Seminar on the 3rd floorWhat is WID?

The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID) is a transdisciplinary research institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with faculty, students and professionals focused on the interfaces of research, education and business. Read more about us.

WID is located in the Discovery Building, which is sometimes referred to as the “Institutes” for Discovery. In addition to housing WID, the Building is home to the Morgridge Institute for Research and the Town Center, the first floor of the facility open to the public.


Can I visit WID?

WID’s research space is limited to building occupants with key card access. The first floor of the Discovery Building, also known as the Town Center, as well as the embedded teaching labs on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors are open to the public during certain hours and can be accessed for self-guided tours, dining opportunities, and events such as workshops and lectures. You can access the Discovery Building for WID events, but many of our large events are held in the H.F. DeLuca Forum on the first floor of the Building, an area already open to the public.


How do I reserve space in the Discovery Building?

WID is a research institute located in the Discovery Building. The Institute does not handle reservations for spaces in the Town Center on the first floor of the Building and the teaching labs. You can view the Town Center’s application and resources to inquire about renting a room or space for a variety of events.


Does WID run Saturday Science at Discovery, field trips or the Wisconsin Science Festival?

The Institute participates in these programs through events and outreach, but it does not run the Saturday Science at Discovery program, field trips nor the Wisconsin Science Festival. These initiatives are run through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). You can schedule field trips and tours of the public areas of the Discovery Building, including the Town Center on the first floor, through WARF.


How can I collaborate with someone at WID?

You can find collaborators in WID’s directory or get in touch with an administrative contact linked to a program or event you’re interested in. You can also contact us with questions.


How do I get in touch with WID experts?

WID’s experts span a range of fields and departments on campus, including mathematics, social and natural science, engineering, and the arts. You can email experts from WID’s directory and contact WID’s Communications Office to ensure your inquiry receives attention in a timely manner.


Does WID offer degrees?

Although the Institute is organized under the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, WID does not grant degrees. However, the Institute is home to many undergraduates, graduates and postdoctoral researchers working in WID labs and centers. We also offer opportunities and fellowships for students.


What products does WID produce?

WID is a new kind of research institute that, in addition to generating research publications, produces software tools, platforms and educational materials. We’re engaged in the production of devices and games, a range of artistic and scientific prototypes, and symposia and conferences. You can read more about our projects in our stories section of the website and view past newsletters from the Institute.


How do I become engaged with WID?

WID was founded on the idea that unexpected and novel collaborations can yield amazing insights. We welcome creative minds from any area where challenging thought is valued. We run and host a range of programs at the Institute for artists, writers and entrepreneurs. You can learn more by browsing our current programs to view opportunities for partnership and collaboration. Formal appointments at WID are by nomination and follow a period of active engagement with the Institute or its researchers. You can search for collaborators through WID’s directory and even attend the Institute’s events.


How is WID funded?

WID receives funding through UW-Madison, federal and local grant agencies, foundations and through supporters of the Institute. If you’re interested in making a gift to support WID’s research and programs, please visit our page on the UW Foundation website. We welcome gifts of any magnitude.


What career opportunities does WID offer?

You can check our jobs section to see recent postings at the Institute.


Which scientific institutions is WID similar to?

WID is similar, but also different from other institutions and centers around the country. Like the MIT Media Lab and the University of Michigan’s Center for the Study of Complex Systems, WID draws on the strength of a top-tiered research university and its excellence in the humanities and entrepreneurship. WID also emphasizes serving the UW-Madison campus and providing collaborative support to enhance the university’s academic environment. The Institute’s transdisciplinary, exploratory nature combined with its private partnership with the Morgridge Institute for Research also makes WID unique.

Other similarities exist between WID and large, computationally-focused research institutes within universities such as the Broad Institute (MIT/Harvard) and the Clark Center (Bio-X at Stanford). WID shares similar non-disciplinary and project-oriented principles with some stand-alone institutes such as the Institute for Systems Biology and the Salk Institute, as well as an exploratory and radical perspective with interdisciplinary scientific institutions such as the Perimeter Institute and the Santa Fe Institute.