recruitment and retention, $2.5 million will be allocated for faculty fellowships and $11.5 million for graduate student support, according to a press release.
WARF will also donate $11.8 million in grants to UWs Morgridge Institute for Research, a biomedical research center devoted to improving human health.
“The vision that University of Wisconsin discoveries can and must touch lives has inspired our partnership for 95 years,” said WARF CEO Erik Iverson. “The annual grant is one way that WARF helps grow and sustain a research enterprise called upon to solve our most pressing challenges and compete with the best in the world.”
Other areas the grants will help fund include the university’s Fall Research Competition, for which $10.9 million will go towards a competitive research proposal contest where winners receive grants for original research. The competition typically brings in applicants from over120 different academic departments.
Another $10 million, including a $5 million grant match for research programs, will be allocated to the UW2020: WARF Discovery Initiative, which funds essential research on campus.
“Historically the outstanding partnership between UW-Madison and WARF has kept us on the cutting edge of innovation and discovery. The support we receive from WARF is even more critical now as we navigate the challenges brought by the global COVID-19 pandemic,” Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in the press release. “The basic research that leads to scientific and medical breakthroughs begins at major research institutions like UW-Madison. The generous support we receive from WARF allows UW-Madison the flexibility needed to capitalize on new research opportunities, helps us recruit and retain key faculty, provides support for promising graduate students, and enhances our overall research infrastructure.
In conjunction with the grants, WARF also announced it would host its annual Innovation Day virtually on Nov. 8. Typically held in-person Innovation Day spotlights multiple inventions representing advances in presenter’s respective fields. Winners are selected from a panel of judges and receive the Innovation Award for their contributions.
“In a year of uncertainty, we are especially grateful that we are able to count on WARF for its continued investment in research and innovation at UW-Madison,” said WARF Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education Steve Ackerman. “WARF’s annual gift provides the backbone of support for special initiatives, graduate student assistance and recruitment and retention of the best and brightest faculty who are tackling some of society’s greatest challenges.”