Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation


Present and future inventions are in good hands at WARF, thanks in great part to Harry Steenbock and his 1920s invention at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

It was Steenbock who discovered that irradiating foods with ultraviolet light increased the foods’ vitamin D content. Instead of selling his invention for personal profit, Steenbock asked the university to assist him with the development of his patents and was the first to suggest the creation of a patent management foundation to support inventors – the idea that gave birth to WARF in 1925.

Today’s investments fund tomorrow’s brightest minds.

WARF invested the royalties from Steenbock’s discovery to support, encourage and aid research at UW-Madison and the Morgridge Institute for Research. Through smart management and oversight, the portfolio has grown to $3.0 billion in restricted and unrestricted funds.

This allows us to support today’s research through investments of expertise, funds and time, while continuing to ensure support for tomorrow’s generation of UW-Madison innovators.

In nearly a century of collaboration, WARF has provided*:

*Numbers are adjusted for inflation.

Those dollars are vital not only for the research support, but for maintaining a strong university overall. WARF funding helps UW-Madison recruit and retain faculty, fund campus infrastructure and support entrepreneurship and innovation.

Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation & Affiliate Consolidated Financial Report