Reinventing Discovery

The world's greatest scientific challenges can't be met by individual scientists, laboratories, or departments. The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery is an experiment in interdisciplinarity, combining the best minds in new teams with powerful tools that transcend the boundaries of departments and fields.


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Innovations in the research process help us solve the biggest problems with a new approach to science:

Targeted Expertise

Convening experts from emerging fields

Training & Teaching

Cultivating interdisciplinary skills and language

Town Halls & Forums

Gathering diverse ideas and people

Tackling Challenges

Addressing ambitious Grand Challenges

Expertise at WID

WID researchers make fundamental discoveries at the intersections of disciplines to solve problems that require an interdisciplinary approach.

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Stories of Discovery

Research, outreach, and initiatives at WID embody the Wisconsin Idea — reaching beyond the walls of the institute and the UW campus and into the lives of citizens across the state, country, and world.


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Ashton lab spinoff safeguards developing brain, spinal cord from toxic threats

Randolph Ashton, an associate professor of biomedical engineering, is co-founder of Neurosetta, a startup company built around technology for modeling human brain and spinal cord development that emerged from his research lab.
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How Zombies Can Help Prevent the Next Pandemic

Incomplete viral genomes can quell disease and, with further research, could be turned into treatments. An opinion by John Yin for Scientific American.
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How Does Life Begin?

PhD student Lena Vincent pursues the biggest question in her research on the chemical origins of life.
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Discovery Hubs

WID’s hubs act as integrators for the campus community, generating new ideas that nucleate new collaborative research projects. The hubs make use of WID expertise to provide services that assist other researchers in applying specialized tools to a range of problems extending far beyond the scope of WID’s programs. Explore WID’s Hubs:


Grand Challenges