Seminar on the 3rd floorWhat is WID?

The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery is a research institute on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison that was built to develop a new approach to science driven by unlikely collaborations among outstanding research minds. Strengths in complex systems, data science, emerging technologies, and precision medicine enable WID to advance basic research and rise to grand challenges. Read more about us.

WID is located in the Discovery Building, which also serves as home to the Morgridge Institute for Research and the Town Center, the first floor of the facility open to the public.

What makes WID unique?

WID is experimenting with new ways to engage a very broad community in solving problems with science and engineering tools. WID has built expertise in complex systems, data science, emerging technologies, and precision medicine, which it applies to ambitious grand challenges.

What is WID’s relevance to the rest of campus?

WID is particularly expert in a few areas of science, engineering, and math. Many other researchers across campus also have expertise in these fields and others would like to make use of the tools offered by these fields. WID and its hubs will serve as catalysts for interactions among campus researchers and provide consulting services for those seeking to apply tools in areas of WID expertise.

Can I visit WID?

The first floor of the Discovery Building, also known as the Town Center, as well as the embedded teaching labs on the 2nd and 4th floors are open to the public during certain hours and can be accessed for self-guided tours, dining opportunities, and reserved for events such as workshops and lectures. WID’s research space is accessible to building occupants with key card access or to visitors by permission.

How do I reserve space in the Discovery Building?

You can view the Town Center’s application and resources to learn about renting space in the Discovery Building, including the ground level atrium spaces, the H.F. DeLuca Forum, and the Teaching Labs.

Does WID play a role in the Discovery Building’s Saturday Science programs, field trips, or the Wisconsin Science Festival?

WID faculty, staff, and students participate in the outreach programs of the Discovery Building, which are run by  the Town Center staff and supported by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). WID and its Illuminating Discovery Hub are partners in many of these activities. 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 that interests you. You can also contact us with questions.

How do I get in touch with WID experts?

WID’s staff members have expertise in a range of fields and are affiliated with diverse departments on campus, including mathematics, social and natural sciences, 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?

WID is a research institute that provides a terrific training environment for researchers, but does not grant degrees. The Institute is home to many undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers working in WID labs. WID is also home to the Marie Christine Kohler Fellows, an interdisciplinary group of graduate students, and the Catalysts for Science Policy (CaSP), a group of graduate students and postdocs who seek engagement with science policy in government and beyond.

What products does WID produce?

WID is a new kind of research institute that, in addition to generating research publications, creates software tools and platforms, hosts conferences and symposia, and develops educational materials. You can read more about our projects in the website’s stories section and in the collection of past issues WID’s newsletter.

How can 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 all disciplines that can contribute ideas to the WID mission. Formal appointments at WID are by nomination and follow a period of active engagement with the Institute’s researchers. You can search for collaborators through WID’s directory or attend the Institute’s events.

How is WID funded?

WID is currently funded by university funds, grants, and gifts, just like the rest of campus. We plan to attract new funding to support the novel collaborations and projects that may not be easily fundable from traditional funding sources. If you’re interested in making a gift to support WID’s research and programs, please visit our support page. We welcome gifts of any size.

Which scientific institutions is WID similar to?

WID is similar to, 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-tier research university and its excellence in science, engineering, the humanities, and entrepreneurship. WID shares a computational focus with several other research institutes embedded within universities (e.g., the Broad Institute at MIT/Harvard and the Clark Center at Stanford). But WID has unique features—it has adopted the mission of serving as an innovation catalyst for the UW­-Madison campus research community, and WID embraces the singular tenet of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Idea, which describes the rich tradition of engagement of campus researchers with the people of the State of Wisconsin. WID is also unique in its cohabitation with the private institute, the Morgridge Institute for Research, and the robust outreach programs of the Town Center.