UW–Madison Innovate Week

Save the dates for the 2024 UW Innovate Week
(September 23-27)

Submit an event for Innovate Week

UW–Madison Innovate Week

More than 600 innovators—from UW faculty, students, and staff to alums and industry partners—turned out for the 2023 UW Innovate Week (September 26-29).

Workshops, talks, webinars and networking events addressed healthcare, design thinking, energy and climate tech, social impact, artificial intelligence, business, and pathways to impact and career success for technology innovators. Participants took away lessons on how to maximize impact for research, turn an idea into a product or service, or start a company or organization, and they took inspiration from innovative leaders and the entrepreneurial mindset.

The annual Innovate Week is coordinated by Discovery to Product (D2P) and the UW Innovate Network and partners, all of which offer training, funding and mentoring to advance campus innovation, entrepreneurship and research commercialization.

Subscribe to the UW Innovate Insider newsletter to stay current on the annual Innovate Week and other events.

Event Schedule & Listings

Healthcare Innovation Office Hours with the Isthmus Project

Tuesday, September 26, 8:30 – 10:30 am

Wednesday, September 27, 2:30-4:30 pm

Friday, September 29, 8:30 – 10:30 am

(virtual, free, schedule via email)

Isthmus Project, UW Health’s Innovation Hub, serves UW Health and UW School of Medicine and Public Health innovators to bring healthcare solutions to market. Isthmus Project takes pride in supporting innovators on their innovation journey from idea to market. Email Dania Champion to schedule a virtual meeting and obtain more information about Isthmus Project services.


Energy Start-ups and Climate Tech Investment

Tuesday, September 26, 4:30pm – 5:45pm (virtual, open to the public, pre-registration required)

Wisconsin Energy Institute

Attracting financing at multiple stages of product development and commercialization is often a high hurdle for energy-related (and most) start-ups. Investment and funding from venture capitalists, corporations, government, and others can be critical to the scale-up and deployment of new innovations at a speed and scale necessary to address climate change effectively. Join a discussion with start-up companies, venture capital investors, NGOs, and researchers to discuss the unique funding challenges faced by those commercializing energy and climate tech innovations and the knowledge, support, and other benefits offered by various types of investors.

The Evergreen Climate Innovations investment portfolio includes UW–Madison startups C-Motive and NovoMoto, and current Activate Fellows include founders of UW spinouts ChloBis Water, Flux XII and SixLine Semiconductor.

Panelists (left to right):

Morgan Edwards, Assistant Professor of Public Affairs, UW-Madison
Shashank Churukanti, Venture Associate, Evergreen Climate Innovations
Matt Maroon, Chief Executive Officer, C-Motive
Jeffery Song, Activate Anywhere Fellowship Manager, Activate

Abram Becker, Interim Director, Discovery to Product (D2P), UW-Madison



Finding Success—Where is your Career Headed?

Tuesday, September 26, 6:00pm – 7:30pm (in-person, refreshments provided, open to the public, pre-registration requested)

Location: Union South, Agriculture Room (3rd Floor), 1308 W. Dayton St.

Technology Entrepreneurship Office (TEO)

Where are you going? If you don’t know, every road you take leads you to another undesired destination. Success isn’t accidental. It requires a strategy – an intentional and logical approach leading you to something you want to achieve. Come think about what’s success for you and how you’ll get there.

Please join author and business builder Andrew Shafer, MBA and founder, and Dr. Bonnie Bachman, Director, Technology Entrepreneurship Office, in a lively discussion. The first 12 participants will receive a gift from the author, and the first 30 attendees will receive a signed copy of his most recent book, Strategic ROADMAP: An intentional, memorable approach to achieving success.

If you need an accommodation to attend this event, please contact Bonnie Bachman at bjbachman@wisc.edu. All accommodation requests should be made no less than two weeks before the event. We will attempt to fulfill requests made after this date but cannot guarantee they will be met.



Demystifying the FDA Regulatory Path and Profession for Medical Devices and Software

Wednesday, September 27, 11:30am – 1:00pm (in-person, lunch provided, please register at the door, suggested arrival 11:15am)

Location: Discovery to Product (D2P), 1403 University Ave.

