Senators Cantwell and Wicker Honored with AUTM Innovation MVP Awards

AUTM Honors Senators Cantwell and Wicker with Innovation MVP Awards for Their Strong Support of Technology Transfer 


(WASHINGTON, DC)- September 14, 2023 — Two United States Senators – Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) – have been honored as “Innovation MVPs” in recognition of their support of technology transfer, which was crucial to Congress passing the CHIPS and Science Act last fall. The awards were presented yesterday by the Board of AUTM, a global nonprofit that works to advance ideas from federally funded research institutions into the marketplace. 

Sen. Cantwell, Chair of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, was personally involved in discussions with AUTM about the need for language in the CHIPS and Science Act authorizing funding specifically to increase opportunities for academic technology transfer, particularly at smaller and minority serving institutions. 

That legislation authorized funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) to launch new technology transfer programs, starting with the Accelerating Research Translation (ART) program. 

“AUTM was great at giving us ideas for what really would help with building capacity,” Cantwell said in her remarks at the event. 

Later, she followed up with a social media post that said, “Your important work is helping America become an innovation engine firing on all cylinders.” Sen. Wicker, the ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, was also honored for his support of the CHIPS and Science Act and technology transfer. “Senator Wicker understands that without the support of technology transfer, our nation’s inventors and researchers may not see the fruits of their labor come to fruition,” said AUTM Board Chair Almesha Campbell, also a resident of Mississippi, who presented the Innovation MVP Award to Wicker. “The important role he has played as a senior member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation can’t be overstated.” 

Like Cantwell, Wicker lauded AUTM in his remarks, commenting afterward that he was “honored to receive AUTM’s Innovation MVP Award.” He said he is committed to working to “bring back the United States’ edge in research and development so we can compete on a global scale.” This bipartisan support from two Senate leaders illustrates that AUTM continues to solidify its position as the voice for technology transfer among policymakers in the United States. By actively engaging with Congress and key government agencies as part of the higher education association community in DC, AUTM is ensuring that the voice of tech 

transfer is heard in the halls of Washington. In recent years, AUTM has adeptly worked with a range of allied interests in Washington to advance a positive agenda for technology transfer, while also opposing legislation and regulations that would inhibit the increase commercialization of research that both parties and the American people expect and deserve. The awards to Senators Cantwell and Wicker reflect what can be accomplished when that hard work pays off. 

AUTM is thankful to Senators Cantwell and Wicker for their support of the crucial technology transfer capacity building provisions of the CHIPS and Science Act,” said AUTM CEO Stephen J. Susalka, PhD. “These provisions, once fully appropriated, will better harness the innovative capacity across the United States into the ground-breaking products and services of tomorrow. AUTM looks forward to continuing to work with our governmental stakeholders to drive this to fruition.” 

About AUTM AUTM is the non-profit leader in efforts to educate, promote and inspire professionals to support the development of academic research that changes the world and drives innovation forward. Our community is comprised of more than 3,000 members who work in more than 800 universities, research centers, hospitals, businesses, and government organizations around the globe. 

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Editors’ Note: Images of Cantwell and Wicker accepting the awards are included below.

See Even More Images from the Innovation MVP Award Reception