Discovery to Product (D2P), Forward BIOLABS, Isthmus Project

A panel of regulatory affairs professionals will provide an overview of common medical device regulatory pathways for products including standard hardware/software, Software as a Medical Device (SaMD) and AI applications. They will also address how and when to work with expert professionals. Intended for UW–Madison faculty, postdocs, graduate students and affiliates translating research into commercial healthcare products or exploring a career in regulatory affairs.





A film screening and in-person “Q & A”

With life-centered design visionaries, Bruce Mau and Ayemobisi “Bisi” Williams

Wednesday, September 27, 5:30 – 7:30pm (in-person, open to the public, registration requested)

Location: Deluca Forum, Discovery Building, 330 N. Orchard St.

Master of Science in Design + Innovation (MD+I)

In celebration of design + innovation and Innovate Week at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, the M.S. Design + Innovation (MD+I) is proud to present a screening of the documentary, MAU, followed by a live “Q & A” with the films’ protagonists Bruce Mau and Bisi Williams, Co-Founders of the globally-renowned design consultancy, Massive Change Network (MCN).

The 2021 documentary, MAU, tells “the unlikely story of design visionary Bruce Mau and his ever-optimistic push for massive change. From creating Coca Cola’s global sustainability platform to rethinking a 1000-year plan for Mecca, Mau has expanded the definition of design over the course of his career. As the film weaves in and out of Mau’s work, past and present, it follows his most important project yet: his own life.”

The M.S. Design + Innovation is pleased to offer this program as a part of our 2023-24 “Becoming Transdisciplinary: Embracing Hybridity and Beyond” event series. For all MD+I news and events, please visit us online, follow us on Instagram or LinkedIn.

We value inclusion and access for all participants and are pleased to provide reasonable accommodations for this event. The film is closed captioned, and the “Q & A” will be live captioned. Please contact us by email (mdi_program@wisc.edu) no later than 9/20/23 to make an accommodation request.



Innovators Meetup

Wednesday, September 27, 7:00 – 8:00pm (in-person, refreshments provided, pre-registration requested)

Location: Discovery Building, Orchard View Room (3rd Floor), 330 N. Orchard St.

Technology Entrepreneurship Office (TEO)

Join the kickoff event for the graduate-student-led Innovators Meetup, a gathering of campus innovators who are interested in commercializing their tech innovation.

The event focuses on bringing together UW–Madison students and others with an entrepreneurial mindset to build a cohesive network of people navigating their entrepreneurial journey while at UW.

Sponsored by the Technology Entrepreneurship Office (TEO), the event is primarily aimed towards graduate students. However, undergrad founders and entrepreneurially-curious postdocs and research staff are also encouraged to attend. Sanket Deshpande, the founder of Innovators Meetup, is a Graduate Student and Research Assistant in Electrical Engineering, a problem-solving engineer and advocate for startup students.

Join us at 7 pm or after the Master of Science in Design + Innovation (MD+I) MAU event in the Discovery Building, and meet other UW-Madison founders and future founders.

If you need an accommodation to attend this event, please contact Bonnie Bachman at bjbachman@wisc.edu. All accommodation requests should be made no less than two weeks before the event. We will attempt to fulfill requests made after this date but cannot guarantee they will be met.



Moving your Tech out of Academia

Thursday, September 28, noon – 1:15 pm (in-person, free, lunch provided, pre-registration requested)

Location: Discovery to Product (D2P), 1403 University Ave.

Center for Technology Commercialization

Hear from and interact with innovators and entrepreneurial ecosystem members about how to move your technology out of academia, with a focus on SBIR/STTR opportunities.

This expert panel designed for graduate students, postdocs, and other UW-Madison and alumni researchers and tech innovators will highlight key resources, best practices and what innovators, who’ve been there before, wish they would have known. If you are pursuing research that you are hoping to commercialize, you don’t want to miss this interactive panel!


Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact Wisconsin CTC at CTC@lists.wisconsin.edu or call 701-320-7502.


Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Showcase

Thursday, September 28, 5:30 – 7:30pm (in-person, open to the public, pre-registration closed, day-of attendees welcome, suggested arrival time between 5:00 – 5:15pm)

Location: Grainger Hall 1310, The Plenary Room, 975 University Ave.

Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship, Discovery to Product (D2P), Startup Learning Community

Hear from UW–Madison founders and CEOs and connect with UW’s innovation ecosystem at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Showcase. Three exceptional Badger alumni will share their entrepreneurial journeys, leadership insights, and how their UW experience set them on the road to success.

Featured speakers (left to right):

Joel Baraka ‘22
, Co-Founder, My Home Stars; Project Engineer, CG Schmidt
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and raised in a refugee camp, Baraka co-founded an innovative educational nonprofit. His recent TED Talk earned more than 1 million views.

Steve Jacobson ’82, Founder & CEO, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.
A former walk-on and co-captain of the UW basketball team turned innovative leader and executive who has made Fairway one of the top lenders and best places to work in the country.

Jessie Mash ’07, Managing Partner, SonderCo
An Emmy award-winning producer and brand strategist who creates high-impact partnerships, connecting next-generation brands with celebrity artists, athletes, IP, and other leaders in culture.

Free and open to students, faculty, staff, alumni and community. Pre-registration requested. If you need an accommodation to attend, please contact Lisa Collins by September 14.



The Present and Future of Open-Source AI: Leveraging LLMs for Research & Commercial Innovation

Friday, September 29, 9:15 – 10:00am (virtual, open to current UW–Madison students, faculty and staff, no pre-registration needed)

Learn about open-source AI from Sebastian Raschka, machine learning and AI researcher and author of the popular Ahead of AI magazine, who made the transition from UW–Madison professor to Lead AI Educator at Lightning AI.  Raschka is excited about making AI and deep learning more accessible and teaching people how to utilize these technologies at scale. He’ll provide an overview of Large Language Models (LLMs), highlight the value of open-source solutions, and address open source in corporate strategy, connecting academic research to real-world application.

Sebastian Raschka

An Innovate Week edition of the Exploring Artificial Intelligence @ UW–Madison webinar series, presented by the Division of Information Technology and the UW–Madison Data Science Institute in partnership with Discovery to Product (D2P).



NSF I-Corps Pathways to Impact—Ideas Worth Pursuing

Friday, September 29, 12noon – 1:30pm (in-person, lunch provided, pre-registration requested)

Location: Discovery to Product (D2P), 1403 University Ave.

Technology Entrepreneurship Office (TEO) and UW–Madison NSF I-Corps sponsor. Co-sponsored by Discovery to Product (D2P) and UW-Milwaukee NSF I-Corps.

Pathways to Impact was designed to help researchers adopt an entrepreneurial mindset and think about impact beyond the laboratory. This hands-on, interactive Ideas Worth Pursuing workshop will explore the process of idea generation and help students think like a designer.

The audience for this workshop includes graduate students who want to get the most out of their research experience, understand how innovation works, and learn how to build their networks. Undergraduate students who are curious about the design and ideation process are also invited.

Speakers include Dr. Bonnie Bachman, Director, Technology Entrepreneurship Office, UW–Madison; Abram Becker, Interim Director, Discovery to Product (D2P), UW–Madison; and Dr. Ilya Avdeev, Associate Professor Mechanical Engineering and Director, Advanced Manufacturing and Design Laboratory, UW-Milwaukee.

If you need an accommodation to attend this event, please contact Bonnie Bachman at bjbachman@wisc.edu. All accommodation requests should be made no less than two weeks before the event. We will attempt to fulfill requests made after this date but cannot guarantee they will be met.





Looking for campus innovation and entrepreneurship events all year long? Check out the Innovate events calendar and subscribe to the Innovate Insider e-news to receive news and updates.

Explore Other Innovate Network Resources

Subscribe to the Innovate Insider newsletter

Stay up-to-date on the news, events, resources and networking opportunities related to UW–Madison’s entrepreneurial ecosystem!


Innovate UW–Madison Directory

Explore our Innovate UW–Madison Directory, a database of university resources and programs for campus innovators and entrepreneurs—from early-stage, through incorporation, market introduction and rollout, and beyond.